Ask3 is an iPad app that gives teachers and students the ability to record their voice, whiteboard drawings, and interactions with images and easily share those videos directly within the app with other members of the class.
Both teachers and students can post a written comment or video response directly in a recording's timeline.
These threaded video conversations enable teachers to provide instruction and help to students outside face-to-face class sessions. It also enables students to share their knowledge, ask for clarification of a concept, and collaborate with each other.
Ask3 is a free app at the present time (February 2013).
Ask3 enables students to access recordings created by a teacher, view and review them when they are ready to learn, and respond via text or video. This app also gives students a simple way to share their ideas, ask questions, and collaborate with each other.
The learning goals are determined by the instructor.
Target Student Population:
This app could be used by younger students, probably 3rd grade or higher, as well as college and post university students. Ask3 may be used by educators across disciplines and in a variety of educational settings.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Users should have a general understanding of how to create a screencast. It would also be helpful if that have a general understanding of how threaded discussion works in an online course. Walking students through the basics of digital citizenship would lay a solid foundation for how they should interact with each other.
Type of Material:
Ask3 is both a presentation tool and collaboration tool.
Instructor can record a video lesson and have students review, asking questions by text or video.
Students can record a screencast explaining their understanding of a topic and the instructor and other students can review the video and make text or video comments at different points in the video.
Ask3 can be used by a teacher to flip a class, present information or walk students through a process (i.e. diagramming a sentence or working out a math problem). This may be particularly helpful if students are struggling with a particular concept or homework assignment. This tool also enables students to collaborate with each other via threaded video conversations.
iPad with iOS 5.1 or later, Wi-Fi connection
Evaluation and Observation
Ask3 is a content creation app.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much more valuable is a short video? Overall, Ask3 offers teachers and students alike the tremendous opportunity to interact with content and each other via threaded video conversations.
On the flip side, only teachers and students with access to an iPad can participate in Ask3 threaded video conversations.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
It is easy to create a recording and to share comments. Participating in discussions is easy because the discussion threads are different colors depending on whether you have previously read them.
The three areas (Create, View Bulletin Board, and View Class) are a little confusing. Do I view the bulletin board or view the class if I want to participate in an existing video? Would it be possible to see both without having to choose an area? In other words, once I log in, I choose a class from a drop down menu and Ask3 would know if I am a teacher or student based on which class I chose. Also, I could always have the possibility of choosing to create new content. The codes are hard to remember. Is there a better way to let students know which discussions they are part of? This is still version 1 so we assume that the coder will get lots of feedback and improve the ease of use in the next version.
* Presently, teachers are limited to just one class in Ask3 unless they create multiple teacher accounts which requires having and keeping track of multiple email addresses.
* Students are asked to create a 4-digit PIN # as part of the account creation process. If students forget that PIN #, it’s not clear how to retrieve that information. The account creation process doesn’t request an email address. As a result, students may find themselves signing up for a new account. For higher education students, it would be nice to have the option of signing in with an alternate account (i.e. Twitter). Teachers already have this option.
* In regard to accessing recordings, it would be helpful for students with limited or no access to an iPad or WiFi connection to be able to view the recordings in a browser or download the content to another device.
* For teachers, it would be nice to have the added ability to reuse or import existing recordings.
* Students with auditory or visual disabilities would benefit from the automatic generation of a transcript or text-to-speech functionality.
* Teachers and students also need to be aware that anyone with the class code can see those Ask3 videos.
* As reported in the Ask3 FAQ, TechSmith is hoping to address a number of these concerns in later releases of Ask3.
Other Issues and Comments:
To learn more about the Ask3 app and its License Agreement, visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ask3/id572042047?mt=8
To date, this app has been updated every month or two.