Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Clerc Center Digital Video Project Web Site

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet University

Digital Video Project Web Site Found at:

This web site contains digital video created by students from the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center and was developed through a project intended to assist the students in developing certain literacy skills. The project was broken into five part, with each part containing video signed by students in these areas of interest: digital dictionary, idiom digital dictionary, multiple meaning digital dictionary, math stories, and ASL poetry and stories. The digital video dictionary was created in 2000 by a group of third, fourth and fifth grade students who were taking a bilingual approach to literacy development. They created a Digital Video Dictionary that included pictures, English words, signs, fingerspelling, ASL sentences, and English sentences. In order to make the dictionary students used multimedia technology such as text, graphics, and video clips. Through the making of the digital dictionary students were able to improve their vocabulary, reading, and writing skills. Similar to the Digital Video Dictionary, another group of students created an Idiom Digital Dictionary. English idioms often produce confusion for deaf and hard of hearing students because these students are not native speakers of the language and ASL has its own forms of idioms. Therefore, the students explored this use of language by creating digital video sentences and stories that used idioms. The English sentence is seen on the screen with the idiom highlighted in red. Video is available of the students signing the ASL translation of the sentence and idiom. Option number three on this web site deals with multiple meanings of words, which is yet another difficult area for these students. Students created multiple meaning stories from various English words. The stories are written in English, the multiple meaning word is highlighted in red, and viewers have the option of clicking on the word for further explanation of its sign in ASL. Although on initial viewing, the fourth category, math stories, looks as though it has little to do with literacy, it actually presents a wonderful, innovative way at combining math and language arts. Students created math word problems, wrote them in English, and then signed them in ASL in the form of stories. This allowed the teacher to address language barriers many deaf and hard of hearing students have in solving math word problems while at the same time providing them with opportunities to write. Finally, the last section of the web site contains ASL stories and poems as written and signed by students. This is a great way to provide students with opportunities to enjoy literature, because they are expressing themselves in their native language. The benefits of this section seem to be similar to those found within the American Sign Language Literature: ASL Quest web site posted and discussed previously.

Overall, I see great benefits in not only the web site itself, but the ideas it presents. Technically speaking, the web site video is somewhat difficult to view and understand (it is somewhat fuzzy or "jerky"). However, the ideas presented within the activities completed by the students on this site would be easy to reproduce in one's own classroom. All you would really need is a digital video camera and access to web space (which any school should have). All five of the areas discussed produce great ways for deaf and hard of hearing students to develop literacy in meaningful and interactive ways. It is much more enjoyable for a student to write something they know will be videotaped and reproduced for others to see, besides the classroom teacher. My experience has led me to believe that many times deaf and hard of hearing students lack opportunities to deal with language in meaningful context. Many teachers use drill and practice methods to assist students in understanding and learning the grammar of English, but the ideas presented on this web site show that students can learn from authentic experiences with language as well. Furthermore, grammar could be addressed through out the development of the digital video projects through editting and writing conferences prior to filming. In a well organized and "community like" classroom this could also provide collaborative opportunities for students to learn to work in groups. Students could discuss what words to choose to add to the digital dictionary each week (I believe it should be an ongoing project all year, not just a one time deal), they could present their stories to their classmates prior to filming for constructive suggestions, and they could decide which idioms to focus on at given points in time. Deaf and hard of hearing students are often naturally expressive and social, therefore creating digital video projects like the one's discussed on this web site would allow students to access literacy skills through activities they deem interesting and important. Furthermore, if they are on the web they could be accessed by students at home for use with family and friends and the digital dictionary could be used as a nice source for teaching family members that do not know how to sign various words and their meanings.

Generally speaking I believe the web site listed above is extremely beneficial for students to view, but I feel it is even more beneficial for the potential it has with sparking ideas within the classroom. Any teacher, with a little time and effort, could recreate some form of the projects discussed on this web site, which would provide deaf and hard of hearing students with opportunities to work on literacy skills and translation skills (English to ASL and vice versa). However, before posting such video on the web I would look into how to make it so the picture is clearer for the viewer. The ones posted on this web site vary in their degree to be clearly seen and understood, and I feel this drastically decreases its effectiveness for the viewer (but not necessarily for the student who created the digital video). However, I feel the activities and projects discussed on this web site have the potential to allow teachers to address key issues in literacy development of deaf and hard of hearing students such as vocabulary development, understanding of multiple meaning words, use of figurative language in both languages (how it varies and how it is the same), and the use of authentic ASL literature.


At 3:47 PM, Blogger mason said...

Wonderful Blog.
Thanks for all the information and for putting up a useful site.
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