Hello all! It is yet another quiet day in my small hometown. I am currently off on Reading Week from school, which is a very nice break from the stresses of midterms. While I have been busy doing other things while I am home, the one thing I have been avoiding (I shamefully admit) is schoolwork. However, I have been doing a bit of work on my American Sign Language learning project that I would like to share, along with a bit of a self-assessment of where I am at in terms of my goals.
Now, unfortunately, because of my geography, I am unable to upload a video of my progress. Even with all of the advances in technology, wifi, and decent cell service, still eludes my home meaning I have to rely on my personal hotspot for internet (which I am currently using to write this post) but I rarely get enough bars that would allow me to upload a video. It would likely take an hour or more to do so. Therefore, as a compromise, I have decided to approach my update it in a different way this week.
While I am admitting my academic sluggishness and reluctance to do anything in the face of midterm exams, I must also confess that this is a collective post of week #4 and #5. I dropped the ball a bit last week and did not get a separate post up for week #4. However, I did put a little bit of extra work in this week to try and make up for it (believe me, I feel bad about it). This week ended up being a sort of review of everything that I have learned up to this point: alphabet, numbers, and colours. These are some of the most basic elements of any language and in order to build a big building, you need a solid foundation. My learning process, in terms of using online tools, has been so far successful in my mind. I have found some excellent YouTube resources that have made it easy to learn these basic elements. However, I started to feel like I needed something with a little more structure to it. I am a very linear person and that definitely transfers over into my learning, especially for something so complex as a language skill. So, I decided to do a little hunting for some additional resources.
Thanks to Google and Pinterest, I have found Sing Language 101 which is a free online series of videos that teach ASL. I ended up using this as a review of my basics and while using it I have also learned a few new things along the way. So here is my brief review of this resource.
So here is my brief review of this resource: overall, I really enjoy the simplicity of the videos and the easy instruction that is provided. Dr. Bridges, who is the instructor, signs everything in the videos and the commentary allows the viewer/learner to follow along with (mostly) ease. The videos are kept relatively brief which I find makes it very easy to watch them over again. One thing I dislike about the videos is the conversational/explanatory bits that are there mostly at the beginning of the videos. I personally find it difficult to follow along and while it could be very useful in learning even more because it pairs speech with sign, it moves far too fast for a beginner like myself to understand. Other than that one minuscule thing, the videos overall are extremely useful. I think the highlight of these videos is the additional elements that are included: language tips, Deaf culture, and quizzes. The quizzes especially are great at the end of the video to help me assess whether or not I have picked up the skills and determine what I need to review. I also really enjoy the Deaf culture element. It provides me with more insight into the background of ASL and the community rather than just learning at surface level. I will continue to use this website to learn as well as review.
I really enjoy watching my friends and fellow colleagues learning ASL as well. I’ve checked out Rebecca Hitchens’ learning project blogs as well as Sydney Wall’s learning project. It’s very interesting to see the resources they are using and the progress they have made since the beginning of the semester. I also may take their advice and start watching the tv series “Switched at Birth” as it sounds extremely interesting and a fun way to learn – who doesn’t love to watch tv for school!
Sorry for the long-winded post and if you made it this far, thank you for keeping up! More updates and hopefully more videos to come next week!