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special needs software
Visualize ASLVolume 1: Basic Vocabulary teaches over 450 vocabulary words in American Sign Language. The program helps users visualize American Sign Language, the video demonstration of each sign is accompanied by illustrations instead of English words. This encourages conceptual and critical thinking about the signs as well as English vocabulary.
From the main menu page, users can choose from 21 categories, each of which has between one and three sections. Each section contains a practice round and a quiz round. Once the “practice” or “quiz” is chosen, users watch the video of the model signing the word as many times as they’d like, then choose from one of four images to match the signed concept or word. In the “quiz” round, users only have one chance; during the “practice round” the user keeps guessing until they get the correct answer. At the end of the round the user can see how many correct and incorrect answers they got.
Demonstrations of American Sign Language signs are a vital part of learning the language, and Visualize ASL’s videos and interactive practice style help bring the language to life. Both signing models used in the videos are clear and expressive, in their hands and faces, and help the user conceptualize the vocabulary word. During the practice round, the user gets immediate feedback on their answer. If it’s correct, a star appears; if incorrect, a red x appears. At the end of the practice round users can see how many correct and incorrect answers they made.
During the quiz round, users do not get immediate feedback on their answers. They get one guess, then the quiz moves on to the next word. At the end of the quiz, users can see how many correct and incorrect answers they made – however, the user cannot review which questions they got right and which they got wrong, and what the correct answers are. This makes the practice round more useful as a learning tool, in this reviewer’s opinion.
Visualize ASL is appropriate for all ages. Users will enjoy the puzzle of playing the video, repeating it to themselves, and thinking critically about which item the sign could represent. The program really shines during categories like Animals and Furniture, when the videos clearly demonstrate the vocabulary word they represent. It may however lose users when they move on to the more conceptual vocabulary sections, like colors and family members. There are no written words, only images to match the signs, so some concepts are tricky.
Because the quiz round does not track correct and incorrect answers as mentioned above, some users may feel they aren’t learning the vocabulary as much as they’d like. In addition, the program does not track which sections you’ve already completed, which would help boost Visualize ASL’s kid appeal.
Visualize ASL is extremely easy to use. The program does not have to be installed on the user’s computer; instead it runs from the user’s CD drive at all times.
The navigation is straightforward and very intuitive, and there’s no need to refer to the manual to use it. The program is organized into sections based on category of vocabulary, like food, furniture or animals. Getting a correct or incorrect answer is also self-explanatory: a correct answer earns a star, and an incorrect answer earns a red x. Kids could easily use Visualize ASL on their own. The program may be a little bit advanced for someone with no experience with ASL, but other than that anyone who can use a computer can use Visualize ASL.
Visualize ASL is a great option for anyone interested in improving their American Sign Language vocabulary. Kids who have learned a bit of American Sign Language before – say, kids who know how to sign the alphabet – will like this program the most.
PC: Windows XP or Vista, 128MB RAM, CD-ROM, QuickTime 7.2 (included).return to top of page
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