MINNEAPOLIS, MN and ST. PAUL, MN--(Marketwired - Sep 23, 2014) - EMC Publishing, a leader in print and digital education programs, today launched Passport®, an innovative and unique online environment for teaching and learning world languages in K-12. Passport® (formerly EMCL) taps into the innovative learning technologies that digital natives embrace. It is designed to increase student fluency by allowing them to fully experience the language. 

Passport® takes students on a culture-rich voyage, connecting them to EMC's curriculum in and out of the classroom via an engaging platform. Unlike common learning management systems, Passport® is an online learning environment that allows students to explore language and culture. The environment provides authentic cultural videos, news and songs, and unique video collaboration and assessment tools. With performance-based tasks and project-based learning Passport encourages students to speak the language. Watch how Passport works.

Built through a partnership between EMC Publishing, a division of New Mountain Learning, and the University of Minnesota's Institute for Design Innovation (IDI), Passport® marries IDI's research-based language learning platforms with EMC Publishing's ACTFL-aligned instructional content. The final product is an easy-to-use environment designed to drive educator effectiveness and student achievement.

According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, only 18 percent of Americans report speaking a language other than English, while 53 percent of Europeans can converse in a second language.

"Passport was designed with the overall goal of improving this country's world language deficit. We need to keep students engaged in language learning beyond the basic requirements," said Eric Cantor, chairman and chief executive officer of New Mountain Learning. "With Passport® we've designed an innovative environment that keeps students motivated and builds confidence, competency and ultimately fluency."

Compatible with all mobile and desktop devices, Passport® is now available for K-12 students studying French in traditional, blended or online classrooms. The Spanish version will launch in October, with Chinese and German versions to follow in early 2015.

Passport has six sections: Discover, Create, Expand, Share, Perform and Report.

For Students: Passport offers an intuitive multimedia interface that shows assignments, quick views, due dates and instructor feedback. It integrates EMC Publishing's e-books, but goes beyond text, empowering learners to create, share and perform their work. It supports student-directed, project-based learning.

For Educators: Passport empowers educators to engage, enrich and assess students easily. It supports differentiated learning initiatives, allowing teachers to tailor information for various learning levels within one class and provide personalized feedback via proprietary video-based platforms.

Passport allows educators to create tasks based on EMC's media library, or their own resources, then conduct a one-to-one assessment of a student's performance via webcam recording. The environment includes a video-based discussion platform that encourages students to record responses to questions posed by their teacher in the language they are learning. It also provides current content like music, videos, and news stories to bring projects to life. For example, students can test their skills via a karaoke competition in French, document their visit to the Louvre, re-enact a scene from a French-language movie and explore typical bistro cuisine. The material is updated frequently to incorporate the latest news and cultural developments.

"This environment embodies the experiences a traditional passport offers. As students immerse themselves in a world language they're creating a digital portfolio. They develop their listening, speaking and comprehension skills, then look back and reflect on the journey," said Dr. Charles Miller, Associate Professor of Learning Technologies and Executive Director of IDI. "We're going way beyond the online dissemination of textbook content to truly transform the world language learning experience by helping students become global citizens as they learn a language and develop respect for a culture."

Of 100 world language teachers surveyed by EMC Publishing in 2013, 82 percent said incorporating 21st century skills into the classroom is critically important, but only 25 percent indicated they were very satisfied with their existing materials that would help them to do so.

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 applied learning. For more information, visit EMC Publishing on Facebook, Twitter, or on the web.

About the Institute for Design Innovation
The Institute for Design Innovation (IDI) transforms communication, education, and collaboration through research-fueled design and innovative digital environments. IDI is an award-winning design and research center located in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota. Learn more about IDI at http://idi.umn.edu