Today, I have had the opportunity to play with the Vcom3D program, Sign Smith (30-day dowload). Basically, you select an avatar from the list, then insert or type your text into the "text" box. You can cut and paste your text into the signing component and your avatar comes to life. Initially, there was no facial expression and it signs word for word of your text. I had to go in and individually modify facial expressions, grammatacal cues (i.e., head tilt, eye gaze) and eliminate non ASL words. But, after a few modifications, it was ready to go. It does save as a very large .avi file, so I actually spent more time converting the file to MP4, so I could post it below (I hope this works). It took me a while to get adjusted to the program. It is definately not one of those, plug and play activities. Read the manual for clear instructions on how to create a video file. However, once I read the beginning of the manual, I was able to figure out other features of the program just by playing a bit with my creation. I was having so much fun, I didn't realize how much time I had spent creating a short 2 min video! I love the concept of this program. However, it was a bit time consuming to make a video. I am trying to come up with some ideas of how to utilize this program with students to support English/ASL development. Primarily, I believe it would be a great tool for ME to use as a teacher to perhaps translate stories and have students practice "reading" the stories via ASL and English together. I'm gonna keep working on this one. Feel free to leave your experiences and comments below. And....enjoy the short video clip!

Views: 230

Tags: deaf education, instructional technology, signing avatar

Comment by Harry Wood on May 20, 2010 at 9:05am
I've seen this. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I haven't tried to use it yet. Off the top of my head....

Pros: type in any word to be signed, accessible,

Cons: avatar (vs a real person video of self), costs, the time involved in making it (based on your post Michelle)

Maybe its tougher when breaking the trail. Once everything's been put into place, could it increase the desire of people wanting to use it? Remains to be seen. Then again, couldn't you do the same with video? I don't know about others, but I prefer the real thing to a cartoon/avatar.
Comment by Michelle Sumner on May 20, 2010 at 9:55am
It is VERY expensive program, so would have to be used intensively and provide a lot of positive improvement for DHH, I thought it was really time consuming, but can see how it would help in some instances. On the website they have a few activities for incorporating its use into PP and IWB activities via single vocab which wouldn't be as time consuming, but for $2900?? I would have to agree...I would prefer to videotape myself! And...there are so many signing dictionaries on line now. Have you checked out
Comment by Harry Wood on May 20, 2010 at 1:55pm
I did show this to some of my students in school. They really liked it compared to earlier versions. One student even had downloaded the iTunes app already for her phone and uses it for English words she doesn't recognize. Says she likes it. Other students didn't know -- they will look into it. I encouraged them to do so - gives them another way to learn English.

If they could use their phone for this purpose, then I would embrace it! However, campus rules currently do not permit students to use phones during school hours.

While I like the fact there are many signing dictionaries out there, I usually have to try 3 or 4 different ones before I find a particular sign I like, so it can be a little time consuming. But this is better than nothing.

What's supposed to happen on the right side frame in that link you sent me? I'm not sure it works appropriately at school -- will try at home later tonight and get back to you on that.
Comment by Michelle Sumner on May 20, 2010 at 5:00pm
It is basically a signing dictionary. You type in a word and they give you the sign. I haven't used it much, they do a science site too where whole concepts are signed and explained. Still very basic compared to what is out there in the "hearing" world in comparison. I didn't know Vcom3d had a iPhone app, I will have to see if I can find it. Thakns for the info.
Comment by Harry Wood on May 21, 2010 at 7:10am
Yeah, they had a iTunes app --- I believe it was $10.


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