Using Kaizena for Long-Term Projects

“Before using Kaizena, giving feedback to students probably took me at least twice as long.”

Like many teachers, Michael first started giving feedback to his students using the age-old method of pen and paper. While he had a manageable class size, the process of giving feedback this way was still too time consuming.

Looking for an alternative, Michael started to use the commenting feature on Google Docs. Although transitioning from writing to typing did cut back on time (and paper!), it still wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. Typing out comments was an improvement, but it still didn’t allow him to fully capture his thoughts and give his students the in-depth and high quality feedback that they needed.

Then, through another teacher at his school, Michael heard about Kaizena.

“I instantly recognized that it was going to be a time saving tool for me, and one that would allow me to provide better feedback to my students. I’m a fast typer, but I can’t type nearly as fast I talk!”

Michael mainly uses Kaizena in his Human Geography class, where he practices project-based learning. Over the span of the term, his students are put into small groups and tasked with writing a report that answers the question: “How Can We Improve the Health of Our Community?”

Here’s how it works:

  • In the first stage of the project, students conduct a literature review of articles and papers and tracks them on Google Docs.
  • Once they have done a thorough review, Michael gives them feedback and direction using the voice comments feature on Kaizena.
  • From there, Michael sets up touchpoints with the students so he can check in on their progress. This is especially helpful because the students aren’t used to term-long projects, so having check-ins keep them supported and on track.

“I find that by using Kaizena, I can check in with them and create an open dialogue throughout the duration of the project. The students find it pretty useful too! If I’m being honest, my handwriting is not great. When I gave written feedback, a lot of the times the students couldn’t read what I wrote and would have to clarify with me. Now, they know exactly what I am trying to tell them.”

An added benefit for Michael is that recording himself speak allows him to think out-loud.

“If I don’t like what I said, I can go back and re-record myself. Even with re-recording, it’s still faster than if I were to type or write the feedback. It’s way more thorough than what I would write on a paper.”

In fact, Michael has come to love Kaizena so much that he will opt to give feedback using Kaizena even when the assignment wasn’t submitted through Google Docs. He does this by importing the Word document in Google Docs and then using the Kaizena Add-On.

He’s also working on getting his school to use Kaizena for mid-semester progress reports. Why? For the same reasons he uses it for feedback on assignments: so the students can hear the tone and inflection in his voice and understand clearly what he is trying to communicate to them.

“Kaizena really allows me to provide better feedback, in less time, which is what makes it so valuable.”

Shirley Luu
With a background in marketing and communications, Shirley is Kaizena's Community Manager. When she's not lurking #EdChats or expanding Kaizena's PLN, you can find her sweating it out at a barre class 👯‍♀️
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