Some of you may know that last spring, I was the Educator in Residence for ImagineK12, an edtech incubator in Palo Alto, CA. ( And actually, I loved it so much that I am back again this Fall with 2 other incredible teachers!) My role was to share my teacher perspective and opinions, talking about the biggest issues and problems tech could help to solve. One of the teams I met with often, and who solved one of my biggest problems, was Voice Comments, aka 121writing, now called Kaizena!
In our early sessions, I shared with Max and Edward that providing students with timely, personalized quality feedback on their writing was a huge challenge. My handwriting seemed to get more scraggly with the more essays I graded and I often felt like I was not doing my students justice. They were very open to working on solving this problem, and after much hard work and iteration, developed a fantastic product that allows my students to feel like I am, in their words, "sitting right next to them" as they listen to my feedback.
Now let's get to the nitty gritty: Here are 5 things I love about Kaizena
- Kaizena allows teachers to highlight, annotate, record voice comments, and attach resources, links to lessons, videos, tutorials, etc so that students can actually learn the skills related to the errors they make! Wait..you mean actionable feedback?
- Kaizena allows students to respond with their own voice comments, so that there is a discussion with a feedback loop. Before this brand new feature was in place, I would have students email me answers to questions like: What did you hear that reflected something you did well? What do you need to improve on? What is confusing? What will you do for your next writing piece to improve? Now they can respond right after my comments to get clarification.
- Kaizena differentiates. Students can hear feedback, see feedback, listen at their own pace, and listen again if they missed something. My students loved the ability to pause, go back, and refer back to the recording later when they wrote their next essay.
- Kaizena integrates with Google Drive. Enough said!
- Kaizena listens to teachers. Not only did Max and Edward listen intently during our sessions, but they also reached out to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of teachers, observed students using their tool, and worked very very diligently to be sure that they were solving the actual problem teachers have.
If you'd like more information on how other teachers are using Kaizena, check out this post from my friend Karl.
Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this post, nor do I have any material gain from promoting this company. I simply believe in the product and want to share how it helps give quality feedback!
I'd love to know how you give clear, quality, actionable writing feedback to your students! Please share in the comments.