The first semester is coming to a close and it is time to wrap up my learning project with a bow on top because Christmas time is here! Learning ASL throughout my first semester of University has been an educational experience. I have had the opportunity to develop an ASL vocabulary and grow an understanding of how the language works and how to predict signs for foreign terms to me based on my prior knowledge. Beyond my ASL accomplishments, I have gained confidence presenting myself online, I have learned how to find resourceful websites, articles, videos, and apps to assist me in my learning, and my video editing skills have skyrocketed from not even knowing what platforms were available to producing clear and edited videos to share on YouTube. Learning ASL has been a journey, and I am excited to look back on the steps I traveled throughout my exciting expedition.
Learning Project week 1 – ASL, I’m Ready for the Challenge
Week 1 I wasn’t sure what to expect being new to blogging and having never fully taught myself a skill through online means but I was confident with my decision to learn ASL. I used this week’s post to explain my motives for wanting to learn sign language.
- Introduction to project
- Inspiration for learning
- Researching resources that could potentially be helpful
- Developing a plan by deciding on what vocabulary terms I hoped to focus on
Learning Project week 2 – Kindergarten ASL
Week 2 was my first week of learning signs and filming my understanding and progress.
- easy to learn when practicing along to the tune of the ABC song
- significant to the ASL language, used often when signing other terms
- ASL That’s alphabet video
- first experience of video editing and publishing problems
Learning Project week 3 – Stepping up my Emotion
Week 3 I introduced myself to sings that required emotion and facial expressions which is a vital aspect of communicating through ASL
Learning Project week 4 – Family First
Week 4 I started to pick up on ASL trends and make connections between the vocabulary terms I was learning
- Being home for the Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to focus on learning family signs because I realized the importance of communicating with family
- I learned nouns and pronouns to help me describe my family members interests: see week 10
- started analyzing gestures rather than just memorizing
- made connections between the gestures to help me understand the language
- Finally publishing high-quality videos, thank-you Screencastify!
Learning Project week 5 – Calendar Crazy
Week 5 I focused on the days of the week and the months of the year because I realized the importance of being able to communicate schedules in my everyday life.
- Days of the week:
- Months of the year:
- I increased my understanding of the importance of the alphabet. The individual letter signs are iconic and used often when signing other terms.
- I continued to gain a better understanding of the ASL language and confidence when memorizing individual terms
Learning Project week 6 – Whether it’s Hot or Cold (Weather ASL)
Week 6 I challenged myself to learn whether related terms because as a prairie citizen I experience drastic weather changes that impact how I live my life.
- similar to week 3, I was able to enhance my signing by incorporating gestures
- I learned a variety of vast gestures without a pattern to rely on
- By noticing that some of the signs related to how I would visualize them to be represented diminishing the chances of confusing them with other gestures.
- YouTube video for weather sings by nollme
- ASL That’s Weather video
- Meredith ASL’s Weather video
- By watching several videos, I noticed that each individual signs the terms slightly different
- I learned that variances occur in ASL due to the different ways it can feel more natural to place your fingers among individuals.
- Reminded myself that in any language a vocabulary must be developed before sentences can be pieced together in order to stay optimistic about my learning journey.
Learning Project week 7 – Happy Holidays
Week 7 was inspired by Halloween and my love for celebrating the holidays and passing on cheer and holiday wishes to others.
- In the spirit of the timing, I focused on Halloween related terms
- Learning holidays of my interest was difficult because most Youtube videos are American but I found some videos to help me get started
- This week I discovered my favorite resource for my learning project: Handspeek.com which includes an ASL dictionary which allows me to look up individual terms and watch immediate video clips on relay specific to the particular term.
- I started noticing my ASL progress because despite having my previous videos to look back on, I didn’t find that I needed to because I remembered my previously acquired ASL signs.
Learning Project week 8 – Get your Head in the Game
Week 8’s learning topic was once again inspired by my family and our love and dedication to sports.
- I relied on the Youtube channels and resources that I have used in the past weeks because I was confident that they would work for me
- I noticed that many of the signs related to an action performed while playing the sport making them easy to learn and remember
- Again the importance of knowing the ASL alphabet which I focused on in week 2 was highlighted because letters are used frequently when signing different sport’s names
- I practiced finger spelling which is used when there is no concrete sign but by spelling out the word using the ASL alphabet, it can still be clearly communicated.
- This week was highly enjoyable because the topic of sports interested me
Learning Project week 9 – Captivating Careers
Week 9 was focused on careers which expanded my ASL vocabulary immensely. I also came across an inspiring resource that summarized ASL emergency terms.
- Terms describing careers were easy to find due to the endless number of career options available today
- I chose to organize my terms alphabetically because I was tackling a large number of gestures at once. This proved to be helpful because again the ASL alphabet is used when signing the title of jobs
- I noticed several careers are signed with the sign for person coming after the sign for the subject of the career which then allowed me to expand my vocabulary further by understanding that the initial gesture described a different word
- I learned valuable sings that could be used to save lives in emergency situations which reminded me of my purpose of learning ASL
Learning Project week 10 – Putting it all Together
Week 10 I challenged myself to make sense of my vocabulary and connect my learning topics from my prior weeks of study.
- Finally communicating simple sentences!
- Week 2: alphabet and colours, week 4: family relationships, week 5: months of the year (birthdays), week 7: holidays, week 8: sports, and week 9: careers
- In order to form sentences I learned a few additional words through the use of:
- I put my knowledge to the test and demonstrated my ASL knowledge that I have obtained throughout the past 10 weeks.
My Top Five Takeaways:
1.YouTube truly is an educational resource: Prior to my ASL learning expedition, I had never depended on Youtube to teach myself anything and I only used it for entertainment purposes. Throughout my experience, I realized that Youtube is a terrific way to learn online because of the immense number of videos available on every topic of interest and the immediate visual that is accessible which is a lot easier to follow and learn from in comparison to written steps or descriptions.
2. Presenting yourself online is beneficial: The thought of creating a blog and Youtube channel to present my learning initially scared me but it turned out to be to my benefit. Receiving nearly immediate feedback and suggestions from my classmates was motivating, encouraging, and helped me take pride in my work. I also loved being able to look at my classmate’s work for inspiration and in order to pass on words of encouragement in return. I am no longer scared of constructive criticism because I can physically see that by taking the advice of my classmates my work has improved throughout my weekly posts.
3.Learning new things is possible through online means: I never thought it would be possible to learn a language independently through entirely online resources but I am continually proving myself wrong as I gain more and more ASL knowledge. Truth is, despite it being through a computer screen, the internet allows for communication between people all across the world and so even though I developed my ASL vocabulary in my bedroom, I was not alone and had the help of many other individuals. The internet has excellent educational resources that are there to help people learn.
4. ASL isn’t easy, but with dedication and motivation, it is possible: Learning ASL was a major time commitment and required lots of work however the more I learn and practice the more it makes sense and becomes easier to understand. ASL has been an interest of mine for years and I am grateful to have had this motivating opportunity for the push to begin learning. I can confidently say that I now have the skills to talk to those who lack their hearing and that makes the work I put in well worth it.
5. The EDTC 300 Learning Project is nothing to be afraid of: The first day of EDTC 300 scared me when I was told I would have to learn something new through online means and film my progress. Turns out, I had nothing to be afraid of and that this has been the most rewarding assignment I have ever participated in because of the beneficial skills I have developed that will continue to assist me in my future.
Thank-you EDTC 300 classmates for all of your support throughout my Learning Project and Katia for providing me with the perfect opportunity to tackle learning ASL. I am excited to continue to practice the ASL language and use my new internet skills in the future.