Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco's Sunlake High students use Skype to hone American Sign Language skills

LAND O'LAKES

Tuesday, 8 a.m.

It's a regular date of sorts between students in Rhonda Leslie's first-period American Sign Language class at Sunlake High and a group of hearing-impaired students in another classroom at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.

It's an ongoing relationship that began last year when Leslie took her students on a field trip to the St. Augustine residential school. For about a month now, these students on opposite coasts have been sidling up to Apple Notebook computers every Tuesday morning for a little face-to-face conversation via the Internet telephone and videophone software application Skype.

"It's mostly small talk," said Elaina Graham, 16, who spent much of the class period signing alongside classmate, Roxanne Null, 16. "Mostly just things like where they are from, what they do in school — sports — things like that."

Invariably the conversation wanders some, as Rebecca Hisamoto, 16, Gabriella Texidor, 16, Desiree Daluz, 16, and Madison Zimmerman, 17, found out during last week's session.

"There's some major flirting going on here. Not from us, but them," said Madison, laughing as her fingers worked fast to answer the question posed in cyberspace as to who was "single" and who wasn't within the Sunlake group.

And if there's any misunderstanding as to what has been said, there's always the keyboard to fall back on.

The program offers students a unique way to hone their signing skills, Leslie said. "The students get to connect socially, but also language-wise."

Of course there have been a few kinks to work out. "The only issue with technology," Leslie said, "is that you're at the mercy of it."

From time to time, someone in the classroom is complaining about not being able to sign on or getting "kicked off."

"It's good — it's great that you can see who you're talking to. But if they sign too fast, it (the Skype program) kind of lags," said Lacy Maddox, 17, noting that she also uses Skype at home to talk to her cheerleading coach, who is now serving in Iraq.

Leslie said she plans to expand the Skype sign language program so that her students could interact with others throughout the country. That would help them get more of a grasp as to the regional differences that crop up with American Sign Language.

"This takes the classroom outside the walls here," Leslie said. "We get to go out into the world so to speak."

Pasco's Sunlake High students use Skype to hone American Sign Language skills 10/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 7:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.