In a world rich with diverse ways of communication, sign language stands out as a profound means of connecting with others, transcending the barriers of sound and speech. Understanding and using sign language, particularly American Sign Language (ASL), opens up new dimensions of interaction and inclusivity.
It’s not just about forming words and sentences with our hands; it’s about embracing an entire culture, understanding a different mode of expression, and bridging the gap between the hearing and the deaf communities.
Whether you’re a parent seeking to support a child’s communication skills, a teacher aiming to create a more inclusive classroom, a person with hearing impairments looking to engage more fully with the world, or simply someone interested in learning a beautifully expressive language, the journey into sign language is both noble and enriching.
Recognizing the importance and the transformative power of this journey, a plethora of apps have been developed to make learning sign language engaging, accessible, and effective. This post delves into some of the best apps for teaching and learning sign language, focusing particularly on American Sign Language (ASL). Each app is designed with unique features to cater to various learning needs and styles, offering video lessons, interactive games, review exercises, and ample practice opportunities to elevate your sign language skills to new heights.
Best Apps to Learn Sign Language
Here are our picks for the best apps to learn sign language
1. The ASL App
The ASL App helps you learn conversational ASL in easy and intuitive ways using video lessons. The app offers educational resources to help with learning phrases and signs covering various topics including: pop culture, social medial, sports, education, family signs, celebration signs, colors, country name signs, signs related to time, signs related to natural environment, signs and phrases related to food, dining signs, signs related to looks, and many more.
2. ASL Dictionary
ASL Dictionary contains is a comprehensive American Sign Language video dictionary. It contains over 5200 signed words, over 700 multiple meaning words signed, and 473 idioms translated. Using ASL Dictionary can enable people with hearing problems easily translate English into ASL.
The dictionary also features signs for common English phrases, numerical system, time, dates, and more. ASL Dictionary does not require Internet connection. Once installed, you can access videos offline.
3. Hands On ASL
Hands Ona ASL is an educational app that helps users learn the basics of communication using American Sign Language. More specifically, the app helps users practice their fingerspelling using 3D models and game style quizzes.
The 3D models can be easily zoomed and rotated allowing learners to see the hand shapes from various perspectives. Users can access over 26 hand signs to learn and review alphabet. They can also customize hand with unique skin tones.
Compatibility: iOS / Price: Free- offers in-app purchases / Age: 4+
4. ASL Translator
ASL Translator is a sign language app that offers two main services: a text to sign translation which enables users to translate English into ASL signs, and ASL phrases which help users learn how to sign ASL idioms and phrases. ASL Translator contains over 30,000 words and over 14000 idioms and phrases.
The app also supports translation of entire books, emails, documents, and more. ‘Type a sentence, or cut and paste text into the text box and see the video translation in real time. (up to 50 words at a time).’
5. ASL Fingerspelling Practice
As its name indicates, ASL Fingerspelling Practice sign language learners practice their ASL fingerspelling skills. The app offers two modes: a Receptive ode which enables learners to watch words fingerspelled before they practice typing them, and an Expressive mode in which learners practice fingerspelling words displayed on the screen.
Compatibility: iOS / Price: Free / Age: 9+
6. ASL American Sign Language
ASL American Sign Language helps users communicate using ASL. Besides learning alphabets A-Z and numbers 1-100, the app also offers sogned commonly used phrases in conversations and vocabulary, ASL history, facts and figures about ASL, and more.
Other features provided include: a picture matching game to play ASL words and numbers, 100 basic signs with video covering topics such as family, place, and time, and many more.
Lingvano helps users learn American Sign Language (ASL) through interactive lessons and dialogs. Lingvano also offers an integrated dictionary for American Sign Language that enables users to search for any sign or sentence.
Using the app’s sign mirror users can confidently practice signing the right way. ASL lessons are provided by teachers who ‘are Deaf and share a strong passion for teaching Sign Languages.’
8. ASL Kids
ASL Kids is an interesting sign language app designed specifically for young learners. The app helps yougnsters learn ti siugn throygh video content provided by other kids. Resources provieed by ASL Kids include interactive quiz games, fingerspelling, 50 free signs, clickable visuals and images, educational videos, and many more.
‘The app is kid-proof and was designed to be used without the help of an adult. There are no external links or ads, so no internet connection is needed to work the app.’
SignSchool helps users learn American Sign Language at their own pace. The app offers an integrated dictionary that contains thousands of signs from various dialects and group of signers. Users can browse tons of sign categories covering various topics.
They can also use miltiple choice games to reinforce and review their learned materials and play with SignBuilder to build their ASL vocabulary.
Embarking on the journey of learning sign language opens up a new realm of communication, understanding, and connection. The apps we’ve explored are bridges that connect individuals, communities, and cultures. They embody the spirit of inclusivity, ensuring that the beauty of sign language and the richness of Deaf culture are accessible to all.
For parents, teachers, and students alike, these sign language learning apps offer more than just lessons; they offer a path to a world where everyone is heard and understood. They remind us that language transcends sound, that communication is as visual and expressive as it is auditory. By integrating video lessons, interactive games, and comprehensive practice exercises, these apps ensure that the journey of learning sign language is engaging, effective, and deeply rewarding.