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Collection: Video and Captioning

purple arrow (1137 bytes) Project HandsOn: Interactive Video for Bilingual ASL/English Instruction of Deaf Children

REFERENCES: Hanson, V.L. & Padden, C.A. (1989). Interactive video for bilingual ASL/English instruction of deaf children, American Annals of the Deaf, 134, 209-213.

Hanson, V.L. & Padden, C.A. (1990). Computers and videodisc technology for bilingual ASL/English instruction of deaf children. In D. Nix and R. Spiro (eds.), Cognition, education and multimedia: Exploring ideas in high-technology, pp 49-63. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

CONTEXT: Until very recently, schools and programs for deaf children were not likely to recognize that competence in ASL might be a viable tool for teaching deaf children about English. In considering a bilingual approach to instruction for deaf students, challenges and questions arise. For example, How is English to be represented, manually or in text? and How should the two languages be used jointly as part of a concerted instructional approach? The advent of videodisc technology allows one to address these issues about a bilingual ASL/English instructional approach in a new way. The technology not only makes it possible to present signed material and written text alternately, with the ability to switch easily and rapidly between ASL and written text, but also affords a novel possibility not otherwise available in real life: to juxtapose the two simultaneously.

DESCRIPTION: The HandsOn system is designed to teach written aspects of English to deaf students whose first language is American Sign Language. The system uses interactive video for student-directed language learning. With the implementation of HandsOn, the authors were able to examine theoretically different modes of presentation and different types of juxtapositions. Initially the experimental program was targetted to upper elementary children, those who have basic reading skills; however, teachers of younger students began using the program, too, especially "Watch a Story," which is an ASL-only component.

One videodisc contains three stories signed in ASL by Carol Padden, a third-generation signer of ASL: "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "A Story of the American Revolution," and "J.J. Flournoy's Idea for a Deaf State." A second disc contains science topics.

Children can choose to watch a story in ASL, read the story in English, answer questions about the story, write their own story, and caption a story. Students may select these options in any order they wish. Each mode is described below.

Watch a Story: The video appears full screen and in full motion. Students can watch from beginning to end, or repeat or skip segments.

Read a Story: Students can alternate between the English and ASL version of the story. It is the same as "watch a story," except that the student has the option to go to the text at any time. From there, the student can continue reading text or go back to the sign.

Answer Questions about a Story: With this option, the computer asks questions in English, which students answer by typing in English. They can go back and refer to the ASL at any time. Feedback regarding the students' answers are provided in sign, such as "Good," or '"Is it hard? Watch the story again."

Write a Story: This option allows students to write a paper, as assigned by the teacher. It uses a simple word processor.

Caption a Story: The student writes English captions for ASL segments, one at a time. The segments and captions can then be saved and played back in sequence either right away or at a later date.

Outcomes/Reflections: Students worked both individually and in pairs. When they worked in pairs, they interacted constantly. They also worked well independently and enjoyed using the system. The teachers role primarily was to provide vocabulary help and to correct sign errors when the students would sign along with the story.

"Answer Questions" was the most popular option among the students, probably due to its interactively. "Watch a Story," an option the researchers expected to be popular because the students' comprehension would be superior in ASL, was used less often than expected, probably due to its lack of interactivity.

HandsOn was under development when these two articles were written. It is in use, with the existing videodiscs described above, in several schools around the country, but new videodiscs are not being developed.

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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