The first month of school is exhausting! New students, new routines, and, for many of us, new curriculum. Getting kids acclimated to all the newness spurs a lot (and I mean a lot) of questions. To save my sanity and teach students how to be independent and resourceful, I put a technology spin on the adage, “Ask three before you ask me.”

It’s not just that I am wild about technology. I also want to model what I do when I have a question. I’m not always in a room surrounded by colleagues when I get stuck or need help, so my 3 are Google, YouTube, and social media.

First, ask Google. 

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Sure, students need some tips for getting the most out of Google and filtering through the results, but we go over all of that together in the first few weeks. After they get an introduction to the Google search engine and know how to use it effectively, then it should be their first stop.

No luck with Google?

Second stop, search for a YouTube tutorial. 

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Today’s learners are increasingly visual. They love pictures and videos, which makes YouTube a fantastic resource for students. They can search for video tutorials on topics ranging from citing properly to making elaborate rubber band bracelets, which my daughter learned to do by watching a series of videos.

No entertaining tutorials?

Third stop, ask people on social media.

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An increasing number of students are already using social media to connect with people, so why not encourage them to tap into their social network to find information on a topic or troubleshoot a problem?

When I’ve done a Google search and checked out YouTube videos and still cannot figure something out, I ask the Twittersphere. Within minutes I have a half dozen responses with links to online resources or suggestions to connect with specific individuals who might be able to help.

Now, instead of just asking three people who happen to be in the same classroom, students can ask Google, YouTube, and social media. Ultimately, I think teaching this new version of asking three before you ask me will make our students more self-sufficient learners when they leave our classrooms.

13 Responses

  1. […] Updated Ask 3, Then Me– We have all had to implement the “Ask 3, then me” strategy in our classrooms at some point. I’ve taught 6th grade… it was essential. Take a look at this post by Catlin Tucker (@catlin_tucker).  She suggests an updated version where students Google, YouTube, and post questions to social media before asking the teacher–  […]

  2. We are going 1 to 1 this school year. I hadn’t thought of this version of ask 3 before me. Thank you!

  3. Great technique.
    I can see students benefiying from it with the proper guidance.
    Those three are great nodes for information.
    Students might find following misleading information and be target of trolls if proper guidance is not provided.

    Those three are great tools to pursue further understanding but they are also tools for people that deny climate change, deny evolution, deny landing on the moon, support flat Earth and even geocentric theories, promote hate and discrimination and can be very detailed but lacking scientific bases(the earth is 6000 years old lets open a museum)
    Pseudoscience also adapts to the era. A mobile device can be a tool to empower or a tool to enslave.
    I’ll be cautious of letting children access those resources without parental control. At that moment , risk outweight weights the cost.
    To protect the user and their families some other resources could be helpful , such as protects privacy and eliminates google’s bubble, TOR Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication.
    And for social media, that has to have parental supervision, dangers of social media are not to be disregarded. Hygene of information to prevent security breaches and compromise personal information .

    • Hi Eileene,

      YouTube was blocked in my district until I made a case for its educational value. If it is something you would use, I would approach your district about it.


      • Our district didn’t block YouTube two years ago, but this past year they did. This made certain lessons and activities very difficult, if not impossible, for many teachers. What points did you make when you made your case for its educational value? This is something that I, and my colleagues, would like to approach our administration about.

        • Hi Laura,

          I explained that I was using the in-class flip for self-paced learning using YouTube videos I had produced. I also highlighted several of the education websites where I was pulling video content that relied primarily on YouTube videos. I made the point that high school students should be creating an online digital portfolio of their work that can be viewed by an authentic audience to demonstrate their abilities. Ultimately, I argued that our kids can toggle off school wifi and access YouTube anytime, so it made more sense to teach them how to use it responsibly.

          Regardless of the outcome, I think it’s crucial that educators make a case for technology’s value in the classroom. Too often school leaders make decisions, like blocking YouTube, from a place of fear instead of considering what is best for students.

          Good luck!


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