Please feel free to leave some feedback in the comment section:
The camera is a bit further back this time; this was a correction I needed to make, as suggest by Nadene via email correspondence who noted that “ASL requires the whole upper body, not just the arms and face.”
Please view my model: Bill Vicar’s “100 Basic Signs” from 4:17 to 6:13.
Taking the Time to Reflect:
Thanks to networking on Twitter I was able to connect with Nadene who has signed for 25 years and is part of the deaf/hard of hearing community. Firstly, I would like to say how shocked I am that someone would be kind enough to take the time to watch my videos, give feedback, and send a very encouraging email. This connection is one that would not have been made without the internet/social networking and I am very grateful. Nadene was able to assure me that resources from ASL University are valuable learning tools. I feel very encouraged that someone who has spoken ASL for 25 years was able to tell me: “from the videos you posted, I think you are getting the gist of the alphabet and signs.” If you are reading this, Nadene, thank you very much for your time, honest feedback, and encouragement!
Although the benefits of technology have allowed me to connect and begin my ASL learning journey, Nadene made the point that I need to take my learning beyond a computer screen. She noted that learning a language is not something I can entirely do online as “ASL encompasses a culture that requires [people] to meet face-to-face in order to learn the social norms of that language.” The idea that I am not just learning a language, but also a culture is both exciting and frightening. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by this notion but I am just taking it day-by-day and I keep reminding myself that my goals are to prepare myself for a ASL class and work through the challenges and successes of self-directed, online learning. I am not expecting to learn an entire culture and language overnight. When I put it into perspective, I’ve been working on the English language for 21 years (four of them as an English major at the University of Regina) and I still have improvements to make.
Nadene’s comment that resonated with me the most is that “when it comes to expressive language, there’s really no substitute for face to face interaction — even if it is through Skype.” The quizzes and videos are a great way to improve my receptive fluency but I need to practice my expressive fluency face-to-face with someone else. That is the best way to “catch [my] errors and help [me] improve.” I also have noticed that at Camp Easter Seal I was able to pick up the basics of sign language easier because I was working with people who only spoke that language; being immersed in face-to-face interactions cannot be replaced by technology, although both have their positives. I am hoping to connect with another ECMP 355 student this semester and we can test out our receptive skills. It is on my bucket list to take an actual ASL course where I will work on expressive and receptive fluency with professionals. For instance, the Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services host ASL classes in Regina.
This experience has reminded me and reaffirmed for me that technology and face-to-face interactions need to be balanced in our classrooms. They both have their positive and negative aspects but used together, the best and most-rewarding learning can take place.
Balance is key: