The Wordle is Out!

This is a simple application I’ve discovered recently, and already it’s being used by a great number of people. Like most of the new technology available to us now it’s also entirely free and easy to access and use. A wordle is a graphic representation of a piece of text; I have even heard it described as “word art”. The one at the bottom of the next column is a snapshot of my blog – the more often a word appears in the blog the bigger and more prominent the word in the picture. You get the idea. You key into a box a piece of text or the URL of your blog or web page and a “word cloud” is generated, which can then be downloaded, printed or shared with others. The colour, font and layout of the wordle can be altered with a click of the mouse!

Thanks to digitalmaverick for the presentation below which illustrates the potential of Wordle.


Immediately I can think of a number of uses for this simple device in the classroom. For example:-

  • Summarise a discussion by noting the key words, typing them into Wordle and displaying the result on screen
  • Create your own poem in Wordle and print out in colour for display in the classroom
  • Preview the main themes of a short story or novel by copying and pasting an extract into Wordle and discussing the resulting picture
  • Copy and paste a complex examination piece into Wordle to create an immediate summary of the text before looking at the questions in more detail

 I’m sure you can think of more uses of your own. Please share them so that we can build a really useful tool for teachers. Then go create your own at www.wordle.net

5 thoughts on “The Wordle is Out!

  1. Hi Bill,

    I have fallen in love with Wordle ever since I first came across it. To add to your uses, one aspect that I have been using it for is for revision purposes. As we are now entering that time of year, where pupils churn out essay after essay, it is so easy for some to lose focus of what the question is actually asking. I’ve been encouraging pupils to put their essays into Wordle to see if they are truly answering the given task. If the key words of the task and the relevant central themes of the text do not leap out at you in Wordle, then the pupil understands that they are not fully addressing the demands of the question. So far, it is has been an extremely effective method.

    Cheers

    Andy

  2. You could use wordle for analysing writing. It could give you a snapshot of the diversity of vocabulary being used and also highlight words that are potentially being overused (ie: “said”). On the flipside, you could also produce a list of alternatives for a particular word, and make a wordle of them (ie: for “said” you could have “replied”, “remarked”, “yelled”, “whispered”, and so on).

    The idea of poetry is a good one, because the wordle format in itself lends to the idea of displaying ideas creatively.

    It would also be a visually interesting way of displaying topic words for a unit of study. The interesting visual layout of the words may even help to enhance memorising them as key elements of a topic.

    As this week is “Harmony and Cultural Diversity Week”, I’m thinking I might get my class to make wordles using words that are related to these topics (and then we’ll post them onto the class blog).

  3. Bill
    I introduced the staff to wordle and it is the one web tool that has excited them. It is easy to learn and quite addictive.
    I am using it in junior english – creating list of adjectives and synonyms to describe yourself and turning the wordle into a graphic which is then put into their blogs. Wordles can also make good logos too.

  4. Peter,I think Wordle is good for gathering quickly some key words in preparation for writing – a tech version of the brainstorming exercise with the teacher writing words on the board! Good to have it displayed while students are writing. Interesting Michele that teachers like its simplicity. There’s a message there for all of us. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated to be successful!
    Thanks too for the contribution Andy.
    Bill

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