Keynotin’ It

26 Sep

Thanks to Marilyn (you may have noticed her frequent comments on this blog while I was in Matara), I gave a presentation this afternoon to the ASL I and III classes at San Dieguito Academy. I’m always happy to help out my home secondary school district whenever I can, but this was a nice start to realizing one of my Ceylonese ambitions: giving presentations about Sri Lanka.

Instead of using Powerpoint, I created my presentation in Keynote, an awesome product from Apple. The effects there are just so snazzy, and the themes are so clean-looking. I’ve uploaded a HTML version, which doesn’t do the original format justice at all, but you’ll see what topics I touched on during my presentation.

The projector in the media center was UFO-sized, and the picture was gignormous. It must’ve been at least 15 feet high (plus five feet off the ground). It was really fun to have this huge screen to play with. I showed them the video and some photographs (both which are not available in the online version of the presentation), and the students seemed to really enjoy them.

I was really impressed with many of their questions. For example, one student asked if Sri Lankan Sign Language (SLSL) had a different syntax than ASL, and another one inquired whether SLSL had dominant-hand signs. I explained the unique Sinhala fingerspelling system and they seemed to totally get it. They asked about food, cricket, and the challenges of putting deaf, blind, and learning-challenged children in the same school. I was floored when one girl told me she had watched the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. And true to southern California form, one boy asked if Sri Lanka had any good surfing spots.

I had a hour and half, and pulled it off with beautiful timing. There was about 10 minutes after my last slide, which was a perfect amount of time to answer any last questions before the let’s-pack-up-three-minutes-before-the-closing-bell phase began. I made handouts too detailing the BSL fingerspelling alphabet, the Sinhala fingerspelling alphabet, 18 basic SLSL signs, and the web addresses of both this site and Rohana Special School.

I really couldn’t be more pleased with how it went! I gave proper attention to each topic without delving into the esoteric, kept it light and fresh, and engaged the students in practicing sign for the last half-hour.

Kudos to Kathryn Friedrichs, the lead ASL teacher, for voicing me the entire time, and doing a marvelous job of it!

One Response to “Keynotin’ It”

  1. Marilyn 30. Sep, 2007 at 7:44 am #

    You’ve covered it all… Your presentation was fantastic and although I did not watch the entire presentation, I could see how engaged the students were with everything you had to share with them… You and Kathryn Friedrichs made a wonderful team. It was as if you had rehearsed for days. It was especially wonderful for me to watch students from our school asking questions and getting involved.

    Have a great time with your newest adventure in San Francisco(whatever it is)… I hope you will take this fantastic Keynote presentation and continue to share it with others. I truly think you gave the students a flavor and vision of what it is like for other deaf students in other parts of the world (probably something they had never thought of before).

    Although I know your computer/graphic skills are terrific (and you love it), it’s your writings and your stories that inspire and teach us so much…

    Have a great time and stay safe.