Technology Empowering U.S. Diplomacy and Development

The Role of Technology Tools in Language Learning - Panelist Bios

The Role of Technology Tools in Language Learning - Panelist Bios

There are many tools and applications available on the internet and for mobile devices that use technology to help make learning a language quicker and easier. But, can technology replace a language teacher? And, can an application instruct in the nuances of the spoken word? Where is technology most effective in learning a language and how can it be used most effectively to aid and, perhaps, enhance language learning? What innovative methods, tools, and applications have been developed to assist in learning a language?

Heather Benucci (Moderator) - Freelance Consultant

Heather Benucci is a freelance English as Foreign Language (EFL) consultant with expertise in technology-supported language learning and teacher education.

Heather has led virtual professional development programs for EFL teachers from over 100 countries and has worked face-to-face with teachers and students in Korea, England, and the US.  She recently managed the U.S. Department of State’s E-Teacher Scholarship Program for teachers overseas, and launched the Department’s first-ever mobile app and e-book resources for EFL teachers and learners around the globe.

Heather holds Master’s degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and International Relations.  Her professional interests include:  community building in asynchronous distance education, curriculum and materials design, computer-assisted language learning, mobile learning, and intercultural communication.

Dawn Bikowski - Ohio University

Dr. Bikowski directs the English Language Improvement Program (ELIP) in the Linguistics Department at Ohio University. This innovative Academic Language for Specific Purposes (ALSP) program serving both international and domestic students is recognized as a leader in using technology to create engaging and student-centered learning environments. Dawn has taught a variety of levels of English internationally, is heavily involved in ESL/EFL teacher training, and is a past Chair of the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Interest Section of the TESOL International Association. International conferences and workshops, curriculum development projects, and program assessments have taken her to countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. With a PhD in Instructional Technology and an MA in Linguistics, her research interests include how teachers can best facilitate learning within digital game environments and how to design learning environments that maximize the potential of collaborative writing with technology. You can contact her at

Lynne Scheib - U.S. Department of State

Lynne Scheib has been with the State Department since July 2001, having previously served with the Executive Office of the President Library under four administrations.

She currently heads the Partnerships and Resource Management Division of the Office of American Spaces in the State Department’s Bureau of  International Information Programs, which provides research and copyright assistance, and implements pilots and other projects in the more than 700 American Spaces around the world.

Lynne is a native Washingtonian, and holds masters degrees in Russian History and Library Science from the University of Maryland.

Chris Spiller - Rosetta Stone

Chris joined Rosetta Stone in 2004 just as the company was beginning to develop what would eventually become Rosetta Stone Version 3.  Chris has held numerous positions at Rosetta Stone over his 9 year tenure, including Director of Application Development, Senior Director of Online Experience, Executive Producer, and Vice President - Product Development.  Most recently, Chris has led the expansion and enhancement of Rosetta Stone’s products for the Asian Consumer market and the Global Enterprise & Education market, including LiveMocha-based offerings after Rosetta Stone’s Acquisition of LiveMocha in April 2013.

Prior to joining Rosetta Stone, Chris earned his B.A. in Cognitive Science (specializing in Computer Science and Cognitive Psychology) from the University of Virginia, and his Masters of Entertainment Technology degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Chris worked for a variety of technology and education related companies prior to joining Rosetta Stone where he did everything from writing code to help track landmine removal operations to developing interactive multimedia exercises to bring math and science textbooks into the digital age.

Vjosa Stout - U.S. Department of State

Vjosa Stout is a Language Training Specialist and Educational Technology Coordinator for European and African Languages in the School of Language Studies (SLS) at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). She holds a B.A. in Management and Computer Science. She provides learning support for students and instructors, focusing on curricular and individual learner needs. Her professional interests lie in how to use innovative technologies or combination of technologies in and out of the classroom environment. 

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