I don’t think I’ve talked about Wordle before. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a very neat visualisation tool for analysing a chunk of text.
Simply go to the Wordle website and paste in the text you want to analyse (or you can put in a URL of a site you want to look at). It then produces an image made up from the words in that text. The more common a word, the bigger it appears.
You can change the colour scheme and the font used, then save your Wordle to share with others. Or you could print screen and paste it into image editing software.
Here’s an example Wordle I made from the opening chapter of a famous book. Can you guess what book I made this from?
If you didn’t guess, it’s chapter 1 from HG Wells “The War of the Worlds”. To make this I first went to Project Gutenberg to get the text of the book. I then copied and pasted it into Wordle. Was very quick to do.
Here are just a few ideas on how you could use Wordle in the classroom:
- Use to introduce a topic – pupils could guess what they will be learning about.
- Comparing different newspapers – look at the same story in a Broadsheet and a tabloid newspaper (website) and compare the wordle clouds produced – how do the words used differ?
- Self-reflection on work – as Wordle makes a word larger the more frequently it is used, pupils will be able to see at a glance which words or phrases they are over-using. Are they using the word Nice or Good too often?
- Use to analyse the content and gist a longer written text, especially with exam or higher level groups
- To introduce new vocabulary or to memorise new vocabulary/vocabulary lists
- Revision of key topics and vocabulary – pupils can create their own worldes or they can be given them to use
- To give presentations without reading from a sheet and just using prompts
- Encouraging creative writing from a selection of key words from a word cloud
- See results of a class survey visually – maybe use an Etherpad to collect the text first, then paste into Wordle
Here are some more great ideas for using Wordle in the classroom
23 Ways to use Wordle in MFL – from Language Resources Blog
10 More ways to Use Wordle – from Wordle users group on Google
38 Interesting Ways to use Wordle – From Ideas to Inspire
Five reasons to use Wordle by Terry Freedman
As an alternative to Wordle you could also use WordSift. It does not make such a pretty word cloud, but it does also provide a visual thesaurus for each word it picks out.
Have a play with Wordle and Wordsift and see what you think!