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The ASL App: Deaf Entrepreneurs Changing the Way We Learn Sign Language

On this week’s Bold TV, our Opportunity Lives segment covered a new app that teaches American Sign Language, called The ASL App. Our hosts, Clay Aiken and Carrie Sheffield loved the idea; Clay even took sign language in college as his foreign language.

We were joined by Dave Schools, who recently wrote an article about the app and its founders, Melissa and Matt Malzkuhn.

Dave met Melissa and Matt at a tech awards event in Washington D.C. when they won an award for Best Mobile and Web Product of 2016:

“The person leading the competition called up the award…a lady goes up to the front…She accepts the award and then to my surprise someone to my right with the microphone, a lady starts speaking. And I was confused. It turns out that she was signing and it was the translator next to me. I was kind of mystified at how Matt and Melissa were able to developed and design a gorgeous app as deaf entrepreneurs, so I had to learn more.”

The app is video-based and is designed to teach anyone conversational ASL. The founders, who are third-generation deaf siblings, created it because there’s a need for this. When researching “how to learn ASL online,” they found there are a mixture of videos, photos and instructions with no organization.

Their app is a simple, effective way to learn the language through videos. Dave points out that ASL is such a dynamic and movement-driven language that videos are the most effective way to learn.

And it seems to be working: Carrie points out the app’s impressive growth of 800,000 downloads since their launch a year ago.

“They have a great team of excellent signers including Nyle, who was on America’s Next Top Model…he does a phenomenal job. I really encourage anyone to get into the app and look at the videos, it’s super easy.”

Read more about the app on their site, or at Opportunity Lives.

Watch the interview below or on our Facebook page.

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