All Good Things Must Come to an End

The End of My ASL Journey

Here is the day we’ve all been waiting for… the day I stop tweeting constantly about ASL. For my EDTC300 class this semester I was tasked with taking my learning into my own hands and teaching myself something new. I could’ve picked anything really, but I chose to learn American Sign Language.

ASL or American Sign Language is a physical and visual language used by deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people to communicate. I’ve always had an interest in languages, and when I was presented with this opportunity I knew that I wanted to learn a new one. I ultimately chose ASL.

I’m sure you’re wondering how this whole ‘learning a language in ten weeks’ challenge turned out. I can honestly say that it taught me skills I never even dreamed of. Not only did I learn the basics of a whole new language, but I created a community for myself that helps to widen my perspective on life. My new internet resources and friends allow me to see the world in a different way. My #LearningProject was a nice break from the traditional homework I was used to.

This life-changing experience took me on a roller-coaster of a ride. There were highs and lows and I can’t wait for you to explore each of my posts, but if you want the quick version – check out the recap below!

*But if you want the fun version check out my YouTube Channel where I posted videos each week throughout my #LearningProject

10 Weeks in Recap

What is ASL?

  • This is where I figured out what I was getting myself into
  • I set goals for myself and predicted the future of this project
  • I also challenged myself to make weekly videos to showcase my learning

Back in Kindergarten

  • My first official week of learning
  • I learned the alphabet and counting – which made me feel like I was in kindergarten
  • All I can say is it was a steep learning curve

A Basic Girl Learning Basic ASL

  • I finally began to feel comfortable with signing… and filming
  • Found resources on YouTube that I could use continuously
  • I started to get into a routine

The Sign Family

  • My family started taking my quest to learn ASL seriously and joined me.
  • I made it a priority to modernize the information I was taking in by expanding past the stereotypical nuclear family
  • I discovered my very first sign dictionary Spread the Sign

Tickled Pink to be Learning Sign Language

  • Halfway through my ASL journey, and I could feel my motivation slipping
  • I came across some inspiring content on YouTube
  • My PLN on Twitter began to grow to expand the ASL community

Winter Weather – Let’s Eat Together

  • I couldn’t decide if I should learn weather vocab or food vocab… so I learned both
  • I learned ASL does not follow English syntax
  • This still blows my mind!

The Pinterest Sign Language Challenge

  • I was getting so bored of my routine that I created my own challenge.
  • The challenge allowed me to get creative in my recording and my learning
  • I felt as if my Pinterest was being ignored, so I decided to incorporate it

Branching Out

  • I found a fellow ASL learner and paired up with her
  • Regan Luypaert and I had an ASL conversation – my first ASL interaction!
  • All I can say is go watch the video!

You Just Got Schooled

  • I did two videos just because…
  • I finally learned some internet slang – maybe I was waiting for it this whole time
  • I discovered Nyle Dimarco

The Finale

  • My final post consisted of me learning a song in sign language
  • I made a video to prove it
  • I can’t wait to make more after this project is done

How I Learned

Learning from the internet is no easy feat. When left to your own devices it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily the internet is full of resources needed to learn anything.

I used YouTube channels such as:

I then used apps like:

I also learned from websites

Showcasing My Learning

At the beginning of my #LearningProject I challenged myself to post a video every week. I never realized how difficult and testing this goal would be. The process of learning, filming, editing, and uploading is a long and painful process that really tested me this semester. Even though I love the process when in times of stress it really caused me to learn how to prioritize my time in order to successfully meet my goal.

Luckily, I was familiar with YouTube as I’d already created a channel and posted past school assignments online. I had a desire to film and post about my life, and doing it under the pressure of my #LearningProject was just what I needed to become familiar with the process.

Continuing to post about my life via videos and vlogs is something I definitely plan to continue with after this project.

Go check out my YouTube channel Hayley Hodson in order to see my growth not only in ASL but also in my video skills. I can see that I have significantly improved throughout the 10 weeks in the aesthetic and editing skills of my videos as well as in Sign Language.

The Benefits of Learning ASL

Circle of signing lolve
via Google

I did not pick to learn ASL because it was easy. I didn’t pick it because it is popular. I didn’t pick it because I thought it would give me the best grade. I chose to learn ASL because I truly love languages of any kind. ASL is just a different way of communicating that I hope to continue learning about.

Unlike spoken language, visual languages such as ASL are often the minority. In the past, they have been isolated and oppressed and made to feel unwanted. In order to reverse this – we, the hearing, speaking, population – must reach out in a language that both hearing and hearing impaired can use. Sign Language.

inviting someone in
via Google

According to the Canadian Association of the Deafthere are about 357,000 culturally Deaf Canadians and about 3.21 million hard of hearing Canadians. That is a huge population of people that are isolated and unable to communicate effectively with hearing people like me. I plan to learn Sign Language in order to open the lines of communication between the hearing and non-hearing.

The Future

This is not the end of my learning journey. Although my #LearningProject ends after ten weeks, I still plan to continue learning ASL. These last ten weeks are just the beginning. I have been able to build a solid foundation of knowledge and resources that enable me to continue my learning journey. Learning American Sign Language will be a lifelong commitment that I plan to see through.

Learning a language is not easy, but when provided with materials, resources, and a PLN anything is possible.

Final Thoughts

A culture lives through its language, and American Sign Language is no different. The language is more than just a means of communication, it is a way of life. By learning ASL I inadvertently connected to a new culture and see the world through a different lens. Although I do not rely on ASL as a means for communication, and will never truly understand what it means to be deaf or hard of hearing, the language gives me a better understanding of how these people live their lives.

Languages have always intrigued me one way or another. The ability for communication to embody an entire culture draws me in. You cannot have a language without a culture nor a culture without a language, they are such integral parts of each other and come hand in hand to new learners such as myself. Learning Sign Language has introduced me to a culture who’s stories have been shoved aside. I hope to bring recognition to the culture and language of deaf and hard of hearing people as well a learn the language.

I may not be good enough to fully communicate with another signer, but I plan to work on my skills. I recognize this as a lifelong journey in learning a second language, and I hope I can spend the rest of my life improving my signing. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn with motivation from my classmates.

My #LearningProject has come to a close, but I am not.

 

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The Finale

Week 10 has come upon me and I find myself wanting to do something different. Something close to my heart. Something that will really show what I’ve learned. What better way to do that than through music. Music has been a big part of my life and meshing my love for music and sign language together seemed like a perfect match.

via GIPHY

I started by picking a song. I wanted something that everyone would know. A classic, but not too old. A song that I wouldn’t get sick of after hearing it for hours. I decided on Viva La Vida by Coldplay. The song was catchy, I knew the lyrics, and it provided a plethora of new vocab. It was perfect.

Next, I needed to figure out how to sign the song. I searched for an ASL cover on YouTube and it turns out that a lot of people have covered that song. My favorite video and the one I ended up learning from was by SignSong called Sign Language Project: Viva la Vida – Coldplay. The video was clear and well put together. The girls were enthusiastic signers and it was great learning from them.

And so, a week later and I’d not only learned the song but also filmed, edited, and posted the video. Take a look below at the video and see for yourself how much I’ve grown as a signer.

Signing has not been easy, but knowing that I am capable of making such cool covers is amazing. I will continue to make covers in the future and will maybe even have to create a new channel to showcase my talent!

You Just Got Schooled

For my ninth week learning ASL I decided to do two videos. I wanted to utilize Screencastify as well as filming regularly as I had been doing for the first half of this project. I love the process of filming and editing and decided to really immerse myself in the process.

 

via GIPHY

 

The first video is the Screencastify video where I did a website tour of a really great app I had been using called SignSchool. I had mainly been using the app for dictionary purposes and the sign of the day in order to learn unconventional vocabulary. What I learned while doing this video was that the website version is a whole other story. The website houses lessons in vocab, grammar, and activities. It also keeps score for you and tracks your speed, retention, and streaks. I wish I would have found out about this great resource sooner, it would have been a good guide throughout this whole process.

For my second video, I knew I wanted to learn something fun and relatable as I neared the end. I settled on slang. I realized that my regular sign language resources didn’t have anything about Sign Slang. I turned to my trusted friend YouTube and searched for anything about slang. This is when I came across Nyle Dimarco. He is a deaf activist as well as a model and actor, who has won Amerca’s Next Top Model and Dancing With the Stars. He makes entertaining YouTube videos about being deaf that helped me this week. I watched this video and was able to learn some internet terms that I will definitely be remembering.

Branching Out

This week I changed up the game. I actually left my little bubble of learning ASL by myself and found another classmate who was also learning ASL. After I built up the nerve to ask, Regan Luypaert came on board and helped me create a conversation in ASL.

This was a huge step for me because I had yet to communicate with someone who was on a similar learning experience as me. We created a script and practiced all week. Eventually, the video was made.

I used a plethora of websites in order to learn the script including:

Youtube

Sign School

Spread the Sign

LifePrint

Sign Savy

I am finding that creating sentences is easier as my vocabulary continues to grow. Special thanks to Regan for doing this video with me. I couldn’t have connected with someone learning sign language if it wasn’t for her.

 

The Pinterest Sign Lanuage Challenge

Over the course of the semester, my Pinterest had been filling up quickly with ASL related posts showing up on my feed. I was usually accustomed to the regular vegan recipe along with exercises for target areas, so I was getting slightly annoyed by all this extra ASL stuff showing up in my feed. This week I decided to embrace it. I incorporated my Pinterest and ASL and made a challenge for myself!

Rules:

  • I had to learn whatever popped up first in my feed
  • I didn’t get to look ahead of time
  • I learned to motions on the spot in front of a live recording that would not be edited
  • Film using Screencastify
  • Have fun

 

via GIPHY

 

This challenge allowed me to learn stuff that would not normally sit within a weekly category, as well as signs that I would not normally be learning outside of this video. This also allowed me to break from my boring routine and try learning ASL a different way.

As mentioned above I used Screencastify, which is an amazing chrome extension that allows you to film on your laptop with both you and your screen in the same picture. Check out my video below!

Winter Weather – Let’s Eat Together

This week I set out to learn how to sign some basic food and weather words. Little did I know I would learn much more than that in exploring ASL resources on the internet.

 

via GIPHY

 

To learn food I used an app called SignSchool. This free app provides dozens of different categories to learn from. Categories range from clothing to deaf culture. I can’t wait to explore the more abstract areas on this app as it will provide me with a better understanding of the language and the people who speak it. It also features a sign of the day, which encourages me to learn even on busy days when I will not have time to sit down an learn a dozen new signs in a row.

In order to learn signs for ‘weather’ I came across a free website called Dummies.com. It is an online extension of the famous book series “Blank for Dummies” which teaches anyone basically anything. In this case, this dummy was learning about the weather. Not only did a learn simple vocabulary, but the online article also provided sample sentences that could be used for weather vocabulary such as “It’s sunny outside”.

This was when I learned ASL does not follow English syntax. ASL uses fewer words and arranges words differently in a sentence.

 

via GIPHY

 

Aside from the epic mind boggle this week I managed to create this video:

Stay tuned for next week because I will be trying something a little different… possibly a challenge… possibly could go viral… Only time will tell.

Tickled Pink to be Learning Sign Language

I’m officially halfway through my ASL journey! WOOHOO! With that being said, I couldn’t be more proud of myself. I feel like my knowledge of this language is growing larger by the day. I can not wait for the next five weeks of this challenge to come and I will try my best to absorb all the sign language that I can in such a short amount of time.

via GIPHY

This week I turned to YouTube to learn emotions and colours. I found the cutest video of a little girl on the channel Smart Hands. She sings about the colours in Sign Language in such a memorable way that definitely helped me in remembering each colour. I also used a channel that I have been using for most of my learning called ASL THAT. Their straightforward tutorials allow for maximum learning in a short amount of time.

In order to learn emotions, I turned to YouTube channel FUNTASTIC TV – Kids Songs and Nursery Rhymes. As childish as the video Feelings Sign Review – American Sign Language was it was very helpful. The instructions were clear and the actions were much more animated and exciting to imitate.

Briefly, I experienced a moment of doubt in my signing. Upon reflecting, I realized I was really only learning from a singular source – YouTube. I felt that I was not utilizing the amazing resources at hand to learn ASL. It was in this mopey time that I found an amazing video that really inspired me to keep going, while also giving me ideas on how to learn ASL from different platforms and resources. Thank you to thedailysign, specifically her video How I’m Learning Sign Language for inspiring me to keep going on this journey and never giving up.

Thank you for all of the people out there providing resources that allow a newbie like me to learn ASL.