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!