Waipahu Wayfinders’ multilingual tech support breaks language barriers for online learners


Photo courtesy of Waipahu Wayfinders

Waipahu Wayfinder Leslie Ann Engracial creates an online learning resource for her multilingual peers.

45 multilingual Waipahu High School students created a resource to help their peers become better online learners. Their Multilingual Tech Support website gives English learning students a better understanding of Google apps and the tools necessary to become better online students.
The website offers screencasts of students explaining the basics of Google apps in English and six other languages: Marshallese, Chuukese, Ilokano, Tagalog, Samoan, and Tongan.
English Learner program coordinator Mr. Jeremiah Brown was one of the faculty members who was involved in creating the Multilingual Tech Support website.
When school officially transitioned to online learning towards the end of last year, Principal Keith Hayashi approached Brown and suggested a summer program for English learners that would give them the opportunity and tools necessary to prepare themselves for online learning.
The summer program came to last for four weeks, during which 9th through 12th grade multilingual students met Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The students chose whether they would participate in the program 100% online or meet one or two days in person in a hybrid format each week. To Brown’s surprise, more students chose to participate in fully online learning, with 25 online students versus 20 hybrid students.
These students, known as the Waipahu Wayfinders, would be leaders and share their newfound knowledge of technology with their classmates. The Waipahu Wayfinders did this by writing scripts to create the screencasts about what they had just learned.
Not only was this an opportunity for the Waipahu Wayfinders to learn about becoming better online learners, but teachers also had the chance to learn and adapt to the new classroom setting. Five teachers (Lori Misaka, Jennifer Sagucio, Jennifer Arre, Jia Min Ruan, Mark Inouye) in addition to Brown divided themselves equally to instruct the online and hybrid Waipahu Wayfinders groups.

What started as a program for English learners to adapt to the online classroom turned into a creative idea to utilize students’ language assets to benefit their peers. The Waipahu Wayfinders’ Multilingual Tech Support has now been shared as widely as the Philippines and the Marshall Islands.