Got Red-Pen Grading Cramps? Kaizena Can Help

There once was a time when the only tool available to grade essays was the proverbial red pen. Relying solely on this seemingly ancient apparatus to assess a paper mountain of written discourse was sure to invite wrist cramps and overall forearm fatigue.
But not any longer. Nope. Thanks to a remarkable educational gadget that turns a computer mouse into a self-replenishing writing pen and teachers’ constructive feedback into a mix of audio recordings that is sure to inspire improvement.
Yep, the Tech Gods, overseeing from the silicon gates of the Internet Cloud, have again purveyed an amazing assessment tool. For the multitude of dedicated writing guides whose constant constructive feedback sets students’ thoughts, and therefore the world, in motion, Kaizena is today’s red pen.


As with anything untried, there is a learning curve, an obstacle of growth to conquer. Sometimes the impetus to move into the new is to simply be aware of the new.

Recording Audio Feedback

I remember back in ’08 a co-teacher and I experimented with providing feedback to our Advanced Placement Language students via Audacity audio files. The process was simple but painstaking. Students submitted their paper essays with jumpdrives. My colleague and I then recorded our constructive criticism as .MP3 files and saved them to the provided jumpdrives. Since the students numbered every other line of their essays and Audacity proved to be reliable, the process actually worked. A lot of feedback, and probably computer viruses too, was exchanged. But, boy, was it cumbersome. Fast-forward now to Kaizena and pure simplicity.

Adding Text Comments

Whether you transfer criteria from a rubric, copy and paste from a spreadsheet of canned comments, or type an original and pointed suggestion, Kaizena has you covered.

Providing Resources

Think about this… Can your students double-tap on your red-inked writing recommendations and view valuable resources that magically appear and hover over written text? No? Well, that’s just a simple function in Kaizena.

Creating Tags

If you have ever graded a large stack of essays, you surely found yourself writing nearly more than the students. It probably didn’t take you too long to develop another plan…one that involved assessment codes or tags that represented canned comments. Well, it appears you were way ahead of your time. Kaizena has taken your idea and made it digital. Witness this magnificence yourself by checking out this video.

Viewing Feedback as a Student

Want to know how students view their feedback? Take a look here.

Using the Kaizena Mini Add-On

Wouldn’t you know it? Kaizena even offers an add-on within Google Docs. It’s called Kaizena Mini. Here’s a brief overview:

Ahhh, my hardworking colleagues. Relief is here. Relief from writing cramps. Relief from locked-up forearms. Relief from grading blindness caused by staring at all that red ink. Relief from the frustrating inability to simply speak your suggestions onto a paper.
Simply put…just overall relief from old-fashioned and tiresome grading.
Yep. Relief is here, and it is spelled K-A-I-Z-E-N-A.
For more blogs by John Hardison, check out:

John Hardison

John Hardison is an interactive facilitator of learning and blended learning specialist at East Hall High School (Studio 113 & EPiCC).

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