February 17, 2017 - 17:58 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Giphy released an extensive GIF library on Thursday, February 16 with more than 2,000 words and phrases in American Sign Language. To create the GIFs, Giphy cut videos from the popular educational series Sign With Robert, adding text descriptions to make the GIFs look like looping flash cards, Mashable reports.
At first glance, the GIFs might seem a bit unremarkable — they simply show Sign with Robert creator Robert DeMayo, who has been deaf since birth, signing a word over and over.
These GIFs were designed to teach hearing people ASL — and to empower the Deaf community.
"GIFs, as a visual format untethered from audio, makes them a perfect medium for sign language," said Hilari Scarl, director and producer at Sign With Robert.
"The GIF format has the ability to loop infinitely, so it's perfect for learning new signs. [It] doesn't require the back and forth of hitting play, rewind or repeat," she said.
Users can find the GIFs by searching "Sign With Robert" within Giphy. They'll also appear in regular search results — so if you search "Hello," for example, a Sign With Robert GIF will show up.
The series was first conceptualized by Wallis Millar-Blanchaer, a video artist at Giphy, and Stephanie Weber, a Giphy studios coordinator. They were interested in exploring how GIFs could help facilitate a more inclusive type of education.
"Wallis suggested sign language GIFs in an initial brainstorm, which we immediately stuck with, as it's such a visually engaging language and would be well expressed in GIF form," Weber said. "And the looping format makes it a perfect tool for learning through repetition."