One of the best features of Google Docs is that teachers can comment on students’ essays by highlighting the selected text and giving textual commentary. Students can in turn comment back on their teacher’s comment, making it a great formative feedback for essay writing. It does not only kill the red ink annotations, which are a real annoyance to students, but also targets the intended selection to comment on in an organized manner.
However, if teachers want to take formative feedback to new levels of personalized feedback, a voice feedback would be a great solution.
This is what Kaizena actually does, and more. Kaizena is a voice commentary online application that integrates fully with Google Drive to maintain the smooth workflow. You don’t even have to go to Kaizena website to install it. It works much like the Google Docs commentary but instead of textual commentary in the highlighted essay section, you include a voice commentary. Kaizena also supports text commentary and highlighting options, but its stellar feature is voice commentary.
To open the students’ Google Document using Kaizena for the first time you need to associate your Google Drive documents to open with Kaizena App.
From within the Google Drive, click on Create and then click on “Connect More Apps”. You will get a pop up window with many apps to choose from. Search for “Kaizena” and then install.
To open your students’ documents via Kaizena, right click on any student’s document and then choose “ Open with” and then choose “Kaizena”. This will open the student’s Document in Kaizena. From there it is very easy to insert voice comments.
However, make sure that you ask your students to also connect Kaizena App to their Google Drive and to open their documents similar to the way you did.
What do you think of voice comments? Do you think it adds a personalized dimension of essay feedback? What are the effects on students’ noticing using sound instead of text. I haven’t found much conclusive studies on this, but they suggest that students tend to notice their errors more and are more inclined to revise their essays. I believe it is perhaps related to the psychological closeness that it creates between the teacher and his students.