App of the Week: VL2 Storybooks
(4 ASL Storybook Apps that are pretty awesome!)
I love a good story and when it’s done right in ASL, it’s absolutely beautiful! I thought I’d share one of my favorite apps (actually there are 4 apps but all are from the same place).
These storybook apps were created by VL2 (Visual Language and Visual Learning), a Science and Learning Center based at Gallaudet University, ‘the world’s only university with programs and services specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students’.*
These apps are interactive, using content based ASL signs (which is very important! One sign doesn’t fit every meaning for the same English word); include a comprehensive glossary of words used within the story; and are rich with color! Not only that, these apps are designed based on proven research in bilingualism and visual learning. I love them! (My kids love them too!)
Each of these 4 apps include the option to watch the story (narrator on the story background), have the story text at the bottom with narrator on screen, and include ASL vocabulary used in the story (and beautiful expansions of those words).
Now, for those in more advanced stages of learning sign or even working to become an interpreter, I think these videos could be of great value to you, as well. You will find their use of classifiers, facial expressions, use of space and many other ASL components are amazing to watch and would be useful in mirroring and expounding on in your own practice. Not only that, the ‘Watch’ section of the apps give you a beautiful opportunity to practice voicing.
Anyways, check out these 4 beautiful storybook apps! ….
In ASL, “I *heart* ASL Stories” would look like this: “ASL Stories Kiss-Fist!” … That means I REALLY love ASL stories! … SMILES!
*Gallaudet description: Quoted from their website.
**P.S. My opinion/warning regarding ASL apps: It really is tough to find ASL apps that I would trust my family to. Sure, there are some ASL apps out there (and I’ll share some other ones at a later time) that I believe use (or teach signs) with accuracy and effectively, four of which are these VL2 apps. But there are several apps that are very poor, that I believe either do not sign with accuracy or teach ASL poorly. That’s the unfortunate part of having anything at your fingertips. No one has to be ‘qualified’ just money to fork the app costs. And then those who buy the app suffer. Even more so, the Deaf suffer by having to try and piece together the inaccurate ASL, which man not necessarily be at the fault of the user! You just have to know which apps are good and trustworthy and go with those! So, there you have it. ….Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Ha.