Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From Lit Trips to Wordle ...

My workshop today scheduled for today was on Google Lit Trips. We ended up talking about Wordle. You might ask what the connection is between those two things ...

Our Instructional Technology Department has a wiki where we post resources for the workshops that we do as well as a range of other resources. As I was guiding teachers to that wiki to the Google Lit Trips page which is linked to a LiveBinder full of resources, they saw something they liked on the wiki's front page. On the wiki's frontpage, there is a word cloud created with Wordle.

One of the participants said she had seen an advertisement showing something like that, and she made a copy of it to remember it. I told them about the website I used to create that word cloud. I saw some interest in technology and decided to seize the opportunity. My workshop participants were not classroom teachers and although they may find Google Lit Trips interesting, they might be more likely to use something like Wordle. (By the way I did still share Google Lit Trips information and resources)

These ladies started looking at the gallery in Wordle to see what others had created. As soon as they saw some examples, they started working together to brainstorm how they could use Wordle and who they needed to tell about that site. I started looking at and discussing the gallery with them. We talked about what kinds of projects we thought were being done based on the word clouds in the gallery. (That would be a neat project to do with students since it could work on inferencing skills as well as critical and creative thinking skills.)

One of the ladies decided to try to create a word cloud. She was so impressed with how easy it was to just type in the words (or to copy and paste), and she got so excited about the ability to change the font, the colors, and the layout of the words. She told me that she would not get any work done tonight because she was going to be playing with Wordle. I love that! Find a technology tool and play with it to see what is possible!

While looking at the Wordle Gallery with those teachers today, there was one word cloud that really caught my attention. It was a word cloud made with the world Tangled. Now if the person had just typed in the word Tangled several times, then that one word would just be very large. I noticed that in one word the A was capitalized (tAngled) and in another word the D was capitalized (tangleD) and so on. I thought the repetition of that one word forming a word cloud looked really interesting.

Wordle: tangled

After I got home from the workshop, I noticed that one of my coworkers (Steven W. Anderson) had posted about Wordle on our department blog just yesterday. I made sure to send that resource to the school I was at today. Here are some other Wordle Resource that might be helpful:
(I know that I have written about Wordle before on my blog, so you could do a search of that blog to find out more but I have tried to link the ideas here.)

If you have other ideas for ways to use Wordle, please share them with me. I know there are some other great word cloud creators out there, but I have mainly used Wordle (which is why I guess I keep writing about it).

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