SOFTWARE / SHAREWARE REVIEWS
HyperSign is a multimedia program designed to teach American Sign Language for the hearing impaired, featuring a 2000 word dictionary for the adult level. Users of all ages have found this program easy to use and a valuable learning tool.
It is also a useful teacher's resource for those who work with the hearing impaired who wish to develop or increase their signing skills. The user can select any word or phrase and click on 'Play' to see a video of its American Sign Language (ASL) sign. Words are grouped by categories and each word in the children's dictionary is accompanied by a 'picture communication symbol' (PCS). This feature is designed for non-readers or poor readers, and can work well with all age groups.
The easily recognizable graphic representation, the printed word and the equivalent sign make it a useful reading tool for deaf literacy students.
HyperSign contains special sections on finger-spelling, common phrases and basic ASL rules and conventions. The program also features games and activities, including Tic Tac Toe, the Match Game and a Crossword Puzzle. Each time the games are played they feature different vocabulary.
The visuals and videos are clear and easily identifiable, the directions easy to follow and there is an online help option. A HyperSign teacher's edition is available and the product can be ordered online or by contacting email@example.com This program is also included in the AlphaPlus list of resources.
FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS
The Demon Series & Merit's Paragraph Punch
There are many low-cost shareware programs online which can be used with adult students. One series, by Merit Audiovisual, features several grammar, reading and writing programs which could be used for ABE classes.
Writing Demons is a multiple-choice program designed to help students recognize common problems ("Demons") in writing. Students are presented with a sentence or short text which has four highlighted sections. One of the highlighted items is a grammar error, such as a sentence fragment or punctuation problem, etc. The student must select the correct answer. If the answer is incorrect, the computer will show the right answer with an explanation. There are three sets of texts, beginning with texts suitable for low to average students, up to students with fairly good writing skills. The complete set contains 400 texts. Each version contains tracking, bookmarking and record-keeping features. Students and instructors find the program easy to use, but because of its repetitious design, it should only be used for short periods of time to prevent the students from becoming bored with the program. Students in this program found 15 to 20 minutes enough time for each session. The full version of Writing Demons is $79.00 (US).
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