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Exploring ASL

 

Hands On; Innovating ASL Education through interaction and play

How can we innovate the education of American Sign Language? How might we make kids want to learn? By examining how children learn through interaction, we may begin to answer these questions and discover the intersection between learn and play. The mission of this thesis is to confront our nation's lack of ASL instruction in elementary education and to demonstrate how a child's every interaction with design is key in their sensory processing and cognitive development of language. Thus, I aim to innovate ASL education— enhancing it with color, dimensionality, and excitement; with the hopes that this might inspire a future generation of ASL users. The designs of this thesis involve interactive tactile structures located in a playground environment, encouraging fun and play. Learning ASL will now become a process of hands-on exploration and more appealing to our youth. Elementary ASL signs will be thoughtfully and creatively merged with known symbols, giving more life to static signs and able to be recognized and learned by way of observation, interaction, exploration, association, and critical thinking.

Ultimately, this envisioned playground design aims to provide children with an innovative and interactive way to discover ASL; allowing this language to become more widely known and recognized as an important form of communication in the United States.