SOURCE: EMC Publishing

June 25, 2013 10:20 ET

EMC Publishing & University of Minnesota Sign Exclusive, 10-Year Agreement to Build World Language Learning Environment

MINNEAPOLIS, MN and ST. PAUL, MN--(Marketwired - Jun 25, 2013) -

  • EMC Publishing and the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development sign exclusive agreement to build EMC Languages
  • The EMC Languages online learning environment, designed in collaboration between EMC and the UMN Learning Technologies Media Lab, will build upon and extend the Lab's video-based platforms Avenue and Flipgrid
  • The goal of the partnership is to improve educator effectiveness and student proficiency

Increasing student fluency in world languages and providing educators with innovative technology are the goals of a new partnership between EMC Publishing, a division of New Mountain Learning, and the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). This collaborative partnership will build EMC Languages, a new online environment for teaching and learning world languages in K-12 classrooms. The partnership between EMC and the CEHD Learning Technologies (LT) Media Lab is part of a 10-year exclusive agreement that includes collaborative design and development, K-12 classroom integration and support and ongoing design-based research.

EMC Languages builds upon and extends research-based language learning platforms created by the LT Media Lab by leveraging EMC Publishing's world language instructional content in an easy-to-use environment designed to drive educator effectiveness and student fluency. Students will discover languages and cultures, expand their knowledge beyond the textbook and written test, and perform what they've learned in order to achieve proficiency.

EMC Publishing will pilot EMC Languages in the fall of 2013 and the full environment will be available in early 2014. 

"This is a unique partnership for our LT Media Lab and an example of the kind of technology transfer the University is committed to creating," said U of M CEHD Dean Jean Quam. "We are proud to see our research-based design and development work reaching the marketplace and serving the public good."

For the past year, EMC and the LT Media Lab have collaborated on the re-design, technology expansion and K-12 specific development of two video-based platforms created by the Lab: Avenue and Flipgrid. Avenue allows an educator to conduct a one-to-one assessment of a student's performance via webcam by creating custom tasks based on EMC's rich library of curricular media to capture, evaluate, archive and visualize progress. Flipgrid is a more informal, video-based discussion platform that encourages students to discuss and reflect upon questions and topics sparked by their educator. 

"EMC Languages is not about simply extending textbooks into an online environment," said Charles Miller, associate professor and co-director of the LT Media Lab. "Avenue and Flipgrid take educator feedback and classroom collaboration to a new level and give teachers a better way to connect with and earn the trust of their students. It's all about bringing kids from the back of the class to the front row."

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said that about 18 percent of Americans report speaking a language other than English, while 53 percent of Europeans can converse in a second language.

"As a nation, we face a series of challenges related to our world language deficit. Our focus will be to help world language educators meet these challenges by providing them with a simple and engaging learning environment that's easy to use and builds student competency," said Eric Cantor, chairman and chief executive officer of New Mountain Learning. "The future of fluency depends on motivating students to practice and perform, and to learn in ways that transcend vocabulary words and verb conjugation. The long-term goal of our partnership is to keep students engaged in world languages beyond the basic requirements." 

EMC Languages will be intuitive and flexible and fully integrated to flow with any approved curriculum. Educators can subscribe to the entire suite or only those elements most relevant to their classrooms. The platforms are simple to use, enabling an educator and student to create and complete a task in three minutes.

For more information, visit www.emcl.com.

About EMC Publishing
A division of New Mountain Learning, EMC Publishing is a recognized leader in world language solutions in classrooms throughout the nation. Founded in 1954, EMC publishes instructional materials, supplements, and assessments for the K-12 market, delivering print and digital solutions for world languages, literature and language arts, and computer applications and literacy.

About New Mountain Learning
New Mountain Learning is a provider of diversified learning materials and blended solutions serving select segments of the secondary, post-secondary, and career services markets in the US and Canada and a portfolio company of The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C., a private equity firm based in New York City that invests in lower-middle-market companies operating in selected segments of the information, education and media industries.

About the LT Media Lab
Founded in 2010, the Learning Technologies Media Lab is an innovative design and research center located in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota. This lab is affiliated with the Learning Technologies academic program area in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction within CEHD, which is nationally known for developing innovative educational technology.

About the University of Minnesota
At the University of Minnesota, curiosity and discovery are in our DNA. Located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the university's flagship campus provides a thriving urban environment for teaching and learning, world-class research, and outreach and public engagement. In its collective search for knowledge, the U of M empowers faculty, staff and students and inspires the next generation of innovators. Founded in 1851 as a land-grant institution, the U of M is ranked among the nation's top public research universities. Visit umn.edu to learn more.