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Dr. Dongping Zheng Awarded Two-Year Grant from National Natural Sciences Foundation of China

Congratulations to Dr. Dongping Zheng, Associate Professor in SLS, and her colleague, Dr. Aitao Lu, Associate Professor of the School of Psychology, South China Normal University, for a two-year grant awarded by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (#31571141 and #31628010; $26,000 USD).

This joint project is built on the research team’s findings on teaching and learning Chinese/English as second/foreign language. The overarching goal is to apply findings to extend Dr. Dongping Zheng’s current theoretical constructs, such as Negotiation for Action, Languaging as Values-Realizing, and Language Learners as Caretakers to the experimental research phase. It proposes new research methods and employs virtual worlds and mobile technologies for bilingual and multilingual education.

This project encompass holistic ecological, dialogical, and distributed approaches to language education that streamlines research and practices embodying design, pedagogy, curriculum development, and second language acquisition. It aims to further investigate the mechanisms of acquisition, skilled linguistic action, and coordination between learners of Chinese and English.

The aim of the project is four-fold:

The first stage primarily involves place-based application development and design. Based on the English language learning app, Guardians of the Mo‘o (Mo‘o 1.0) that Dr. Zheng and her team developed, this project will research, design and develop a second generation app to engage learners of Chinese and English in place-based multilingual designed and sociocultural spaces. “Mo‘o 2.0: From Mo‘o to Sun Yat-Sen, Multilingual-Mulitcultural Becoming” will augment multilingual experiences to take place on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus, larger Honolulu communities, as well as South China Normal University and Guangzhou City, China.

Second, building from research and development of mobile technology supported, place-based learning, the project will further study the dynamic learning mechanisms under different conditions: immersive virtual environments, as compared with mobile technology supported place-based learning settings, as compared with a control group.

Third, the project will investigate the differences in language learners’ skilled linguistic action under the three conditions, utilizing cognitive ethnographic and multimodal research methods.

And finally, the project will explore mechanisms of coordination between Chinese and English language learners under the above conditions through interview, dialogical, and conversation analytical techniques.

The project has practical applications for identifying a model of learning and teaching a second/foreign language that meets the needs and objectives of 21st century multiliteracies development.

Dr. Dongping Zheng remarks, “I am very thankful to the creative, intelligent hardworking students Yang Liu, Jared Tomei, Daniel Holden, and Robin Parrish, together with whom we created Mo‘o 1.0; the support by the University of Hawai‘i SEED Initiative for Diversity, Equity, Access, and Success Grant; the Hawai‘i English Language Program; the English Language Institute of the Department of Second Language Studies; and the open source app ARIS. The Mo‘o 2.0 team comprises graduate students Yang Liu, Lin Zhou, Ivan Banov, Daniel Holden, and Myra Rafalovich; undergraduate student Jumpei Narasaki; and Confucius Institute at UHM Chinese teachers Jiaying Wang and Yue Zhang.”

The mobile app game, Mo‘o 1.0, can be found at App Store > ARIS (under iPhone Apps Public) > Guardians of the Mo‘o (offsite). This downloaded version works only in the iOS system, and allows gamers to play “out of place” as well.