STEM ASL Video Dictionary Promo

The STEM signs dictionary project is
to create a resource so that people who want to know the
signs in American Sign Language to match specific discipline terms in
the STEM areas have a place to go to find those
signs. It is being supported by DeafTEC, which is the technological education center for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and also by the Dow Chemical Corporation. The STEM signs dictionary came about
because there is no authoritative and thorough resource where people can go and find
signs for the very technical terms and
disciplines. This resource is designed for a few
groups of people; one is teachers who teach with American
Sign Language and have presumably a certain amount of
expertise in both American Sign Language ASL and the discipline of course. But they may still lack knowledge
of some of the signs that can be used for some of this very technical vocabulary. It’s also designed
for interpreters. Many interpreters, although they have ASL proficiency, are not often familiar with the actual technical terminology. It’s a real job for them to get themselves up to speed to interpret these things smoothly in
the classroom. Another group of course is the students,
the deaf students themselves who are in these classes, because it gives them a resource both in how to sign these terms and also
because of the way the ASL and English are translated back and forth, the sign can help them understand actually what it means. Also, many deaf students receive out of
classroom help from tutors. This happens a great deal in
community colleges and in high schools. These tutors may or may not have good
ASL skills and they may or may not have knowledge
of the discipline that is much greater than the student that they’re working with, so this also gives them a great resource
to go to. For the user, the experience will be like
this: on the left hand side of the screen will be a list of all the terms that we have included
for that particular discipline. You click on one of the words, and a video box shows up and inside that
video box is a video of a person signing that term with American Sign Language and then also giving you the definition of that term. And then, if you choose, you click on
another button, and then a sentence will appear there
and it will provide that particular vocabulary item in
sentence level context. And that gives both a little bit of
an indication of how it might be used in a real situation, and it also helps
flesh out the meaning of that particular term by putting it in a sentence. My vision for this whole project into the
future is that it will wind up being a resource for ASL terminology in any discipline that anybody needs to know the signs for. Understanding of course, that the vocabulary any language is always
changing, especially with the STEM and
technological disciplines, those vocabulary items change all the time. This will require pretty consistent updating but that’s part of the process when you create a dictionary, when you create a language resource you have to
accept always that it’s going to keep changing into the future.

Daniel Ostrander

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