The benefits of providing audio feedback

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As teachers, we invest a ton of time providing our students with feedback so that they can improve. With the advancement of technology and 1:1 initiatives came Google Docs and Google Classroom. These tools are great at engaging students, but grading can become cumbersome and time consuming. Grading an essay in Google Classroom can result in a ton of comments on a student’s Doc and can quickly become overwhelming for both student and teacher alike. Far too often, the students simply click resolve instead of reading through each comment. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the activity is quickly diminished.

Copy the audio recording link and paste it into a Google Doc comment.

Recording with the “Talk and Comment” extension in Google Chrome.

Then, along came audio feedback and digital rubrics. After attending Rob Patin’s presentation about audio feedback using Kaizena, I was intrigued; however, I was far too intimidated to try and teach my students an entire new platform so late in the year, although I really liked the concept of audio feedback. After doing some research, I found an extension for Googe Chrome called “Talk and Comment.”

The extension enables your microphone by clicking a button in the Chrome toolbar. At anytime, I can click on the microphone and it will begin recording.  When I am done recording, the app will produce a pop-up window with a URL. This URL is a link to my audio recording that I can copy and paste into a single comment on my student’s Google Doc.   

An example of a DocAssist rubric.

In addition, I found a Google Doc add-on called, “DocAssist.” This add-on provides teachers an opportunity to create, manage, and attach rubrics to student essays . I can simply highlight a sentence that provides evidence of the rubric criteria and click on the aspect of the rubric to provide quick and painless rubric scoring and feedback. Better yet, the rubric can be attached to the assignment in Google Classroom so that students can view it the entire time they are drafting their essays. In addition, it provides students with an opportunity to peer edit based off rubric criteria.

Students can listen to your feedback, make corrections, and resolve their essay issues.

While these extensions made my life as a teacher easier, I was nervous to see if students would be receptive of the idea. To my delight, the students loved it. They were able to click on the link in the comments, play the feedback, and rewind as needed.  Students felt that they received much more detailed feedback that allowed them to improve their essay. They felt that the rubric was able to support my feedback and visa-versa. I had several students request that I continue this method of feedback with the next assignment. Even my struggling students made the corrections I suggested in the audio feedback and seemed satisfied with their final product.

There is nothing better than seeing students actually listen to your comments, make the suggestions, feel empowered, and enjoy the learning and writing process. Leaving audio feedback is not complicated, but change can be hard. I encourage you to take the small step, be brave, and try leaving audio feedback and using digital rubrics.

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