Wednesday, September 11, 2013

5 Things I Love about Kaizena

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! 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. 


Tracy Watanabe said...

Hi Joan,

I was just looking at this to add to a presentation I'm working on about collaborative tools within Google Apps. For students to hear the comments, do they just have to click on "comments" then go to the link?

Kind regards,

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Hi Tracy!

Thanks for reading! There are 2 ways to send the students the feedback either through email or share via comments which will put a link to the comments in their original doc in the comments section. This video highlights how the new features work!

Tracy Watanabe said...

Thanks! Very helpful.

Brie's Blog said...

I am a school leader considering the promotion of this resource to my staff to enhance teaching and learning. Has your experience been positive? How have your students responded? Have you noted observable improvements in student performance? products? Any special tips you would lend to first-time users.

Your feedback regarding your experience would be greatly appreciated!

Brie's Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Hi Brie,
So sorry for the slow reply. I would highly recommend Kaizena. My students loved being able to replay comments and then respond to my feedback to set goals for their next piece of writing. Parents really enjoyed it as well as they got a window into the process. Feel free to email me at flourishing for more info.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan,

Thank you for this article. I am new to Kaizena, and I would like to implement from next semester. I am teaching college students, and they all have semester projects (which they share with me on Google Docs). So far, I have been using live comments in Google Docs itself, but I love the idea of adding voice comments as well as links that would (hopefully) help them improve their writing. What I would like to know if there is any way for them to correct mistakes write there (when the document is open in Kaizena), or do they have to go back and forth to their original document to correct them?

Kind regards,

Irena Bielicka

Paulina Cameron said...

I wouldn’t be the first one to say that the teachers always look for ways to improve their teaching styles and this post proves it in every way. Thanks for the information, it is very helpful indeed. I will definitely try this service, because I’ve been struggling to find a goof way to give my students some feedback and get some response from them. Now it will be even easier for them to find essay writing service and to use Kaizena to help them in their learning.

Unknown said...

Hello, Joan
This article is great! Thank you for this, Joan, this is perfect for me, now i can improve myself a little bit more! :D (Especially Google Drive works perfectly for me, another reason right here) All this time I used to get help from people on this website. Thank you again for this info!