Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


FLAX a winner on the world’s technology stage

29 October, 2014

FLAX a winner on the world’s technology stage

Software designed at the University of Waikato and used all around the world has won a major international competition.

FLAX, which stands for Flexible Learning Acquisition, has taken first place at the Linked Vici Competition, held to acknowledge development in open and linked data for educational purposes.

The win was announced at the 13th International Semantic Web Conference, in Riva del Garda, Italy, with FLAX taking first place from 10 shortlisted candidates.

FLAX, which can be freely downloaded and used both online and in the classroom, was developed by the Digital Libraries Group at the University of Waikato and allows language teachers to create a variety of practice exercises from ‘real’ language texts and multimedia available in digital libraries.

The judges said FLAX provides data for language learning in a new and innovative way by combining corpora (samples), varying from TED (technology, entertainment and design) talks to academic collections. It also supports teachers in creating automated exercises and assessments with these corpora.

Teachers or supporting staff can build their own language collections, serving their specific needs. The FLAX software can be freely downloaded and used both online and in the classroom.

The three-member FLAX team that submitted the entry is Professor Ian Witten and Dr Shaoqun Wu from Waikato University and Alannah Fitzgerald who is a Fellow with the Open Educational Resources Research Hub at the Open University in England, and also a Research Affiliate at Concordia University, Canada. It was Ms Fitzgerald who presented at the Italy competition and picked up the winner’s prize of €3000 (nearly $5000).

Professor Witten says winning an international competition at this level will do wonders for our international profile, and bring the FLAX project to the attention of a lot more people. “Flax has the potential to revolutionalize language learning on the web, particularly for those who need to improve their professional and academic written English.”

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland