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Receptive ASL Practice in an Online class:

An ASL teacher writes:
"I have a question for you. I have had a number of students ask me about more receptive skills practice. Due to the pandemic, our ASL Club isn't hosting events like they usually would, and therefore my students aren't getting as much receptive practice with different people as they normally would. I was wondering what kinds of things you have your students do to get extra receptive practice.
Thank you!"

The LMS (Learning Management System) at the University where I teach (for my "day job") has a built in "assign peer reviews" option. 
This semester I assigned my students to each create and upload 10 different videos of themselves signing (based on the lessons).  The day after each video is due the system automatically assigns each student two random classmates to review.  When doing the review students are to keep the reviews 100% positive. If they notice signing that they feel is "wrong" they are to provide feedback by using a phrase such as:  "You might want to take a look at this video clip and note the handshape..." (or the movement or the position, etc.) and then include a link to a video clip of "me" or some other expert (such as Jolanta of Handspeak or the various folks at SpreadtheSign) doing the sign.
To find clips of me doing the sign students can use one of these search engines:
1. For desktop search:
2. For mobile search:
Or if they can't find an example of me signing it they can email me and ask me to create a new clip of the concept (so they can use it in their feedback for other students).

Thus students get receptive practice watching their classmates sign lesson-related material as well as getting feedback from their peers based not on their peers opinions but rather based on actual clips of their instructor (or specified other ASL experts).  Note: The students do not grade the other student's videos. They simply watch and provide a bit of feedback.  Knowing that their videos will be watched by other students tends to result in a significant upward shift in effort and signing quality.

Other materials:

There are a number of "extra" videos in the official ASLU YouTube master playlist that students can use for receptive practice.  Currently the playlist has several hundred videos:

Students of any level may enjoy watching the "Find Out" curriculum series:

Students may use a query such as: (on a desktop browser not on mobile) to discover a list of existing stories and various other practice-type videos in the Lifeprint instructional series).

Skill set:
Effective receptive practice in today's world can often be helped by knowing and using keyboard shortcuts while viewing Youtube videos of signers.

Serious students of ASL need to know how to control the YouTube video player in order to benefit the most from the time they invest watching videos.  It helps to watch the videos on a desktop or laptop internet browser with a full-size keyboard and use keyboard shortcuts such as:


To play or pause a video click on the spacebar.

To jump backward 5 seconds use the "left arrow" key.

While the video is paused, move to the next frame by pressing the period key "."

While the video is paused, go back to the previous frame by pressing the comma key ","

Speed up the video playback rate by pressing SHIFT and "." (which is how you type ">")

Slow down the video playback rate by pressing SHIFT and "," (which is how you type "<")

To go full screen press "f"  (to escape, press "f" again or use the "escape" key.
To mute or unmute a video click on the letter "m"

To activate or hide closed captions and subtitles if available press "c"

Another skill that ASL students should know is how to press the "alt" key and the "print screen" key to do a "screen grab" -- which is useful for providing examples and feedback.

Yet another skill is that of knowing how to right click on a video (such as one of the videos at "spreadthesign" and choose "copy video address" -- thus empowering a student to have a specific web address for any particular video clip from certain sites that don't have easily copyable video addresses in the address bar. A related skill is right clicking (or clicking and holding for "Apple" computers) on various links and choosing "open in new tab" as a way to break out of some restrictive windows or pages.

Deaf News:
Using captioning and keyboard shortcuts to pause and jump back a few seconds there is absolutely no shortage of online receptive practice material available to students that is easily findable by simply doing an internet search for "Deaf news." Students can with a bit of searching can easily find Deaf news stories that are captioned.  A student can watch a captioned news story with the captions and then re-watch the same story without the captions to get receptive practice with comprehensible input.  If the student misses a concept, the student can back-up and watch it again with "captions."  Often that will "clear up" the meaning of any particular sign.  If the student still has doubts or questions the student can use a search function such as:

Or simply use any search engine to type in the term ASL plus the term they want to see in sign language and the switch to the "videos" tab of the results list.





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