So for this week’s blog, I have chosen to look at and review something called Kaizena. This is a completely brand new tool to me and one that I have never even heard of prior to looking at the list. While I was going through the list of options for this review I knew that I wanted to pick something that was completely brand new to me. Many of the suggestions were tools that I was quite familiar with or at least had heard of. Kaizena was brand new to me and after taking a quick look at it, I decided that it would be a good choice for this blog post.
When first starting out with the app there is a little bit of setup required. Luckily, I was able to use my Google account which really helped to smooth things over. They allow a very cool demo where I was able to take a look at the different features that are available in the app. It allows you to see some sample work and look at the various methods of providing feedback.
On the first glance, the setup to proving feedback is very similar to that of MS Office or Google Docs. This is handy as familiarity is normally a good thing. At that point though things become much more technological. There are two ways to provide feedback directly related to the work; written comments and voice recording. According to the website, voice comments are up to 75% faster than written feedback. All you have to do is highlight a section of the text and you can then select to provide feedback (verbal or written), reference a lesson (which will be dicsussed later), or rate a skill (which again will be discussed later). Both the written and the verbal feedback are very easy to provide in the document. There is a text box that pops up when you want to provide written feedback. If you decide to provide verbal feedback you press a button that looks like a microphone and speak your mind, when you are finished you have the option of reviewing what was said and either posting it or redoing it.
The Lessons feature on the app is a very handy feature. One of the things I have found as a teacher is that it seems we are constantly repeating ourselves some days. This feature allows us to quickly and easily insert a brief video or audio clip into the document for the student to reference. This takes away the need for the teacher to repeat themselves for what may feel like the 100th time.
The Skills feature on the app is another hand feature provided. You can create your own categories such as spelling & grammar, word choice, creativity, and so on. This allows both you and the students to see how they are doing in certain areas. It is a rubric of such, that allows for flexibility and constant changing. The student also has the ability to reference past works and see what they may need to do in order to improve. This tool can be used as a formative assessment while the student is still working on their assignment. This way they can make any necessary changes in order to present their best work.
Awesome integration with Google Drive. Does not require students to create their own account if they are using Gsuite. The ability to leave voice comments on specific areas is very beneficial rather than sending a recording at the end. When providing comments on the work, it is very similar to MS Office or Google Docs so the familiarity is there.
This is an app that is primarily designed for those using Gsuite. So while it is possible for you to use documents that are not in Google Drive, it may become slightly difficult and time-consuming. The Google Drive integration is a big selling feature of the application. That means if you are with a group that uses Microsoft as your technology administrator it would be much more difficult. If students are not using Gsuite they must create their own account.
Use in the Classroom:
This would be a very awesome tool to use in the classroom. Even if the school is not using Gsuite, I feel as though the work required to set up accounts for the students will be worth it. This would be able to replace the need for one-on-one conferencing when working on a writing project. The teacher would be able to work on this outside of teaching hours, such as prep or the many hours we know teachers spend doing work in the evening or on weekends. The ability to provide both written and verbal feedback allows for a form of differentiation in the feedback process.
Unfortunately for the blog post this week, there is no Disney video to go along with it. I hate to break tradition, but it just wouldn’t fit in with this post. It’ll be back next week, and I have already started thinking about what is going to be in my final blog post.