“So long, farewell…”

I hate goodbyes, how about you? I debated on whether that was going to be a good title for this blog post because I feel like “goodbye EDTC300” is a little too harsh. You’ll understand why I ended up going for this title by the end of this blog post.

This is my summary of my Learning Project, where I decided I would learn ASL. It’s crazy, I have realized just how little I actually know even now as I finish up my Learning Project. What I do know, is that I have found some great resources so that I can continue to learn ASL as I move forward, past EDTC300.

Let’s reflect on some of those resources, shall we?

Learning Project Post 1: “And we’re off! (Introduction to ASL Learning Project)”

This post had me very excited. So excited, that even though all we had to do was outline our plan for our Learning Project, I instead decided to start off by learning how to sign my name.

For this post I found a wide variety of different resources which consisted of many apps (which I later found weren’t all that helpful) and the really terrific YouTube account TakeLessons.

Learning Project Post 2: “A,B,C’s and 1,2,3’s (ASL Learning Project)”

This week, following along with the TakeLessons videos, I was ambitious and set out to learn the alphabet, numbers 1-20, and colours. The alphabet and numbers came easily. When it came to learning colours, however, I quickly remembered how with more you learn of a language, the more challenging it is to keep things straight.

This week I was filled with excitement about my learning project and figured I should probably learn a bit more about ASL for when I told my family and friends about it. I found a number of websites (“History of American Sign Language” Dawn Sign Press“The History of Sign Language” GoReact, and “A Guide to the Different Types of Sign Language Around the World” Richard Brooks) I planned on exploring for my following post.

Learning Project Post 3: “Standing the Tests of Time”

I decided to dedicate this post to the history of ASL as well as learning about some other sign languages. I utilized the resources I shared in my prior post in my research and they turned out to be pretty good. What I found interesting was that American Sign Language has origins with French Sign Language (LSF). At the American school for the Deaf (pictured below), LSF was combined with new signs developed at the school as well as those brought in from students to create the ALS that I used in my Learning Project.

American-School-for-the-Deaf-Connecticut-West

American School for the Deaf. Image retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/place/American-School-for-the-Deaf

Learning Project Post 4: “‘I CAN’ sign!”

This was by far my favourite learning I did for my Learning Project. I used a site called lifeprint.com which broke down the learning into “I can” statements which, as a pre-service teacher, I loved.

I CAN for ASL

“I can” statements from Lesson 1 of Lifeprint.com’s ASL lessons. Screenshot retrieved from: https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/lessons/lesson01.htm 

Overall, this site felt the most beneficial for those like myself who wanted to learn not only how to sign but also the history and culture behind ASL. This site is one I will likely go back to when I continue to learn ASL.

Learning Project Post 5: “Video Editing – What tool to use??” 

This is where I ran into a bit of trouble continuing my Learning Project. We were supposed to find a tool to use to document our learning for the week. I struggled to find a tool I actually wanted to use and liked so I ended up putting the post off. This is probably the trickiest part of learning on your own. Once you quit something it is so hard to get back to it, anyone who has tried to eat healthy or workout probably knows that it’s easier to just keep going rather than taking a day off. FINALLY, I put my foot down and told myself to get to it. I found the app InShot and it ended up working really well for me. I used InShot for all future videos I had in the class!

I tried out another website this week. It was okay, but LifePrint was still my favourite.

Learning Project Post 6: “Can you learn something new on TikTok?”

This was another fun week as I was able to try out another new place to learn: TikTok. I found a lot of signing users on the app, but only a portion of them really gave tutorials/lessons on how to sign. In the end I was able to find three really good users (@boonami, @thatdeafcanadianguy, and @chrissycanthearyou). I have since created a TikTok account for myself and followed them so hopefully I can come across more of their videos!

I also played around with InShot some more and was able to add music to my video.

Seventh, and Final Learning Project Post

The Learning Project assignment showed me how easily we can learn an assortment of skills online. Through mine, I utilized so many different websites, apps, and YouTube channels. What I came to realize is there is something for everyone, regardless of the level they are starting from and would like to reach. Because ASL is something I do want to better understand and continue to learn, I was interested in the history and culture, so the LifePrint site was my favourite resource to find. For people who are just curious in learning a few phrases and words for fun, I would recommend checking out TikTok.

I chose to learn ASL because I felt it would help me on my way towards building a more inclusive classroom. After actually diving into the history and getting to see TikTok users who are hearing impaired using ASL rather than just following along with someone who spoke what they signed the whole time continued to show me that this is an important skill. I plan to continue to learn ASL so that if one day I do have a hearing impaired student walk into my classroom, that I can hopefully make them feel welcome.

For my final Learning Project post I hoped to learn a song. Here is a very simple one I found and learnt since this is a goodbye (see you later?) post to my EDTC300 classmates.

Before we get to my video, I will note that although I am fairly musical, that trait does not translate to singing. If you would like to watch me sign while listening to singing in key, feel free to listen to the previous video (I won’t be offended)!

And now, until next time, enjoy!

Can you learn something new on TikTok?

For my next Learning Project lesson I decided to take a recommendation from Katia Hildebrandt, our EDTC300  instructor, by taking my learning to TikTok! This was an interesting experience that I could see being useful in the early learning of ASL.

I tried out a few hashtags to try finding some users sharing their own lessons. I first tried #asl. This didn’t come up with exactly what I was looking for. I did however find some users who made videos signing songs (considered trying to learn them, but they went pretty fast!) and others showing what a day in their life was like. It was exciting to see this community on TikTok where I thought people mostly just posted videos of them dancing or trying to do something funny for likes.

Next, I searched #aslinterpreter. I figured here I would be able to find some interpreters showing how to sign some things, or translating what someone else is saying. Again, this isn’t what I found.

Finally, and I don’t know why I didn’t try this sooner, I looked at #learnasl. There it was! I found several accounts showing how to sign various words and phrases. The main accounts I used once finding this area of TikTok were @boonami, @thatdeafcanadianguy, and @chrissycanthearyou.

All three had some great videos. Some, such as the one included by @chrissycanthearyou, were up to date on current events.

Others provided other resources for learning ASL.

@thatdeafcanadianguy

People always ask me for resources or suggestions on learning ASL. Here are a few great ones! #learnasl #asl #signlanguage #canada #oshawa #tiktok

♬ Beyoncé Check On It JBroadway Remix – j.broadway

What I enjoyed most about this online lesson through TikTok was that I was able to find both @chrissycanthearyou and @thatdeafcanadianguy and see how they share their language through a popular app. I can see TikTok as a useful location where we can learn and see others’ experiences. This brings awareness to the larger population and I think that awareness can help encourage a more inclusive society.

Here is my video for the week. I decided to share some of my struggles in the video because often times online we see all of the perfect versions of what we do so you’ll see this as well. Enjoy!

Video Editing – What tool to use??

This post has been a bit of a work in progress for a couple of weeks. We were challenged for this documentation of our EDTC300 Learning Project to find some sort of a technological tool to document our learning. Since I have been learning ASL I decided a video editing app would be a good tool for me to use. I wanted to find one that would allow me to compile several videos into one so that I wouldn’t have the “ums” and pauses between what I was going to sign. I also wanted to find an app that would allow me to do a voice over and include text to show the English equivalent to what I was saying.

As I searched through the many video editing apps, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I had tried editing videos through desktop tools and have never had the best luck. As I looked I found that some of the apps I thought would work best for me had some cost to them. I had to decide whether or not I was going to spend money on an app that I may or may not actually enjoy using. I decided to try to find a free app over one that I would have to pay for unless I had no luck. This is what took some time.

The first app I downloaded was Quik. 

This app was fun. To get a feel for how the app worked, I decided to play around and make a practice video on my trip to Kona, Hawaii from January. There were options to add images and videos and I could add text as well. I liked that you could add music and filters to the images/videos you uploaded. There were many themes you could select from too. I found that for my travel video, this app worked well but wasn’t sure if it was exactly what I was looking for to use with my Learning Project. I found that the themes moved around too much. For other students I would say you should check out this app though! I thought that if you were documenting a more creative project such as refinishing a desk or learning to cook, you might be able to get an interesting outcome!

Next up, I tried the app InShot. I found that this app worked much better for me than Quik had. Again, I played around with creating a video from my trip before getting into my Learning Project clips. I was able to use the many tools to easily record a voice over and add text to my video. I also liked that I was able to decided the size that I wanted the video to be (there was even the options to make the video fit a TikTok or the many Instagram settings).

I chose the size setting for YouTube so I could upload it there to share in my blog post.

The most challenging aspect I found while editing my InShot video was how to have music playing for me in the background while I also had a voice over. Once I inserted the music I found it was quite loud. I redid my voice over a couple of times, becoming increasingly louder as I went to hopefully have my voice come out over the music. I figured there had to be a way to simply adjust the sound levels. It took me some time to look around to figure out how I could make my voice come out louder and turn down the music level. Once I did I was able to adjust to what you will find in my final product video!

unnamed

Near the bottom you can find the option to have your music fade in or fade out. The bar set at 12% controls the level of the music.

I think that InShot could be used for such a variety of videos. To anyone looking for a free, and easy app for those new to video editing. Once I found this app I was able to easily work with my video clips to create my final product.

For my learning this week, I tried out some new resources. I started off with this site. I liked the options to replay a video and that I could speed it up or slow it down if I needed. What I didn’t like is that I had to search for each word or phrase I was wanting to learn. I am finding that I like using videos because they usually have themes that I can follow along for a whole lesson.

Here is my Family Tree video! Overall, I am happy with the outcome and look forward to working with InShot more in the future. I hope you enjoy!

“I CAN” sign!

I had originally planned on doing one post this week with the history and other variations of sign language as well as my learning of the language, but that ended up being one very long post so I decided to split it up into two. To read about the history, see this post. If you are looking for my progress in learning ASL and the resources I have used this week, this is the post for you!

Last week I had found this other site that I wanted to try out to help me learn ASL. So far, I think this is the best site to check out if you are interested in learning more than just the language. I decided to try Lesson 1 and found that the lessons are structured closer to the language classes that I have come to expect. This first lesson’s video teaches you how to ask “wh-” and “yes/no” questions, say what your name is, and begins to emphasize the importance of facial expressions at times.

I did struggle with the memorization while following along a little bit. For myself, I found that verbally saying the words or phrases I was signing helped me to get them to “stick”.

What I like most about this site is that it has a list of “I can” statements for each lesson. As a teacher in training who has had practice creating lesson plans, I have seen the value in having these “I can” statements available for students, worded in a way that they can understand and check themselves if they have learned the desired outcomes and indicators.

I CAN for ASL

“I can” statements from Lesson 1 of Lifeprint.com’s ASL lessons. Screenshot retrieved from: https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/lessons/lesson01.htm 

As you can see from the list of “I can” statements, this site goes more into the culture of ASL. I really appreciate the inclusion of this information in the lesson because there is so much more to a language than the language itself. I browsed through the other lessons and noticed that they almost all have a bit of a culture piece associated with them. I enjoyed being able to read these while I was working on my history of ASL post

Here is a video of some of my progress I made by watching the video for Lesson 1 on Lifeprint.com! You’ll notice that I need to practice a few of these a bit more before I become really confident with them but I hope you enjoy!

Standing the Tests of Time

In my last Learning Project post I noted the most common question I received from friends and family in response to finding out I was learning ASL: is there just one variation of sign language? As I said in that post, I knew there were likely other variations but I did not know much about them. I decided to look into those variations and also learn a bit of the history behind ASL. Here is what I found!

I found that in Richard Brooks’ “A Guide to the Different Types of Sign Language Around the World” there were seven, of 138-300, common sign languages listed as being used throughout the world that he broke down. They are:

  • British, Australian, and New Zealand Sign Language (BANZSL)
  • French Sign Language (LSF)
  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Irish Sign Language (ISL)
  • Chinese Sign Language (CSL or ZGS)
  • Brazilian Sign Language (Libras)
  • Indo-Pakistani Sign Language

Each of these, and the many other sign languages, have their own variations. For example, here is the BANZSL alphabet:

BANZSL

BANZSL alphabet retrieved from https://blog.ai-media.tv/blog/sign-language-alphabets-from-around-the-world. For other sign language alphabet charts, check out this site

 

Now, trying to find a complete history of sign languages was a little trickier. What I did learn is that non-verbal communication has been used since the beginning of verbal languages. This made sense to me, there are some signals that we can understand mean a certain thing such as waving for someone to ‘come here’. I figured it would be nearly impossible to find the root for all forms of sign language and so decided to focus on the origin of American Sign Language. I read several origins, comparing and contrasting the information they had. The information I am sharing was taken mostly from Dawn Sign Press’s page “History of American Sign Language” because it only included the story behind ASL, making it easier to navigate. If you are interested in learning the history behind sign languages all together, I would recommend checking out GoReact’s “The History of Sign Language”.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, interested in learning how the French were teaching sign language at one of their schools, traveled to Europe in 1815. He attended the LSF school in Paris and met Laurent Clerc who he asked to return with him to America to set up a school for the deaf. Clerc was a deaf teacher who had graduated from the French sign school. Gallaudet and Clerc opened the first American school for the deaf in 1817 in Connecticut called the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons (now called the American School for the Deaf).

American-School-for-the-Deaf-Connecticut-West

American School for the Deaf. Image retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/place/American-School-for-the-Deaf

31 students attended the school by the end of the first year, including some from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and Henniker, New Hampshire, both of which were deaf communities who had their own form of sign language. These sign languages brought by students from home, Clerc’s LSF, and other signs created at the school were what combined to create the ASL that we have today. Those students who graduated from this school went on to create their own schools and spread this language across America.

Today, deaf children are being integrated into public schools rather than attending residential schools specifically for the deaf. ASL has become an established language and continues to thrive today.

 

A,B,C’s and 1,2,3’s (ASL Learning Project)

Following along with the TakeLessons ASL series on YouTube, this past week I have learned the alphabet, numbers, and started to learn colours!The alphabet and numbers came fairly easy to me but the colours I am needing to practice a bit more. The biggest challenge I have faced so far? Hand cramps. I expect that this will continue until I am able to strengthen the muscles in my hands and wrists.

Learning the numbers was interesting, I thought it would be very similar to how I would normally finger count. I found that there were many differences. in particular, I thought that the way you sign the numbers 11-20 to be a good way to continue in similar fashion to the numbers 1-10. And I never thought you would be able to sign 20 numbers using only one hand!

I’ve only spent two days working on colours. I thought I would have been able to learn them well for the video I was posting today since I picked up on numbers and letters quickly but that hasn’t been the case. This did not surprise me too much when I really thought about it, however. I have taken French classes and in each one I always came to a point in the class where the memorization and understanding of some words and concepts became tricky than the previous ones had been. All this means is that I will have to keep on practicing as I move forward in this learning project!

This week I shared my learning with some friends and family and received the question “is there only one kind of sign language?” many times. Since I am learning American Sign Language, I figured there must be other sign languages too! I decided that this is something I should look into while I continue to learn to sign. I found a couple of websites that I plan to go through over the next few days (“History of American Sign Language” Dawn Sign Press, “The History of Sign Language” GoReact, and “A Guide to the Different Types of Sign Language Around the World” Richard Brooks). I also came across another website, lifeprint.com  with 60 lessons on it. These next few days I plan to follow these lessons to see how they can improve my learning.

Until then, here is my progress so far!

And we’re off! (Introduction to ASL Learning Project)

I am so excited to begin my Learning Project for EDTC 300, American Sign Language (ASL)! One of the very first days the syllabus for the course was available I gave it a quick look over and noticed this project. Immediately I thought of choosing ASL as I was interested in learning another language. In my last two years at the U of R I have taken a couple of French classes that have gotten me to where I can use a basic understanding and vocabulary in communicating with others. Even this small amount has helped me to see the value in learning another language.

So, why ASL over other languages? Although I have had limited experience working with students in English as an Additional Language (EAL) programs, what I have noticed is that they learn English as they work through other subject areas. These students do have some sort of program or aid in place that helps them in their studies. But what about students with hearing impairments? With the goal of an inclusive classroom in mind, I thought about sign language and how it could be easily implemented into class, all that it required was that the teacher knew this language. I believe that ASL is a skill that I can use in my personal life as well as when I am an educator. So this is my topic I have chosen to explore as my Learning Project!

I am beginning this project with no knowledge of ASL so I sought out beginner level resources that I will be able to use. I have found a couple of apps as well as a YouTube channel that I plan to use to learn from. The YouTube page TakeLessons has 11 videos for beginners at ASL. I plan to work through these videos to develop this skill. The main app I plan on using is called Sign School. It has so many different topics on it so once I work through some of the lessons on TakeLessons I will begin to explore these other topics, beginning with School! The first two topics I will learn will be numbers 1-10 and the alphabet.

To kick my project off, I decided to learn how to spell my name!