Friday, March 11, 2016

Innovating Language Education

Snapshot of NMC web header, two, multi-national students engaged in conversation

The New Media Consortium (NMC) recently published a report called Innovating Language Education: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief, which provides insights about language education trends, challenges and opportunities to improve student proficiencies and cultural awareness through the use of new technologies.

Angela Felix photo
Among the NMC editorial board members contributing to the 2016 report was Rio Salado Faculty Chair of Languages Angela Felix, who addressed matters of personalized learning strategies.

"Done well, personalized learning can serve to celebrate and validate what heritage speakers already know, which can increase their academic confidence and foster a willingness to spend more time on what needs improvement," said Felix. "Adopting a curriculum that adapts to these learners' needs means that they are not sitting idly by while their classmates struggle with vocabulary and pronunciation that the heritage speakers learned growing up; they can focus on honing the language skills they will need to be successful in academic and professional settings.”

image of a medical professional conversing with a patientThe report also addresses the importance of educational institutions creating partnerships with government and industry to advance the field of language education. Included as a proof of concept is Rio Salado’s online Spanish Medical Interpreting curriculum, which was developed in partnership with Phoenix Children's Hospital in response to the urgent need for qualified interpreters in healthcare settings. Content from the two online classes has earned national accreditation from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.

Students who complete the classes can apply for a 40-hour externship, which provides opportunities for real-life interpreting experiences at hospitals, clinics, and organizations. See related story and Rio Salado’s Spanish for Medical Interpretation web page for additional details.

image of report cover
The full report, which is available online, was commissioned by the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (LFTIC) at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

The New Media Consortium is a community of hundreds of leading universities, colleges, museums, and research centers. The NMC stimulates and furthers the exploration and use of new media and technologies for learning and creative expression.