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: 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.

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.

Learning ASL: Things Around The House

The technology on my computer has been cruel to me lately… I usually edit my ASL videos on iMovie and it wasn’t letting me take videos from my iSight camera!  I figured this was because I updated my Mac to OSx Mavericks, so I went ahead and bought the new version of iMovie.  I was happy with it because the iSight camera was working, but once I came around to uploading it, I soon got frustrated again.  It was not uploading to YouTube properly and I still don’t know why!  I ended up converting it to a .MPEG file on my computer and uploaded it onto YouTube.  It took me two hours to figure everything out today!  I successfully and finally uploaded it to YouTube, so I am a happy camper now.

This week, I learned how to sign things around the house!  As I go along, I’m noticing that a lot of the alphabet shows up in words!  I’m proud of myself in this week’s video because I sound a wee bit less awkward in front of the camera.  Even when I was filming it, I felt less anxiety and more confidence!  This is great because one of my goals through this experience is to build up my confidence in front of a camera and to improve my presentation skills.

Learning ASL: Colours and Family Members

This week, I focused on Colours and Family Members in ASL!  I was surprised at how easy colours were to sign if you already know the alphabet, so I decided to take on two lists of vocabulary!  Colours, most of the time, are signed with the letter that colour starts with.  For example, “blue” is signed like the “B” sign, but you shake it to make the word “blue”.  Family members were pretty easy to grasp as well because they built off of some of the pronouns I learned earlier.  For example “daughter” is the combination of the sign “girl” and “baby”.

Here are the two videos I learned from this week.

I’m trying to present the material differently each week and this time, I brought in a special guest!  I taught my roommate how to sign colours and family members and I quizzed her on them!  I still need to work on my presentation skills, but hopefully those progress after doing these a few times!

Thanks to Kara for helping me out with these videos!  Check out Kara’s blog!

Digital Storytelling

I’m quite amazed with all of the tools we have used and explored through ECMP 355 for digital storytelling lately!  I was not aware of most of the tools we went through!  When I thought of digital storytelling, I only thought about telling stories in videos; more specifically, Youtube videos.  Little did I know, there were way more ways to express a story with technology!

The first two things we looked at on October 3rd was 5 Card Flickr and 6 word stories.  In the 5 Card Flickr story, you choose 5 pictures and create a story with those images.  I did this recently in a past blog post.  I thought this activity in class was wonderful because it channeled my creativity and kept me interested!  I feel like this would be great for children to do because I can only imagine what stories they would come up with!  It’s a great way to get your creative juices going and it could be an introduction into creative writing for children!  The 6 word story is exactly what you think: a six word story!  Here’s an example: “Tanline on his ring finger? Goodbye. – Ruby”.  You’d think this would be simple to do, but it is quite the contrary!  I considered doing one because I thought it would be easy, but creating a story in 6 words is difficult!  This could be a great exercise to demonstrate the need to shorten sentences if the information in the sentence is redundant because you have to choose your words carefully in a 6 word story.  Another thing we looked at on this day was movie trailers that were edited to create a different movie genre.  For example, someone transformed Mary Poppins into a horror film:

This was very interesting because just by changing the music, colour and order of the scenes, you can create something completely different.

The next week, we started working on our Door Scene videos, as mentioned in my previous post.  We learned ways to make a video more suspenseful and we learned how to use iMovie more effectively.  It will be interesting to watch the videos from other groups because it will prove that a story can go in all different directions with their creative choices.  The next thing we are exploring is podcasting!  A new post will probably come up for that!

So, for a last thought: Are there any other digital storytelling tools that you know of? I would be thrilled to explore more!