And another thing

One of the thoughts posted in a June post on EdTech Solutions: teaching every student blog. Something that many are trying to change but I can’t disagree!

Trying to change this!

Trying to change this!

Using Wordle in schools

The idea of creating Tag clouds is not new or unique but the Wordle application offers those in schools with a uniquely visual way to view and/or analyse some text. It is very simple to use and the results are created quickly. The style can be changed easily, if required, and easily saved. 

With greater prominence given to words that are used more frequently, it allows for a piece of text to be analysed in a visual way. The text could be a letter, discussion piece or an essay that is put into the Wordle text box. Wordle instantly reveals the central points or overused words. The text could then be analysed, revisited and/or improved.

 

We used this aspect in the library this week when we made a Wordle using a number of lists of banned books. The authors, the titles and types of books were entered into the text box. Overwhelmingly the word “novel” stood out. A second Wordle on banned authors had William Shakespeare and George Orwell as the standouts. This could form part of a greater discussion about the reason for this and we intend to give the issues of banned books and censorship a wider focus at a later date, perhaps as part of Social Justice Week, run at our school each year.

 

We are also using Wordles as the basis for one of the competitions for Book Week. We created Wordles of synopses of various well known books (taking out any references too unique to the book) and printed out copies. One of the library staff members had fun playing with the colours and formats. We did one for “Bryan Strauchan: my story” and made it black and white. (Bryan Strauchan is a fictional character who plays for a football team that happens to have team colours of black and white.) Another book involving animals was done making the Wordle resemble tiger stripes. The Wordles look great laminated and I will also be putting up digital versions on the library website.

Wordles could be made from many forms of text, song lyrics, poems or words relating to specific topics and then made/used as competitions, to get discussions started or to focus minds on a topic/issue. I’m sure that others are using Wordles in ways I haven’t thought of.

I want to introduce this little tool to more of the teachers in our school. I have shown one or two but my next step would be to introduce it to a larger group in a technology segment, perhaps a faculty meeting. I don’t see the use of this tool being solely in the English faculty, although any area that studies words and language is the most obvious.