I reckon Wordle is a little tool that is very well known by many teachers now. I only found out about it through Joe Dale’s course in London in September (everyone should go on one of his courses btw, I got more out of it in one day than any other course I have been on) and in fact, Joe set me on the path to investigating web 2.0 tools generally. I had seen examples of Wordle around but hadn’t really ever looked into it, but since its uses were shown, I have used it a number of times and passed it on to other teachers in my department.
Anyway, if, like me, Wordle had evaded your attention, here is a little bit about it, and how it can be employed perhaps in lessons. Here is how Wordle describes itself on the title page: ” Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.”
When you go to the website www.wordle.net, click on create and then either type in or paste a load of text into the box. Then click go and your word cloud will appear quickly (you will need Java by the way). Here is an example of one I have quickly done, using an article from www.authentikinteractive.com
Once you have created the wordle cloud, you can adapt it, changing the font, layout and colour schemes, so feel free to play around with it and see what looks effective. You can either print your wordle out then and there, or save it to a public gallery (it’s worth storing the URL for future use if you want to project your word cloud onto a whiteboard). Again, I would really like a self-storing area, being the natural hoarder I am, but this isn’t an option.
So how can Wordle be used – here are some quick ideas:
1. Posters for classrooms or prep revision sheets for pupils
2: Revision games: Maybe have your wordle on the board via a projector and pupils pick a word and say what it means, gaining a point for their team. Cross the word off on the board.
3. Sentence building. Pupils create sentences using words on the poster. Could try and recreate the whole paragraph perhaps
4. Odd one outs. Put a whole load of vocab on the wordle with a few topic exceptions. Also could play categories, eg have rooms, furniture, prepositions, adjectives and relevant verbs in a wordle and pupils have to categorise them.
5. Find key elements of texts, or how many tenses are used within essays.
As I said earlier, there is a lot about how Wordle can be used in MFL already on the web. I read this by Samantha Lunn after going to Joe’s course http://languagesresources.wordpress.com/2009/05/07/23-ways-to-use-wordle-in-the-mfl-classroom/, so definitely go here for more ideas! This was done a couple of years ago, so Wordle isn’t something brand new, just a nice little tool you can easily find a use for.