Like many English teachers, I’m always in search of ways to provide quality writing feedback to students. However, I’m especially interested in how to give feedback efficiently with voice comments.
Efficiency and effectiveness…the elusive goal of all English teachers.
Drum roll, please…
I think that I may have finally found the elusive voice grading hack for English teachers, friends!
Recently, I discovered that Kaizena, which had previously been a stand-alone website, had given itself a face lift in the form of an Add-On for Google Docs.
My curiosity, piqued, I decided to check it out.
What is Kaizena?
Simply put, Kaizena is a Google Add-On that allows English teachers to leave voice comments, text comments, or video/web-based lessons as feedback from within a Google document.
When I checked out Kaizena’s blog, I found a recent post which discussed recent research from Dr. Martha Bless: “Impact of Audio Feedback Technology on Writing Instruction.”
When I checked out the full dissertation, it was interesting to see findings that the six teachers who provided voice comments through Kaizena “both believed they gave more high quality, personalized feedback to students in less time with the audio feature of Kaizena than with written feedback and did, in fact, provide documents confirming this higher quality. As a result, using Kaizena positively influenced their self-efficacy.”
To up the cool factor even more, teachers aren’t the only ones who can use this Add-On to leave voice comments for student writers. The students themselves can use Kaizena to engage in peer feedback.
Use the Kaizena Add-On to Create Voice Comment “Lessons” for Students
My favorite feature of this Add-On is the ability to leave “lessons” as comments for students.
At first, I was unsure what a “lesson” consisted of or where/how to create them.
Well, it turns out that creating lessons is really easy and a huge time-saver. Lessons also allow English teachers to get away from using comment banks to grade more efficiently and shift their thinking to creating re-usable opportunities for re-teaching.
Kaizena puts the responsibility on the student for his/her learning, but also saves you a ton of typing and allows you to personalize feedback instead of leaving a cookie-cutter comment.
So, What is a Lesson?
Simply put, a lesson targets an important and specific skill or area of an assignment. Teachers can create mini-lessons as pre-made voice comments. They can also (my favorite) attach a link for students to view a web page, web-based document, or online video.
To create a lesson, after installing the Add-On from within Google Docs, visit app.kaizena.com/lessons.
You can even share lessons with fellow English teachers, another way to work smarter, not harder. Harness the power of your PLC or grade-level team! Create awesome teaching videos and screencasts, or compile resources for student writers so that you can create powerful “lessons” to leave as feedback.
Ways English Teachers Can Create an Awesome Kaizena Lesson
For all of the options below, you’ll need to rely on Google Drive, your classroom website, or YouTube as a publishing platform for content you’ll create/curate for students. The link to each piece of content should be viewable to your students (change permissions as necessary).
When you create a new Kaizena lesson, simply paste in the link and add any instructions for how you want students to use the resource or apply to their revision process.
Ideas for Kaizena Lessons
- Select a few student authors (or ask for volunteers) and ask permission to “Live Grade” or talk through one of their paragraphs. Use Screencastify or Screencast-o-Matic to create a screencast of you providing voice comments as feedback.
- Take a video of yourself teaching an important lesson live in class.
- Create an original teaching video or screencast to help students understand a skill in a new way or for enrichment/extension.
- Take a series of pictures/screenshots, and make a collage in Google Draw or Google Slides.
- Share an important handout or diagram.
- Record voice comments about a skill or area of an assignment as a reminder of what students should be doing/thinking about.
Getting Started with Kaizena Voice Comments
Check out this tutorial I’ve created to help you install the Add-On, leave your first Kaizena voice comments, and create your first Kaizena lesson.
It’s super easy. I promise!
Hey, if you loved this post, I want to be sure you’ve had the chance to grab a FREE copy of my guide to streamlined grading. I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m over the moon to be able to share with you some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm.
Click on the link above or the image below to get started!