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Kaizena: improving voice feedback for student writing

Back in May I was excited to discover Voice Comments–a great tool for personally adding voice feedback to student writing or collaborative work.

Recently, the app relaunched with a new interface and a bunch of impressive new features, as Kaizena.  (In Japan, Kaizen refers to a philosophy of continuous improvement.)

If Google Docs is a way of life at your school, Kaizena presents a handy and free editing solution–a far more personal alternative to the red pen, allowing teachers opportunity to voice enthusiasm, concern, support and to express the specific and overview advice that is hard to capture in short margin notes.

I also see Kaizena as a fabulous support to flipped and distance instruction.

Here’s how it works.  Open any document in Google Docs.  Highlight text.  Hit the record button and allow and speak.

You may leave text comments as well as voice and attach Web links to your comments to lead students to resources that will support your tips. Resources are saved in a Resources Library for future use.

The program recently added a level meter to detect microphone volume and now supports formatting of any kind in a document: tables, links, bold, italics, etc.

A new versions feature allows users to toggle among versions of a document to access previous feedback.

Collaboration is also improved.  Anyone you share the document with can give and receive feedback in a conversation-style interface.

Commenters may opt to alert students of new feedback via email.

Among the program limitations shared in a September blog post, were that Internet Explorer is not currently supported and that Kaizena comments currently work only in Google Docs–not PDFs, Presentations and other apps.  

The post suggests that these issues may be resolved in future releases. 



Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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