Review by Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2014


Make feedback count, save time assessing digital work on Google Drive

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Feedback tools like tags let teachers give efficient whole-class feedback and help teachers and students review strengths and weaknesses.

Cons: At times, a bit slow in processing long audio recordings.

Bottom Line: A stand-out tool for collaborating, editing, and revising student work with Google Drive.

Teachers can use this add-on in three main ways: review student work before it's submitted, have students peer-review each other's work, or use it as a digital grading tool. This add-on can bring writing, reviewing, and grading together seamlessly for teachers using Google Classroom. Use the tags to understand whole-class progress: Kaizena groups tags and gives teachers an average rating across all the tags they used in their students' work. Use the teacher dashboard as the main hub for students and teachers to request and provide feedback. Inboxes can be created for organization and feedback, and students can then drop work in a specific inbox.

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Kaizena is a Google Chrome add-on used in conjunction with Google Drive. If you're looking to ditch your red pen and grade digitally, this is your tool. On Kaizena, you can review and edit student papers that students drop in your inbox or request be reviewed. Teachers can provide feedback in three ways: use the microphone to record audio feedback, use the text option to type feedback, or link a resource like a YouTube video or website for students to review. There's also a Kaizena Mini version, which opens right in your Google document rather than in a new window.

In addition to this detailed feedback, teachers can use tags to rate student work as though they were using a grading rubric. Students get a sense of their progress at a glance with the tags and in detail with their teacher's longer narrative feedback. Through the tagging system, students can review their teacher's feedback over time and understand their progress in the writing process.

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The tagging feature in particular is a stand-out tool: Teachers and students can each use the tagging feature to review other students' work, allowing the reader to tag for specifics (like items in a rubric) and then rate those tags. The most beneficial aspect of tagging is that teachers can reuse tags for all students, so they can copy and paste tags. From tagging, teachers can attach videos, type a comment, or add a voice comment. From the student perspective, students can review the tags others attach to their work and examine where their work rates with each tag.

Feedback options are rich; for example, teachers can link a YouTube video or website to their tag to help a student further explore a topic and gain deeper insight and understanding. In general, this is a speedy, rich way for teachers and students to give and receive feedback. One of the downfalls of Kaizena is that the processing of audio recordings, especially if they are long, can take a while.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Students will be reeled in by the ability to get detailed feedback from peers or teachers. The easy-to-use interface and dashboard help kids stay engaged.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The app empowers students to take charge of their writing, seeking out feedback from teachers or students and actively working for improvement. Teachers can be responsive, adding feedback and external links for practice.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The site is fairly simple to navigate, and a useful blog offers information on updates and upcoming features, and can answer most user questions.

Common Sense Reviewer
Stephanie Trautman Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
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.

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