Launchpad 2017

Think Shark Tank at ACTFL 2019! In its third year, this event, sponsored by ACTFL and the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center at the University of Hawaii, featured first-time entrepreneurs who have created a technology product intended to fill a need in world language education. During the 2019 ACTFL Convention, five startup companies presented their technology innovation. All of them were first-time ACTFL exhibitors who have created an innovative technology product intended to fill a need in world language education. A panel of experienced professionals and event attendees provided feedback and decided on a winner based on the pedagogical merits of the product. The winner received formal recognition in the form of an honorary plaque. This year a People’s Choice award was also given out, after collecting a live poll of audience interest for their favorite presentation; the winner of the People’s Choice was also given an honorary plaque.

A Heartfelt Thank You!
The Tech Center would like to recognize the great work of our 2019 LaunchPad Judges:
Orlando Kelm, Paul Miller, Sonia Shiri, Jacque Van Houten, Tom Welch
Year 2019 participants:
App called Extempore
App called Extempore


CEO: Weerada Sucharitkul
Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School

FilmDoo is developing a AI language learning platform helping people to learn languages and explore cultures through film. The proprietary technology makes personalised recommendations based on a user’s language level, is able to integrate with other language learning tools and apps (e.g. Duolingo) while making use of FilmDoo’s other in-house technology, such as our granular meta-data tagging system and CMS.

Scholarcade Spywatch Lex

Founder: Daniel Turcotte
Primary Audience: High School, Middle/Jr. High, Elementary

Spywatch Lex is a thrilling game for the classroom that teaches foreign languages through play! It is an educational platform that engages students in a compelling spy adventure, while helping them build foundations in a foreign language and culture. The curriculum follows ACTFL standards and supports a differentiated learning process, using the principles of mastery and deep learning. While students acquire and engage with content at their own pace, teachers can follow their journeys through the companion teacher dashboard.

S&S Storylabs

Co-Founder: Brooke Stephens
Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School, Middle/Jr. High, Elementary, Authors of Language Learners Literature

Storylabs’ world language library system brings reading into classrooms. In our platform teachers can distribute their content, including our classroom proven stories written by expert teachers, private files purchased by the teacher or even stories written and illustrated with our text editor. Students gain web and smartphone access to these readings, which are further enhanced with the audio reader and any additional activities that have been linked in. While students read, their progress is tracked through journals, check boxes and time spent per file. Bring reading into your world language classroom with Storylabs.


Woodpecker – Language Learning

CEO: Peter Sutton
Primary Audience: Government/Adult Ed., Graduate, Undergrad, Community College, High School, Translators, Self-learners, Online language teachers

Woodpecker Learning allows language learners to immerse themselves in video, text, and audio content designed for native speakers.
We help teachers build lesson plans designed around the latest and most interesting videos and news content. We enable language learners to move away from their textbooks and dive into content designed for native speakers. We will allow international students and foreign professionals to fully understand their course materials. Finally, we want everyone with an interest in a foreign language and culture to be able to immerse themselves in its media and entertainment.
We have built the world’s largest free bilingual dictionaries, which are embedded into an app and when combined with the appropriate controls, enable intermediate to advanced language learners to immerse in native speaker content.
The Woodpecker app is available on the App Store and Google Play. It currently has three functions; a video player, a web browser and a dictionary. We plan to add a book reader (which will support all common file types) and support for podcasts and other audio files. Please go to our website for the links to the app stores and try out Woodpecker – Language Learning.

Zid Zid

CEO: Moulay Essakalli
Primary Audience: Early Childhood Educators and Families

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. Our focus is to enable children from any socio-economic background to learn and practice a world language at the best age to learn.

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Moore Hall 256

Honolulu, HI 96822

(808) 956-5121

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