Learning ASL: Final reflections and Progress

Throughout this semester, I have taken on the challenge to learn American Sign Language for my learning project in ECMP 355.  I have learned terms mostly from a series of Youtube videos from the channel “Sign Language 101“, and “Smarthands“.  Both of these Youtube channels provide great education and resources to help you learn ASL.  Sign Language 101 is a very informal and personable instruction based learning tool, while Smarthands is geared more towards a younger audience with songs, dances and children instruction.  These are both very good for learning terminology.  I have also recently used Lifeprint, which was very beneficial to my learning.  As I mentioned in a previous post, they provide lessons for language learning, which includes videos, descriptions and pictures of hand movements.  They also recognize different ways of using signs and alternate ways of signing.

It was interesting to rewatch all of my videos to reflect upon my personal growth throughout the semester.  I liked the fact that I tried to include different ways of presenting my content.  I did tutorial videos, voice over videos, songs, a collaboration video and even a silent movie type of video.  My confidence level in front of the camera has definitely gone up, which was one of my own personal goals.

I started out my videos by doing voiceovers or signing songs because I wasn’t comfortable with speaking in front of the camera while filming myself.

In my video about pronouns, I was very nervous because this was my first video actually speaking to the camera.  Note the weird eye contact and fidgeting in the beginning!

My videos on colours and family were somewhat more confident because I had a friend with me, but I still feel like it was a step for becoming more comfortable.

This is the last video I taped myself and spoke at the same time, and I really do believe that my confidence level has gone up in it.  I think my instructional methods can improve, but I think I have more volume and confidence in my voice!

Fingerspelling has been a part of my journey in every topic that I have learned over the semester, which has improved the speed and accuracy of my fingerspelling.  You can definitely see progress from my first time signing my name in my videos.

I think another big improvement with my ASL learning was that I was able to formulate a couple of sentences in a conversation, with the help from Lifeprint!

I was going to sign a song in the end, but I found it to be very difficult because I’m not as advanced with formulating proper sentences yet and I don’t want to get confused with Signed English.  When I was looking at different tutorials for songs in ASL, the people were using signed English, which is not proper American Sign Language.  I felt like it would defeat the purpose of my learning if I learned how to sign according to English.  This journey has been exciting and educational and I plan on continuing my learning of ASL and maybe become fluent in it!

Learning ASL: Conversation!

I took my learning from my lesson from Lifeprint and created a conversation video with myself!  I feel like it is kind of like a silent movie!  Meet Ashley and Amy!  My costume changes are brilliant, I know!

Learning ASL: Lifeprint

While I was looking for new resources for learning ASL, I came across Lifeprint.  I’m sad that I didn’t find it before!  The site provides various free lessons, with short videos demonstrating each sign.  The great thing about it is the fact that they teach you how to put words into sentences right away.  I’ve been learning mostly vocabulary through my journey this semester, so learning a couple sentences was great!  For each lesson, they provide the short video, pictures that show each movement, and an explanation of each sign.  For example, I learned how to ask if someone is deaf.

deaf1deaf2deaf3

Handshape: index finger
Location: Starting location:  In general it starts on the cheek near the ear but occasionally you will see it start near the mouth (on the cheek). Ending location:  On the cheek near the mouth.
Orientation:  If done with the right hand, the right palm can face either left or somewhat forward.
Movement:  Small arc.
Variation: If you do this sign while puffing out the cheek, with a larger arc it means, “Deaf, and proud of it!”
Description: Touch your finger on your cheek near your ear, then move your finger in a small arch and touch it near the mouth. Remember, start and end the sign on the cheek. Do not do it on the ear or mouth, but rather near them.

To ask the question, “Are you deaf?”, you do the sign for deaf and point to the person you are asking.  You literally sign, “Deaf you?”.  When you ask questions in ASL, you have to furrow your brows for questions using who, what, why and where and you have to have your brows up for other questions.

I’ve been learning from this site for a while and I will continue to blog the things that I have been learning for the next couple of days!

Learning ASL: Verbs

I haven’t posted a learning project post in a while because I’ve been super busy with unit plans, projects, ect.!  But I have been learning new terms during this time!  Here are the verbs that I have learned!  I realized after uploading it that I mixed up the signs for “x” and “q”.  In the video I say that the sign for “x” is the sign for “q”, so you will see an annotation on the video to correct it..  Well, on the bright side, I guess I learned how to use annotations on Youtube!

I learned these verbs through Sign Language 101 once again on Youtube:

I’m further learning that the alphabet is used all the time for signing words.  For example the word “attempt” is the “a” sign on both hands, while flipping them back and forth.

Should Teachers Be Friends with their Students on Facebook?

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by SimonQ錫濛譙

Since I’m done for the semester and most of the stress is gone, I thought I’d take this time to blog about some things that I haven’t talked about on my blog this semester in ECMP 355.  The question of having teacher-student relationships or teacher-parent relationships on Facebook came up quite a bit in class.  I personally think that it’s not the greatest idea when you are dealing with elementary or high school students and their parents.  For me, my Facebook account is for personal updates and connecting with friends I have made over the years.  If we have students or parents as friends on Facebook, everything you say or do could be criticized.  It seems as though if someone finds out that their teacher has a life, it’s the end of the world.  I remember when I was in high school, we would think it was the craziest thing if we saw our teachers out at the grocery store or in any public place.  It’s as if we thought that teachers live at the school or something!  I feel like it’s okay once your students are out of school, especially if you have developed a great relationship with that teacher.  For example, I’m friends with my teacher from high school on Facebook and she is one of my inspirations to become a teacher!  I think this is not such a big deal with university students, however.  At this point, we should all be mature enough to be able to do this.  Once you get to university, professors start to treat you as adults and equals.  You may even develop friendships and mentoring relationships with these professors.

I think it’s a great idea to start a page on Facebook or create a Facebook account solely for educational purposes.  We explored this when we looked at the Hackel Hub Facebook Page.  This teacher documents what’s going on in the classroom and what the students are learning about.  This is a great way for parents and guardians to be involved in their children’s learning and for them to be aware of what their children are learning.  Seeing their child’s successes and progress will ensure that their children are in good hands!  Before the teacher posted anything, the teacher sent out a permission form for the students to be shown on the Facebook page.  The options were: I allow my child to be photographed with their name, I allow my child to be photographed without their name or I don’t allow my child to be featured on the page.  The page is completely private, so only people that are friends with this Facebook page will be able to see the content.

Overall, I think using Facebook for educational purposes is a good thing, but only if it is used in the right way.  This is my own personal opinion, but having students access your personal Facebook page may become problematic.  Students and teachers may analyze and criticize what you say on this social media site.  They also may think of you as less of an authoritative or role model figure because of the things you post.  This all comes down to how you portray yourself online, though.  You may not have problems with this, depending on what you post.  Facebook may be another way that you choose to develop your digital identity.  In the end, I think that using Facebook to document and update family members on your students’ progress is a beneficial way to use this social media site.

What do you think? Is it appropriate to accept friend requests from students?

My Summary of Learning

We are at the end of the Fall 2013 semester and it’s time to reflect on the things we have learned in ECMP 355!  Since my speaking skills are not the greatest in this video, I thought I would reflect further on the things talked about in my screen recording.

1. Google+

  • As mentioned in my video, I never really thought that Google+ was anything special.  Through other social medias and conversations, Google+ was kind of seen as a joke by many.  Through this class, I realized that you can do some great things with it.  First of all, it’s a great way to get students together in one group to share ideas, to make announcements and to get feedback from others.  I was used to UR Courses for this kind of interaction, but Google+ has proved to be a more easier, organized and comfortable way to access information.  Google Docs were used on our Google+ page, which was very convenient because they were placed right in plain view for us to access.  Because of this class, I started using Google Docs to share ideas and information with classmates.

2. Twitter

  • I originally used Twitter as a way to ‘stalk’ celebrities and to find out what was happening in the world.  Little did I know, Twitter can be used as a tool to communicate with other educators through hashtags.  The example I used in my video was #pted (preservice teacher education), but there are multiple hashtags like #elemed, #scichat #ntchat, ect.  Educators that follow these multiple hashtags around the world can respond to your tweet by giving advice, feedback or comments.

3. WordPress

  • I had a WordPress blog before this class and I would usually just write about what I was thinking about and reflecting on experiences.  Once I started ECMP 355, I started blogging about technology, reflections and my own personal learning.  I thought I was pretty advanced with WordPress before, but I’ve learned so much from this class.  For example, I learned about drop down menus and ping backs.  I also learned how to use an about.me page on my blog.  We also had George Couros come into our class to show us how we can develop our professional portfolios online.  I had no idea that you could do this and it seems like a more organized and environmentally friendlier way of developing a professional portfolio, while developing your digital footprint at the same time.

4. Edublogs

  • I’ve never actually used Edublogs before, but I’m bringing this up because we looked at Ms Cassidy’s blog.  She uses Edublogs as a way to record the progress of her students, which is pretty cool in my opinion.  I took a closer look at her blog after I made my summary of learning and realized that she does not document only reading and writing, but also other subjects, like math and art.  I think this is a great way for teachers and for parents to see the progress that the students are making.

5. Digital Storytelling

  • Through the 5 Card Flickr Story exercise and The Door Scene exercise, we learned all about digital storytelling.  I thought this was amazing because it goes beyond our basic understanding of how stories are told, which would be physically reading a story and watching movies.  This class has really opened my mind to how many possibilities arise from using technology.

6. Youtube/iMovie

  • Youtube has been a very important tool for me this year.  I posted my learning project videos, The Door Scene video and my summary of learning from this class onto Youtube.  I’ve also used it in different classes in the past and recently.  Youtube provides a quick and easy way to share videos with classmates, students, friends, colleagues and many more!  I use iMovie to edit all of my videos and it’s been pretty good for me so far!  I had to update to a new version because my past one was not working for some reason, but I’m starting to like the new version more now!  It’s easy to understand and function and you can share your videos onto Youtube directly from iMovie.

7. Podcasting

  • Podcasting has always been a foreign term to me and I never really understood it until this class.  We were supposed to create one in a different class earlier on, but we ended up just recording a video of our voices and put it on Youtube because we did not understand how to create a podcast.  Since we were not totally confident in talking about something, we made a music mashup, which is much harder than it seems.  Creating podcasts could be a great alternative to presenting in class and it could also be a way to bring information or entertainment to others.

8. Digital Identity

  • In my video, I talk about the story of Karen Klein and Amanda Todd.  Both of these individuals were affected by the identity they have made online.  Karen’s story ends up happier because someone raised money for her to go on a vacation.  But for Amanda Todd, however, her identity and her activity online contributed to her downfall.
  • Throughout this whole entire class, we have been developing our own digital identities through social medias such as Google+ and Twitter and through our blogs.  These tools have enabled us to identify as educators and share information that we find interesting.

Zite As An Educational Tool

For ECMP 355 last week, I decided to check out the app called, Zite.  This app is pretty much like your own personal magazine because it shows you intriguing articles based on your interests.  I downloaded this tool on my iPhone a while ago, but I just revisited it to actually give it a try!  The app is free and can be downloaded at the App Store.  The sign up process was very fast and convenient!  Navigating is very easy to figure out, which is very beneficial.

zite

You have a Quicklist of the categories you are interested in and you can navigate that way, or you can click on “Your Top Stories” to navigate articles from all of your interests.

zite4

You can customize the font size to your liking, which is pretty cool!

zite3

A great feature of this app is that you can post articles from Zite onto Twitter.

zite2

Unfortunately, it was not working for me and I am not sure why.  Anybody have any suggestions? I’ll try a different day and see what happens!

zite1

This tool would be great for students because they can search up a very global variety of material on politics, history, pop culture, anthropology, and many more!  Zite is a great way for students to explore their interests and share content to others.  This would be a great source for blogging material because there’s a bottomless pit of content, whether that be an opinionated piece or an educational source!  This is also a great tool for teachers because they can educate themselves about new and noteworthy information and upgrade according to that.  I looked at the Education category and there are tons of articles about ways of teaching and different approaches to use in the classroom.  There’s also a category for crafts, which is a dream for us Pre-K to 5 teachers!  This tool is just great for everybody because it catches you up with current events and new and upcoming ideas, trends, etc.  I think it’s beneficial for anybody to learn about global issues and content and I believe that this just opens up our minds to all sorts of ideas and practices!

Have you used Zite before? How did you implement this tool into the classroom?