Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Google Gifts: Writing Feedback with the JoeZoo Express Add-on for Google Docs

During the weekdays of December, we're sharing one tool per day.  We're calling it our Google Gifts series.  Some of these come directly from Google, and others are tools that enhance Google Apps or Chrome.  

Previously this week, we shared Google Classroom and Grammarly.  Today, we're sharing JoeZoo Express, an add-on that helps provide writing feedback and rubrics within Google Docs.

As an add-on, this is something you would install inside of a Google Doc.  Once installed, though, it will be available for other docs in Google.  There are other add-ons that provide enhanced commenting features (Kaizena) or rubric-building (Orange Slice), but what sets JoeZoo apart is that it doesn't require the student to install the add-on, it has 88 pre-loaded comments for common areas of writing feedback, it color-codes the feedback into 5 major categories (formatting, grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and structure), and has a rubric tool built in.

Why would I use it?  What does it do?
According to John Hattie in Visible Learning, “… when feedback is combined with a correctional review, feedback and instruction become intertwined until ‘the process itself takes on the forms of new instruction, rather than informing the student solely about correctness.’ ” (p. 174)  So, it's important to think not only about providing feedback but making it "visible" and meaningful to the learner.   Here is a brief overview of the 3 main areas within JoeZoo Express:

This is a relatively new add-on which will likely have significant improvements in the coming months.  Its strength is in helping provide customizable, color-coded and preloaded comments for frequently used feedback sets.  However, the rubrics in Schoology are much more flexible, sharable, can be used on mobile devices, and track student performance over time (which is visible to both students & parents).  We'd recommend using JoeZoo during the writing process and using Schoology for rubric grading.

Where can I learn more?
JoeZoo's website has video tutorials to help teachers learn how to install the add-on, add feedback, and build rubrics.  If this is a tool that you think you will use, they also have an option to receive an email when new updates are added.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kellie! Great post - very thorough and fair.

    We'd like to make JoeZoo better, faster and simpler to use for the CCSD teachers and students.

    Would you be open to chatting so that we can collect your ideas/wishes? You'll be surprised how quickly our team incorporates the feedback and ideas from our community of users.

    Feel free to reply by social media or send us an email to

    The JoeZoo Crew wishes you and the rest of the CCSD a happy and healthy Holiday Season!