Using Wordle

Have you heard of Wordle.net? This is a site that allows you to cut and paste text, then it automatically generates a word cloud. Each word appears once, but words are larger in size depending upon the number of times that they are used in the text. So, it is a fun tool to explore key words or potential themes. Take for example the following. It is a word cloud of the Emancipation Proclamation. Does this indicate any emphases in the speech? Perhaps the “United States”? :-).

A friend recently pointed out how he used Worldle in the classroom. Students posted President Obama’s inaugural speech as well as J.F.K. inaugural speech. They could then compare/contrast the key words.

The tool does have some limitations. It only deals with specific words, so it doesn’t take into account synonyms. Nonetheless, I can see some interesting educational uses for such a tool. With that in mind, the owner of the site notes that it isn’t necessarily appropriate for k-12 classroom use, as some of the public word clouds on the site may not be appropriate for students.

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About Bernard Bull

Dr. Bernard Bull is an author, host of the MoonshotEdu Show, professor of education, AVP of Academics, and Chief Innovation officer. Some of his books include Missional Moonshots: Insights and Inspiration for Educational Innovation, What Really Matters: Ten Critical Issues in Contemporary Education, The Pedagogy of Faith (editor), and Adventures in Self-Directed Learning. He is passionate about futures in education, educational innovation, alternative education, and nurturing agency and curiosity.