Review by Andrea Meyers, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2018

Kaizena

Nifty add-on enables audio and text feedback in Google Docs

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
6–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)
Privacy rating (How we rate)

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Pros: Private or group-level feedback via text or audio. Good Google Classroom integration.

Cons: The initial sync with Google Classroom is slow. There's no way for teachers to share skills for rubrics, which means duplication of effort among a team.

Bottom Line: If your classroom relies a lot on Google Docs, this might just be the feedback tool you're looking for.

Teachers can use Kaizena to manage the entire writing feedback process, from prewriting to publishing. Give students individual multi-modal feedback in Google Docs, hold group or individual conversations about writing projects in the Kaizena web app, track student skills progress, and link students to online lessons that scaffold their learning. Save hours of grading time with Google Classroom integration, which syncs student submissions for seamless assessment.

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Kaizena is a Google Docs add-on for feedback on student writing. Teachers who have gone paperless with Google Classroom and Docs will want to jump on this tool that supports quick and easy feedback right in Google Docs. Teachers can provide four types of feedback: audio messages, text messages, skills ratings, and lesson links. The audio tool enables teachers to record their feedback, which speeds up the feedback process and is a beneficial support for students with special needs. When integrated with Google Classroom, student documents show up in the Kaizena web app as soon as the students submit them. Students can also collaborate on documents and use Kaizena to give peer feedback. 

Teachers can rate student writing on individual skills or through a rubric created by linking skills together. Some skills with customizable descriptors are included, and teachers can add more skills in the web app. In addition, Kaizena offers several curated lessons on topics such as passive voice, incomplete sentences, capitalization, and punctuation, which can be linked to feedback, directing students to other learning resources. Teachers can also create their own focused lessons that support the writing projects and share them directly with other teachers or make them public for all Kaizena users.

Plenty of research exists on the importance of timely, relevant, and specific feedback for learning. Kaizena helps teachers focus intently on feedback and provide it in a variety of meaningful forms. Guided by teacher and peer feedback as well as skills ratings, students will take a deeper look at their writing. By linking to lessons in feedback, teachers can also encourage students to explore more learning opportunities. 

Kaizena can, however, be challenging to use with grade-level teams or across departments. Each teacher account is separate, and although teachers can share lessons, there's currently no feature for sharing skills for use by other teachers. This is a fairly big limitation due to the duplication of effort required if multiple teachers in a school or district need to use the same skills and descriptors for their rubrics. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Students will like how easy it is to give and receive audio and text feedback from teachers and peer collaborators, and how they can instantly edit their writing within Google Docs.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

It facilitates constructive feedback and communication between students, peers, and teachers. Students engage with the feedback and use it to enhance and develop their writing.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Help documentation is available for both the add-on and the web app, including a chat feature for teachers only. Kaizena also offers useful videos on its YouTube channel.


Common Sense Reviewer
Andrea Meyers Instructional Facilitator of Technology

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Stella Maris B. , Afterschool program educator
Afterschool program educator
Kaizena has a great potential not only for oral feedback.
This is an excellent tool with many more uses than it is reviewed and sold for. It can be used for feedback, tutorials, oral productions, listening comprehension and podcasts and much more.
Read full review
Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Personal information is not displayed publicly.
User-created content is not filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or targeted advertising.
Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.