Posts Tagged ‘screen shots’

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.

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At our last staff INSET in which each department had to talk about innovation within lessons,  this was the last thing I showed off as the Spanish department took centre stage for use of technology in lessons. (it was amusing to see panicking teachers from other departments before this INSET, given that a number of staff here still struggle with email and word processing!) I had shown off Vokis, GoAnimate and Chogger first, but thought I would show Jing as it is something everyone can use. It isn’t a language creation tool, but actually a way of making videos of what you are doing on screen, or indeed taking screen shots.

I have used it a great deal since I found out about it in September. When pupils send me prep via email, I take a video of me marking their prep on screen, talking through their mistakes and explaining why things are wrong, and highlighting best bits of writing and so on. You have a maximum of five minutes to talk through it and this is more than enough to explain most things fully. The best bit of this is that you give much fuller feedback than you can marking by pen or just by correcting things on the screen, as there is a much more ‘personal’ approach. The feedback I have got back from certain pupils includes ‘every teacher should use this’, ‘I showed my parents and they were amazed at how useful it is’ and a number of pupils now do all their written preps via email so they can get more out of their feedback. I’ve also used it for UCAS personal statements with my Upper 6th tutees.

Other potential uses include showing pupils how to find resources (make a screenshot video of you going to places on the internet for example) or how to use other webtools (I’ve done short bideos for various web 2.0 tools already) and to create documents with screenshots of various things. All of the images in the first four blog entries were taken with Jing for instance.

Jing is free to download from the following address http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html?gclid=CNzGkf7ulq8CFYsntAodoHk9Uw . When you have downloaded it, you will need to open the program (it will be under Techsmith) and then a yellow half sun will go to the top of your computer screen. Click on the sun to choose the video or screenshot option and then record as normal. (Make sure your mic is enabled – the program will ask you for this the first time you use it). When you have finished, you have the option to save or to send to someone. If you choose the send option it creates an automatic link which you can past into an email. All of your videos are also uploaded to a screencast account, which gives you plenty of space for a lot of videos.

I find Jing indispensable, and some of the other staff at my school are now using it as well, having got over their fears of moving out of the 19th century! It makes marking a much fuller process and really helps pupils with the quality of feedback for their work.

Here is a link to a Jing tutorial to help you get to grips with it. Good luck, I’m sure it will be really useful.