Fall 2016 Updates
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Tech Center News

Issue 1 - Fall 2016 -


We are excited to share with you the first bi-monthly news update from the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (Tech Center). In this first edition of the Tech Center News, we present some of the initiatives planned by the Tech Center for the 2016-17 year, highlighting opportunities for collaboration. While reading the newsletter, please take note of any initiatives that may be of interest to you and do not hesitate in reaching out to us if you see a possibility to get your Language Flagship Program involved.

As you may know, the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (Tech Center) supports and encourages technology innovation through a participatory process guided by principles of design thinking. In its first year of operation, the Tech Center engaged primarily in strategic planning activities and convened expertise from relevant areas in academia (e.g., foreign language education, applied linguistics, computer-assisted language learning, educational technology, etc.) and from entities with stakes in foreign language education in both the public and private sectors. This initial conversation has resulted in the identification of pathways for collaboration and innovation with industry and government partners and in short- and long-term initiatives to improve the way technology is used in support of world language education.

We hope that you will find this first news update informative and that it will inspire you to explore possible collaborations with us.

Dr. Julio C Rodriguez & Dr. Madeleine K. Spring, Tech Center Co-Directors


What technologies are being used in the Flagship?

As a first step in its strategic planning process, the Tech Center conducted a survey of students, instructors, and program directors to learn how technology is currently being used within The Language Flagship. One of the products that has emerged from this survey is the Tech Center Toolkit, an easily browsable collection of apps or technology solutions in current use in the Flagship Programs. To facilitate the sharing and selection of these applications, the Tech Center has constructed a simple interface which includes all of the reported technologies grouped in categories. We encourage you to visit the Tech Center Toolkit and use it to (1) explore the technologies being used across Flagship Programs in your language; (2) submit tools you use to share with other programs; and (3) submit learning tasks associated with the tool that may inspire colleagues.

Tech Center Toolkit

Engaging our Community

In the wake of the Tech Center’s symposia held in Honolulu, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh, online language content provider Yabla was inspired by the Tech Center’s goal of optimizing technology use for advanced language learning. Yabla’s CEO offered all Chinese Language Flagship programs complimentary access to Yabla’s Chinese resources for a limited period of time. Yabla provides a wealth of video content in six languages that is scaffolded to support learners’ comprehension.

The Tech Center and The Chinese Language Flagship at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa are taking this opportunity to gather usage data with an eye to establishing best practices for the use of online video for listening practice. Online video clips are used extensively in Flagship programs (as elucidated through the 2015 Tech Center Survey) for a variety of purposes, such as to illustrate cultural concepts, provide samples of language usage, visualization of abstract concepts, etc.

Students taking part in the trial are being asked to earn a certain number of points by playing games based on the videos in Yabla, which cover all levels of language proficiency. Aggregate records of the students’ choices of videos and point-earning games will provide useful information about learner preferences in technology use. This will help guide subsequent development and may also result in helpful feedback to Yabla for the continued development of their language learning platform. [LEARN MORE]

If your Chinese Flagship program is interested in exploring uses of Yabla for Flagship students, please "Get Involved!".
Get Involved!

Share Your Story

Through the events the Tech Center has sponsored, we have learned that many Flagship instructors have implemented interesting and innovative technology projects. We have also learned that many instructors wish there were a common resource site to facilitate the sharing of technology practices and tools within the Flagship. The Tech Center is currently working on building such common resource.

We once again seek your help to identify both technology-enabled projects or practices which you think play a role in improving language learning experiences. It could be a project you or a colleague designed or adapted, a strategy used to engage learners with the language beyond class time, etc. We know you are busy, so at this time we simply request a very brief response. Tech Center staff will follow with more information. Our goal is to collect and showcase the stories from the community and share those stories with the Flagship community. Learning more about how you or your program currently integrates technology into teaching and learning will additionally help the Tech Center identify potential collaborations.

Get Involved!

Blended Learning Pilot

In Spring 2016, the Tech Center developed and piloted a blended learning experience for learners of Chinese (intermediate high to advanced) based on a simulation. The Chinese Language Simulation is built around a fictitious company: Green Ideas, Inc. Learners are immersed in highly contextualized language learning scenarios. The experience helps students build a repertoire of strategies to overcome complex and high-stakes situations that they are likely to encounter in a real professional environment and improve their professional language skills.

The simulation serves as an example of the types of technology-enabled experiences that could be expanded to a multi-institutional setting. It provides a shared narrative for learners and instructors in multiple programs to interact with one another around common interests and goals. The short video below presents instructors’ and learners’ perceptions regarding the usefulness of this type of experience.


Reflections - Green Ideas, Inc. Simulation Pilot
The Tech Center team is revising the original simulation design based on learner and instructor feedback from a 2016 pilot test at UH-Mānoa. The revised experience will be implemented in the Spring 2017 and will be run with multiple institutions. Pedagogical support for instructors before and during implementation is provided by the Tech Center team. If your program is interested in implementing the Chinese Language Simulation, let us know by clicking on the link below. If you have questions, please contact us at
Get Involved!
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