To really dive into American Sign Language, I decided to find an app that would allow me to practice on the go and learn material on any down time that I had throughout the day. I have been improving rapidly since I started to use the app. The app I downloaded was free for my iphone and it’s super effective. The app is The ASL App.
The research that I previously did in my last blog, encouraged me to first learn the alphabet just with any other language. I found that the hand movements were much more challenging than I anticipated. My fine motor skills are not as honed as the typical ASL user, but with practice I think my signs have become understandable.
I made two videos to show off my improvement. The first is a video demonstrating the alphabet that I have memorized. The second video shows me spelling out name with the alphabet.
Next, I learned my numbers, which were actually really easy to learn up to ten. However, when I used the ASL app to learn 10-20, the video was missing. I scoured YouTube until I found a beginners guide to numbers 10-20. I made another video of my progress and posted it in twitter. Once I had the first ten numbers down 10-20 was basically the same with tiny differences. I made another video and posted it to twitter of my numbers that I have learned!
I then tried to work on learning the numbers 20-30 through the same video makers who taught me 11-20. This set was much more difficult than the alphabet and the numbers I have previously learned. It seemed to me that there was not a connection between the hand movements and the numbers. After awhile, I began to see the connection and make sense of why the gestures mean that numbers.
It was quite the learning experience, being on the other side of the teacher/student relationship. Having to learn something from the very beginning reminded how much processing time I take as an adult. It really put into perspective how crucial patience in teachers really is. I had almost forgotten how frustrating it is to learn a new skill, and how the environmental pressures can really affect that. Sharing my progress with my fellow classmates is not as easy as I might have imagined. I really see how opening up your learning to other people can be scary and leave you feeling vulnerable to judgment. I understand the student role a little more than before I started this independent learning project.
Now that I have my letters and numbers down. I am using the StartASL workbook to practice my comprehension and learn essential vocabulary. I have taken two quizzes so far that require me to comprehend numbers and “fingerspelling” that is being demonstrated by videos on the website. I am proud to say that I got perfect scores on both of my quizzes and I know because I had the website grade them.