At a recent conference presentation given by Ms. Jennie Magiera, I learned about "screencasting" using an app called Ask3. After having the chance to explore with the app, I was amazed by the app's potential to increase the teacher's accessibility to struggling students in the classroom, as well as its viability as either a formative or summative assessment tool.
How does the app work? When you open Ask3, there is a camera tool built into the app. You can take a picture of a problem or task, and then record a mini-lesson with your own voice as you annotate (write and/or draw) onto the picture you took in real time. It is literally just that easy. Within minutes, you have a video mini-lesson ready for classroom use. The app's layout is very intuitive and user-friendly. So what is the potential benefit to the classroom?
Let's say you're getting ready to teach a lesson on a new concept, like fractions. In planning for the lesson, you would anticipate that there are a number of areas (both conceptual and procedural) where students may struggle with fractions. Using Ask3, you could record any number of mini-lessons to build upon student prior knowledge. Those mini-lessons could then be accessible to any student during the lesson with access to the app. Students who are struggling can seek the answers to the questions they have from their own teacher, at the same time. Talk about maximizing instructional time!
From a management perspective, once the mini-lessons are recorded, they are always there. They can become part of a library of instructional mini-lessons that will always be at the teacher's disposal. However, the app can really take flight when students are empowered to record their own responses using Ask3. Students can use Ask3 to articulate their mastery of a concept taught in class, or even to create a response to an instructional task. The student's narration provides an otherwise unseen window into the student's understanding of a concept, which will make the teacher's follow-up planning that much more effective.
With the clear benefit to teachers and students, we will definitely be exploring more with Ask3!