A winner has been announced in a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa language education tech competition aiming to kickstart ideas and products designed by global entrepreneurs. The fourth LaunchPad, organized by UH Mānoa’s Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (Tech Center), was held online, February 20.

A group of judges selected FabuLingua as the 2021 LaunchPad winner over four other finalists. FabuLingua helps kids learn languages through interactive stories by writers and illustrators from all over the world. The learning tool maximizes comprehensible input through magical children’s stories, enabling the subconscious development of listening, comprehension and reading skills.

purple logo with a drawn unicorn

Leslie Begert, co-founder of the Texas start-up said, “FabuLingua is absolutely thrilled to have won the prestigious LaunchPad 2021 competition as the best new technology for language learning! We are honored that FabuLingua’s unique story-based language learning product for children was recognized by renowned experts. Winning LaunchPad is an important milestone that enhances our credibility with teaching partners, families and investors. It also strengthens our resolve to grow and impact children’s language learning globally.”

An engaged audience of more than 300 language educators and tech enthusiasts from 15 countries chose ImmerseMe for the People’s Choice Award. ImmerseMe is about virtually stepping into a beautiful and authentic location to learn a language. Users can select from more than 3,000 interactive scenarios across nine languages: German, Spanish, French, English, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Greek and Indonesian.

Scott Cardwell, co-founder and CEO of the New Zealand-based company said, “This award is a huge validation for the journey we’re undertaking to build the worldʻs best academic language tool. We see an opportunity to roll out our virtual reality curriculum in K–12, higher ed and government training programs all over the world.”

The Tech Center will facilitate continued collaboration with LaunchPad entrepreneurs through programs such as Blended Learning Pilots, which provides opportunities for flagship programs to test the innovations. To learn more about 2021 LaunchPad and future events, visit the Tech Center’s website.

This program is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.