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Saturday, February 27, 2016

How can we infuse innovation in language education?

In a special project commissioned by the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (LFTIC) at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, the NMC is releasing Innovating Language Education: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief.  

This report aims to inform an unprecedented strategic planning effort to devise technology-supported activities and programs for LFTIC, as well as to aid in decision-making and policymaking across the higher education sector.

Download the report (PDF)

The project launched in August 2015 with the goal of providing input to the LFTIC team regarding sustainable technological innovations catalyzed by smart collaborations, research, and forward-thinking pedagogy -- with the help of an editorial board of field thought leaders. In the process, the NMC's research has underscored the need to cultivate a community of language, technology, and private sector professionals that can collectively build upon successful models of technology-enhanced learning while also developing new partnerships to push the frontiers of digitally-mediated learning environments. The ultimate goal is to scale up LFTIC's programs in order for participating students to achieve superior levels of world language proficiency while also becoming more culturally aware, global citizens.

"This report combines the forward-looking vision we have come to expect from of the NMC with the insights from language learning professionals who have a long track record of respected work in various areas of technology and world language education," said Julio Rodriguez, Co-Director of LFTIC and co-author of the report. "The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center sees the collaboration with the NMC that produced this report as an example of the power of partnerships and critical views that move the profession forward."

"The task of innovating language education goes far beyond bolstering students' grammar and vocabulary skills," said Samantha Adams Becker, Senior Director of the NMC Horizon Project and lead writer of the report. "We're excited to work with LFTIC because we live in an increasingly global society, and they emphasize the need to foster professionals that have a deep understanding of the cultural, business, and other contexts associated with world languages. The report draws from progressive ideas and practices materializing across education -- even other disciplines -- to pinpoint recommendations for language education. In turn, other disciplines can benefit greatly from the progress being made in this field."

Recommendations from the report include:
  • Integrate Design Thinking into Curricula
  • Build Smart Partnerships
  • Enhance the User Experience        
  • Foster More Authentic Exchanges Through Collaborative Tools
  • Adopt Data-Driven Approaches
These recommendations are framed by discussions of major trends, challenges, and technology developments in language education, along with key definitions and proofs of concept.

Innovating Language Education is being presented at the second of three symposia hosted by the LFTIC, convening language and design thinking leaders in higher education to explore creative, collaborative strategies to address specific challenges in the area of technology in foreign language programs in conjunction with businesses, government, and academia.

The first symposium took place in Honolulu, Hawaii in November 2015 and brought together an esteemed and diverse group of individuals representing government, the private sector, and academia from around the country to lay the groundwork to review new technologies and approaches. The second symposium, taking place February 26-27, will focus on rapid prototyping possible solutions to design challenges through a human-centered design process. At the final symposium in March 2016 in Palo Alto, California, participants will move the ideas and solutions into reality.  Innovating Language Education will inform all of these activities.

Innovating Language Education is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution. 

About the New Media Consortium (NMC)
Founded in 1993, the NMC is an international community of experts in educational technology - from the practitioners who work with new technologies on campuses every day; to the visionaries who are shaping the future of learning at think tanks, labs, and research centers; to its staff and board of directors; to the expert panels and others helping the NMC conduct cutting edge research. The role of the NMC is to help hundreds of member universities, colleges, museums, and organizations drive innovation across their campuses. This is accomplished by the NMC performing research that catalyzes discussion, convening people around new ideas, and building communities that encourage exploration and experimentation. 
To learn more, visit

About the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (LFTIC)
The main goal of the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (LFTIC) is to identify and develop best practices for effective technology-enhanced language teaching and learning. In order to do so, the LFTIC will create a comprehensive plan to integrate technology through The Language Flagship, a national initiative to change the way Americans learn languages through a groundbreaking approach to language education for students from kindergarten through college. Students of The Language Flagship program develop linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy, becoming the next generation of global professionals. The LFTIC will better foreign language education and technology initiatives at all levels, expanding beyond those at universities or those impacted by The Language Flagship program, by convening relevant expertise from the private and public sectors. 
For more information about LFTIC initiatives, visit