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American Sign Language Media Development Lab

Research and Field Work

The American Sign Language Media Development Laboratory

Are you excited about the prospect of enhancing American Sign Language instruction in schools? Would you enjoy applying groundbreaking technology to your work with deaf and hard of hearing students? Then you’ll want to join the efforts at SFA’s American Sign Language Media Development Laboratory.

The Media Development Laboratory is dedicated to developing interactive media to improve the educational opportunities for all students with auditory disabilities. Here, you’ll work alongside your professors and your fellow students in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program on two specific focuses.

  1. Research: The lab generates media and software needed for researching and improving teacher preparation programs, ASL instruction and materials available to deaf and hard of hearing students. Media formats include video, images and 3D animations.
  2. Service: The lab has produced materials currently being used to enhance American Sign Language courses. Additional materials will be released for use in deaf education classrooms for the benefit of deaf and hard of hearing children.

Lab goals and objectives

The short-term goals of the Media Development Laboratory include:

  • Developing media and study enhancement software for all American Sign Language courses.
  • Creating a usable and accessible set of instructor tools, enabling instructors to use this software for assessment and data collection.
  • Drafting promotional materials for recruiting Deaf and Hard of Hearing majors.
  • Distributing study resources to American Sign Language and Deaf Education classes.

The lab also works toward the following long-term goals:

  • Developing and testing software for use with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in public school settings.
  • Developing and testing media and software for children with other disabilities.
  • Marketing software and media developed in the laboratory.

As a student in a Deaf and Hard of Hearing program, you have access to some amazing American Sign Language learning tools that the Media Development Laboratory has developed. You can also participate in some groundbreaking research and development to advance our field.  

American Sign Language acquisition software

As Adobe Shockwave became less popular, it became increasingly difficult for students to use the American Sign Language StudyTool. The software developer made the decision to switch to a fully online software application with built-in video functions that uses PHP to access a MySQL database of videos and answers.

The Media Development Laboratory introduced ASLxpress in 2014 to promote rapid acquisition, as items you already know are removed from your study list. It features both expressive and receptive modes, as well as the ability to time your response time, as you practice fingerspelling, numbers, sentences, classifier and narrative categories.

As technology continues to advance, we are working to enhance the Teacher Tools to allow teachers to upload videos, record videos directly in American Sign Language express, create new quizzes and new units, copy content to a new course and send grades to D2L.


Department of Education Studies
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Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center
Room 209

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 13017, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962