About Signing Savvy

The video above outlines some of the features and goals of Signing Savvy. To turn on video captions click the "CC" in the playback bar.

THE SIGNING SAVVY STORY

Signing Savvy is a labor of love from a small group of educators striving to provide easy-to-use American Sign Language (ASL) learning tools.

When we first started working on Signing Savvy, the most commonly used reference for American Sign Language was ASL books with images that sometimes included arrows to indicate movement. Although printed dictionaries are a great reference option for other spoken languages, they are lacking for ASL since it is a visual language. Still images on a printed page don’t adequately represent all the parts of a sign - handshape, location, palm orientation, movement, and non-manual markers. We wanted to create an online video dictionary of signs to make learning ASL more accessible.

Ninety percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, which means that the majority of deaf children have parents with little or no exposure to American Sign Language. Our goal was simply to try and decrease the barriers between hearing parents and access to sign language. We wanted to create a resource to make it easy for parents to look up signs on the fly. We still hope today that hearing parents of deaf children will learn sign language, sign at home, and explore resources in their community for connecting their children with deaf friends and deaf role models.

We specifically designed word lists, with teachers of the deaf and the parents and students they work with in mind. We wanted teachers to be able to build word lists of signs they could share with parents and students to help bridge the gap between home and school. We hoped this would make it easier for teachers to communicate what was being learned in school and for parents to learn and review signs with their children. We hoped parents with deaf children would also use word lists to share vocabulary with other family, friends, and caregivers, encouraging more people in the deaf child’s life to sign.

From providing tips, answering Q&As, discussing nuances between signs, and sharing ideas for increasing literacy, we have added and continue to add articles to help support sign language learning for parents, students, teachers, and interpreters. We also help educate on Deaf culture by sharing biographies about people who are hard of hearing and deaf and other deaf culture topics.

We also understood the frustration of learning a new language and how difficult it can be to learn ASL when you see a sign demonstrated just once, such as in a high school or university course where you only meet in-person a few hours per week. So we added the ability to practice and study using our quizzing and digital flash card features. We hoped students (or their teachers) would create Signing Savvy word lists to go along with each lesson so students could then review vocabulary, watching a sign as many times as they need to, and quizzing themselves until they recognize the meaning of signs on sight. We believe Signing Savvy is a great tool for improving receptive signing and is a good resource for providing a model for practicing expressive signing. Our goal has always been to create sign language resources to help people feel more confident in their signing so they use their signing skills in their lives through signing with others.

It saddens us when we hear people lack in-person resources in their local community, so we added our Savvy tutoring and chat features to help bridge the gap. From the grandma that wants to sign with her grandson to the interpreter needing a little extra tutoring, we connect people to one of the native signers on our team to help them practice and improve their skills.

Through the guidance of our advisory board and feedback from our users, we continue to add features to Signing Savvy. From quizzing tools specifically for practicing fingerspelling and numbers, to more and more examples of full ASL sentences, we are always working to make Signing Savvy the most comprehensive learning resource for American Sign Language.

Signing Savvy started as a passion to increase accessibility of ASL learning tools for parents of deaf children and students learning ASL, but has grown to include many different learning tools and features to serve the millions of people interested in learning more about the beautiful language of ASL.

MEET OUR TEAM

The Signing Savvy Team is made up of our Leadership Team, Sign Language Advisory Board Members, article authors, staff, and consultants. The team is a blend of sign language experts and experts in technology. We work with a wide range of people from across the United States and Canada who are passionate about using and teaching American Sign Language - from teachers to parents, administrators of early childhood programs, and interpreters - deaf, hard of hearing, hearing, parents of deaf and hard of hearing children, children of deaf adults. Our goal is to work with people with various backgrounds and experience to provide a wide range of advice and expertise.

Our team also includes you and other people, like you, that use Signing Savvy. We are always making improvements to Signing Savvy’s content and adding new features based on feedback from our users. So if you see an issue or have suggestion, please be part of our team and let us know!


Signing Savvy was chosen as 1 of 15 businesses in the state of Michigan to be featured in a webisode through the PBS program, START UP. Watch the Pure Michigan / Michigan Economic Development Corporation video on Signing Savvy. To turn on video captions click the "CC" in the playback bar.

Additional questions?

If you have any additional questions, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for answers or visit the contact us page.

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