The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (Tech Center) in the College of Languages, Linguistics & Literature is co-sponsoring its third LaunchPad competition with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) on November 23.

LaunchPad, inspired by the TV show Shark Tank, features first-time entrepreneurs who have created a technology product intended to fill a need in world language education. A panel of experienced professionals and attendees provide input and decide on a winner.

The UH Mānoa Tech Center designed the LaunchPad competition, which will take place at the 2019 ACTFL World Languages Expo in Washington, D.C. During the 90-minute competition, start-up companies pitch their innovation and receive feedback from the highly specialized audience of world language educators.

Rodriguez headshot

Julio C. Rodriguez

UH Mānoa Tech Center Director Julio C. Rodriguez said that the 2019 LaunchPad finalists are very talented. A panel of judges from the Tech Center selected the finalists from an applicant pool in a series of Zoom interviews.

“The products they are developing are incredibly creative and intuitive, and have the potential to innovate language education. We hope the companies will use this opportunity to take advantage of the amazing expertise available at the ACTFL Convention, and to further align their products with the needs of world language professionals,” Rodriguez commented.

Finalists will enjoy exposure and access to thousands of language educators, successful companies and The Language Flagship international network.

The finalists:

  • FilmDoo (based in the United Kingdom)
    FilmDoo is developing an artificial intelligence language learning platform that helps people learn languages and explore cultures through film.
  • Scholarcade (based in New York)
    Spywatch Lex is an educational platform that engages students in a compelling spy adventure, while helping them build foundations in a foreign language and culture.
  • Storylabs (based in California)
    Storylabs is the language student’s library based on Krashen’s theory that “picking up word meanings by reading is 10 times faster than intensive vocabulary instruction.”
  • Woodpecker Learning (based in New Zealand and Taiwan)
    Woodpecker Learning allows language learners to immerse themselves in video, text and audio content designed for native speakers.
  • Zid Zid (based in Ohio)
    Zid Zid is a play-based language learning platform designed to empower early childhood educators and families to guide children’s learning through bilingual stories, songs and hands-on activities.