Visualize Your Text with Wordle

Visuals can be a powerful means of expressing lots of information. Teachers who increasingly migrate their knowledge in the form of text to the web through blogs and wikis have a cool new web 2.0 tool, Wordle. Wordle is a web-based program running javascript that transforms lists of words, websites, rss feeds, and tags into pictures.  I ran the program on my blog to generate the above image.  Some websites use a similar technique to create tag clouds, where the most frequent words are proportionally larger than others.

The Boston Globe’s Ideas section recently published (Sunday, 8/3/2008) a Wordle comparison of John McCain’s blog to Barack Obama’s blog and discovered that the most used word on each blog was “Obama.”  Some Wordle lesson ideas for students:

  • copy and paste a student essay into the “bunch of text” feature to analyze vocabulary use
  • compare the use of words used on several websites about the same topic
  • create word collages as art projects; color palettes, fonts, and backgrounds are fully customizable.

What are your ideas for using text visuals in the classroom?

3 thoughts on “Visualize Your Text with Wordle

  1. Sorry but I had to laugh to find out that the most commonly used Word on both their blogs was Obama. I must admit I like the idea of using it for teaching languages and identifying commonly used terms.

  2. I ran Wordle on Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech entitled “The American Promise.” Do you see promise? Great starter activity for students in a social studies or speech class.

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