Welcome to Jennie Magiera's Technology in Education Blog:

Redefining the (digital) Classroom

Friday, April 26, 2013

AskMe about Ask3

So I have a new favorite app... Ask3 (from TechSmith, the makers of Jing and Camtasia). Why do I love it so? Well, I'm glad you asked!

Reason #1 to love it: The app developer, a great guy named Troy Stein, created it for his son who struggled with high school math.

Reasons #2-100 to love it: It is screencasting software, collaboration tool, differentiation platform and scaffolded support system all rolled into one FREE app.

So what does it to? It is an iOS app that starts off as a simple screencasting tool. Students or teachers can draw on a virtual whiteboard, record their drawings, narration and even annotate over pictures. This part is very similar to apps like ShowMe, Educreations and Doceri. All great tools - all great ways to both create differentiated digital content for kids, and also - conversely - to unlock student metacognition.

But wait, there's more.

It also allows kids to automatically upload these screencasts so that they are instantly viewable from all iPads logged into the same class. So if Jaheim creates a screencast asking how to solve a story problem he's struggling with, or Kayla creates a screencast to show off her latest science investigation, the rest of the class can view these digital creations right away. Some other apps allow for uploading to the web for classmates to see, but the upload system on Ask3 is so smooth and seamless, I couldn't believe it was possible. I've demo'd this in an auditorium of over 400 confrence participants before - and it worked then too. Wow.

But wait, there's more.

It also gives students the ability to comment on each other's video --- from within the video timeline. So, if the child is at minute 1:42 of a peer's screencast - or the teacher's instructional video - they can pause it and add their own comment, question or suggestion. All of these comments are instantly viewable for the class and teacher to see and reply to. Thus, "Ask3". The app is named after the addage "Ask 3 before Me" where teachers encourage student collaboration by crowd sourcing support for those who are struggling. With this tool, students can literally "ask 3" through the app without even leaving their seat.

But wait, there's more.

Perhaps text isn't enough to answer a question. Perhaps a child needs to demonstrate how to solve a problem, interpret a text or analyze an diagram. They can pause the video where they want to help, comment, ask a question or solve the problem. The app then allows them to screencast over that paused image and create their own video response, taking over from where the original video left off. This video response is then available for the class to view in the timeline as well.

But wait, there's still more!

Or, there will be. Another reason I love this app - Troy (the developer) is constantly iterating and improving on it. He has an entire blog dedicated to getting feedback and sharing teachers' use of the app. He is always looking to visit classrooms, learn how to make it better and increase support for all students. Try out his app today by downloading it here (you've got nothing to lose - after all, it's free) and share your reactions with him here.

Want some more ideas on how to use this awesome app if your classroom? Check out this post by Troy - 21 ways to use Ask3!


  1. Thanks for this great post. Perfect timing for me. I have just had my class get this app and we've had a bit of a play in our homeroom class to see how it works. I was planning on tweeting you a request for some more detail on how you make the most of it, and here it is!

  2. Hi Jennie, I've got some bad news: Ask3 will be going away in just a few weeks! It will remain in the App Store until June 20th, 2014, and then it will stop working on August 4th, 2014. Please see this blog post for more information. So sad!