This fun and engaging site allows the novice, as well as more advanced signer access to new American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary! Basics such as the alphabet, numbers, and words are displayed by request in an easy to follow video display. For those more experienced with ASL, stories, poems and cultural information is also available. The site offers a new vocabulary word each day, as well as a section entitled "baby sign", which focuses on signs associated with parenthood and babies. This site is well organized, easy and exciting to use. Although a high-speed connection works best with the stories, the basic vocabulary words are accessible with a slower connection. This site would appeal to upper level students, high school and above, professionals, and family members of children using sign language.
Type of Material:
Web browsers supporting GIF animations are required. This site is best viewed with either Netscape 3.0 and higher or MS Explorer 3.0 and higher.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To introduce parents, prospective sign language students, and others to sign language in a fun, relaxing, online environment.
Target Student Population:
Sign language students, deaf people, parents of deaf children, parents of hearing babies, police officers, firefighters, scuba divers, teenagers, audiologists, doctors, and sign language instructors who are curious. Based on the comments posted, the audience is very broad, ranging from deaf elderly to mothers of death children, military needing to communicate while working around noisy equipment, young teens who are proud to be learning sign language, and even pet owners wanting to communicate with deaf dogs.The author states that ?Handspeak is only for self-tutoring and fun learning,
NOT for any official instruction. To obtain an interpreting certificate, one must attend a college or educational institution.?
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Ability to navigate frames.
The Animal Sign, Baby Sign, and International Sign sections are particularly well done. The suggestion that baby sign language can be used to communicate with babies even before they can talk has interesting implications that can now be explored, using the baby sign feature of this resource. Every word we looked for was posted in this visual ASL dictionary. Many young teens are interested in sign language ? to communicate with friends and as a means to explore individuals different from themselves. While young teens used to share signs among each other with no means of confirming the accuracy of their sign language, this web site now provides them with an authoritative source.
General Comments: This site is thorough and extremely clear in its presentation of words and concepts. The copyright notice and disclaimer shows sincere effort to provide a resource without any intention of replacing official instruction with web-based instruction.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site illustrates how many individuals can learn and incorporate sign into their daily lives. Its benefits are many. This site would be particularly useful for students and teachers who have Deaf students included in their general education classrooms.
? General Comments: This is a very useful tool, and we recommend that teachers of all subjects and at all levels should be made aware.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Extremely well designed site. Demonstrations and video are clearly presented. The video is technically outstanding in that the movement and images are conveyed even via a 26 K baud dial-up modem. The three frames format is arranged so that it works even on a small low-tech monitor. This site is very easy to navigate. Many different types of users should be able to benefit from its content.
The ASL Dictionary Online title board does not show on many of the pages.
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