At the beginning of the semester we were told to pick a skill and learn it using technology. It could have been anything, but I narrowed it down to choosing ASL. Initially, I thought how hard can it be? It’s like learning French. I was very wrong. It was so much different.
For one, ASL is not a verbal language, which to me makes it much harder to remember the signs. In verbal languages, I can at least make connections to English words. In ASL this was much harder. There were a few that were like this, but trust me the signs are very different from what you think they are. One example, if you look back to Week 2, the number 3 still throws me off!
If you also looks back to my week working with colours on Tik Tok, you might be able to notice that the colours do not really relate to anything, so it was a lot harder to remember them, and I still have trouble.
Overall, I found learning a language online, harder than it would be in person. I have learned French in school, and one pro of being in person when learning is that you can converse with your classmates for practice. I was fortunate to have a friend who was also learning ASL, but it was very hard to find people to practice ASL with. Without consistent use and practice of the language, I find that I forget a lot of signs.
Despite all of the setbacks I think I learned a lot about ASL. Looking back, my goal was to be able to have basic conversations in ASL. I think I was able to achieve this goal (see video below). I wish I was able to have a few more conversation words for more complex conversations, but overall I am super happy with my progress.
I also wanted to look into being able to sign mathematical words like multiply, divide, add, subtract, and numbers. I was able to learn the numbers from 1-100, although I do have to look back fairly often to remind myself. I did however have a hard time finding math signs, so I focused more on my numbers than the other signs. I do want to continue and be able to tutor math using some ASL.
Now, let’s talk resources. Over the course of the semester, I used a number of different resources. These include YouTube, Tik Tok, many different apps, Quizlet, and searched photos. One resource that I wish I did use, but honestly never thought of, was websites and other blogs. I cannot believe I did not check out websites that could have been full of good information! I think as I continue to learn, I will have to check out the websites one of my classmates had been using. Also, we talk so much about collaboration in class, I am a little disappointed in myself for not checking out other ASL blogs (besides my classmates).
My Top 2 and Least Favorite
Overall, I liked using YouTube the best. It really fit my learning style. I liked to see the signs over and over again, in slow motion and rewind as much as possible. YouTube had all of these features, plus a amazing selection of youtubers you were sharing their ASL knowledge. Check out the channel I found most helpful here.
Coming in second place, I would say Tik Tok actually, which sort of surprised me. Some things I liked about Tik Tok was again the sheer number of people creating ASL content was way bigger than I expected. I also liked that I found people who were also learning just like me. The short length of the videos was a big pro for me. It made it easy to focus on a few signs at a time instead of 15 signs from one category. The only drawback to it was that if you missed something, you had to watch the whole video back over again. I guess that could be a positive too because you are getting lots of practice! You can take a looks at my Tik Tok post right here!
Taking the least favorite spot has got to be using apps. Now for learning any other language I know there are great apps like DuoLingo. Unfortunately, there has not been a great app made for specifically learning ASL, at least not one on google play store (not sure about the apple app store). All apps I tried were hard to navigate, had to pay for most of the signs, only had photos, and were just not ideal when learning the language. I think they would work best as a review tool or like a translation dictionary if you forgot a sign. To read more about learning from apps click here.
Throughout my weeks I have posted a few videos of my progress. Here is a link to all my blog posts for my learning projects. Throughout the posts you will find a few videos showing my progress. The video below shows me and my classmate completing a goal of both of ours. That is being able to have basic conversations in ASL.
Check out my conversation as well as some other signs I have learned!