Common Sense Review
Updated February 2013

ASL Sign Language

Little help to learn even the ASL alphabet basics
Common Sense Rating 2
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 2
  • Instructions for using the ASL American Sign Language explain the minimal settings and refer to numbers that don’t appear in the app.
  • ASL flashcard shows the sign for the letter o.
  • ASL flashcard shows the sign for the letter r.
  • ASL flashcard shows the sign for the letter g.
Pros
If you want to learn the ASL alphabet, you'll probably be able to.
Cons
You can't quiz yourself, and you can't learn any other sign language.
Bottom Line
Digital sign language flashcards teach ABCs, but no words or phrases.
Graphite Staff
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 1

Each flashcard has a black-and-white drawing of the ASL hand position, the written letter, and audio. You get no videos, animations, or games. You can't really quiz yourself.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

Digital flashcards teach the ASL alphabet, although simple words would be more practical for communication.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 1

The instructions refer to numbers, but there aren't any in the app. Quiz mode has no tracking or scoring, and it simply waits to say the letter, although it leaves the written letter on-screen, so you can't quiz yourself.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Students could pair up and quiz each other, with the quizzer (or the device) saying the letter, the other student forming the sign, and the quizzer checking the screen to see if it looks right. For students using the app individually, though, there’s not much more to do than scroll through the flashcards, view the signs, and practice forming them.

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What's It Like?

Once you get past the opening screen in ASL American Sign Language, flashcards get loaded automatically. Each card features a black-and-white drawing of the ASL sign for a letter, with the letter printed beneath it. As each flashcard comes up, a voice speaks the letter. 

A small icon in the lower-right corner of each flashcard brings you to the settings, where you'll find a quiz mode and sound options. You can share the app with a friend, read some pretty basic and sometimes inaccurate instructions, and rate the app in Google Play.

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Is It Good For Learning?

ASL American Sign Language is too limited in both size and scope. It doesn't teach you any words or phrases. It only tries to teach you the alphabet, and even that's confusing. And except for the arrows with J and Z, there's no information about how to form the signs, whether students should mirror the illustrations, which hand to use, or if it matters. In quiz mode, the audio recording of the letter gets delayed until you tap the screen. However, the written letter remains on the screen, so you can't really quiz yourself. Beginners who just need a basic, straightforward way to learn the ASL alphabet will get that with this free, ad-supported app, but it's really just a set of flashcards, and that's not very engaging. 

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