Using Online Audio Tools To Provide Feedback

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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How can teachers reduce the marking burden in an online world?

During the pandemic, with increased workload and the challenge of meeting individual needs through a remote connection, I’ve seen many teachers turn to voice technology.

Using voice technology

With various platforms and with so many schools getting in touch, I thought it would be worth sharing how teachers could respond to marking and assessment in an online world.

I have written before about how I have used voice technology in my classroom for the last decade.

This has immersed into writing blogs on this site as well as educational books. As a result, I have learnt new ways to provide students with feedback, discovered ways to work much quicker and become highly efficient.

I’ve also seen teachers start to use Mote (free and paid) to provide verbal voice notes to students inside Google Classroom and/or Microsoft Teams. I thought it would be worth mentioning Kaizena, a free platform I’ve been using for the last 5 or 6 years.

Kaizena is a free Google Chrome plugin. It has mixed reviews, but it has worked for me very easily. Teachers can leave voice notes, colour code feedback for students, plus track and set rubrics for assignments.

The bonus feature is that students can also leave voice notes.

Using audio feedback

Interestingly, Kaizena has an EdD research paper shared on their website and I’ve taken a little look through to see what it says. Impact of Audio Feedback Technology on Writing Instruction (Bless, 2017)

Firstly, the paper is 283 pages long, so I’ve skipped the methodology and unpicked the abstract and conclusions for your reading pleasure. Note, the paper evaluates high-school environments which have largely been unexplored.

Bless highlights teacher “self-efficacy has suffered because workload and emotional energy of grading papers is arduous despite efforts to provide formative written feedback.” The challenge is that “students ignore or misunderstand it.”

The paper explores “how audio feedback can improve the clarity of instructor feedback” and how this area of research remains unexplored. The user group was drawn from “global Kaizena user base” and 3 United States and 3 international teachers were selected for the study. I need to unpick how many teachers use Kaizena…

All 6 teachers believe “they gave more high-quality, personalised feedback to students in less time with the audio feature of Kaizena than with written feedback…”

As a result, this positively influenced their self-efficacy.

Research findings

  1. Feedback is problematic for both teachers and students
  2. Teachers struggle to keep up with the demands of generating quality feedback
  3. Feedback is missed or ignored by students
  4. Feedback is effective when timely, personalised and detailed, yet clear to understand
  5. When feedback is positive and corrective, it can promote ongoing dialogue.
  6. Students felt that audio feedback was clearer, more detailed and more personal than written
  7. Teachers believed they could provide more detailed feedback (probably quicker too).

There are limitations with all research, and in this case, it was to explore written instruction. Bless writes, “although teachers believed Kaizena improved their writing instruction, no conclusions could be drawn from this study about the impact of Kaizena on student writing achievement.”


Bless concludes: “Audio feedback positively influences teachers’ self-efficacy for writing instruction and the feedback they provide to students.”

There will be many teachers who have used voice technology for many years. The challenge for schools is how to utilise this technology to support learning, reduce workload and shift parental perceptions.

p.s. I used my voice to write most of this!

2 thoughts on “Using Online Audio Tools To Provide Feedback

  1. This is something I have been keen to apply in my classroom. however, my previous school banned devices, while my new school have blocked Google plugins on ‘data protection’ grounds. Just wondering if data protection and Google plugins is a legitimate issue, or if our Data Protection manager is getting a bit carried away?

    1. I think it’s a matter of being selective. All apps and software we use in our schools have data protection issues, AND all of them should be compliant with GDPR law etc. or they are removed, fined or closed down.

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