Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Quiz
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Roundtables
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
About
Staff
Partners
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Privacy
Quiz Rules
Blog
Outreach
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

Wordle

fragment, gettysburg address wordle

What is it?

The creators of Wordle define this free tool as a toy. Wordle is definitely fun to play with, but it's also a learning tool for visualizing and analyzing text. And it's adaptable to learning objectives for K–12.

Plug a block of text, a URL, or even delicious bookmarks into Wordle, and the program generates a word cloud—a graphic that amplifies font sizes of words based on how frequently they are used in the material you've provided.

Getting Started 

To create a world tag cloud, simply follow directions on the Create page.

What you don't want to miss are the opportunities to work with font, layout and color once your tag cloud is created. Why? Design choices help position words and differentiated size gradations to provide more concrete examples of the vocabulary, ideas, and concepts you're encouraging your students to explore.

Tools help teachers design Wordle clouds to emphasize learning objectives.

You can save your Wordles in the Wordle Gallery (although it will be difficult to retrieve later) or on your hard drive. To keep a copy on your computer, select the option to "open in Window" below the Wordle and take a screenshot. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) answer possible difficulties.

Teacher Tube offers a four-minute video demonstrating the program.

Examples 

Educators have generously shared examples of classroom adaptations of Wordle to build vocabulary (a useful tool for ESL learners) and to write and discuss literature; many of these examples are adaptable to analyze and simplify primary source documents in the history classroom; wordle graphics can jump start close reading of primary sources.

This Slideshare presentation, Free Tools: Middle School Tech, suggests a collaborative learning exercise applicable to exploring primary source documents. Pupils looked at word clouds created from articles and tried to ascertain the gist of original articles. Half the class then explained to the other half what they thought their article was about while the teacher displayed each word cloud in turn on an interactive white board highlighting the words one at a time and extracting relevant useful vocabulary. The teacher then handed out copies of the original articles in full to pupils and discussed vocabulary further.

Wordle clouds help students learn vocabulary and extrapolate major themes.

The Boston Globe offers a visualization of The Candidate as a Pile of Words, a visualization of the blogs of President Obama and Senator McCain.

Fewer examples specifically address Wordle in history and social studies instruction, but blog postings such as Rodd Lucier's Top 20 Uses for Wordle offer a number of cross-curricular examples of using Wordle to foster analytical thinking and to help explore relationships and themes. "Show Today in History stories in a new way," he suggests, and the resulting Wordle graphic on the Cuban Missile Crisis creates a picture in which the words Kennedy, Soviet, Cuba, and atomic dominate.

Word Cloud Analysis of Obama's Inaugural Speech Compared to Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Lincoln's offers instant analytical possibilities. For example, Lincoln's most frequently used word in his first inaugural address is Constitution; in his second, war dominates.

And beyond Wordle, blogger Terry Freedman writes Word Clouds; Tag Clouds. Which is the best software? explores a variety of tag cloud options and teaching ideas.

And educator-blogger Jonathan Wylie writes about Top 10 Ways to Use Wordle's Word Clouds for Classroom Lessons. Some entries in this top ten list specifically address history; others are easily adapted. For example, instead of Personal Narratives suggested in Item One, substitute brief biographies of historic figures.

Wordle may be gratis, but it

Wordle may be gratis, but it is not Open Source.

From the Clearinghouse: Good

From the Clearinghouse:

Good point! Thank you. Open source refers to shared software that users are welcome to modify and develop according to their own needs. Proponents of open source software quite specifically differentiate it from free software--which may come with limitations and qualifications on ownership, use, and reproduction. (The Clearinghouse, for example, is built on the open source content management platform, Drupal.)

Open source has also taken on a more extended cultural meaning to refer to using and sharing many kinds of content and information besides software. Here again, issues of copyright, patent, and attribution become delicate.

I like Tagxedo better:

I like Tagxedo better: http://www.tagxedo.com/

Does the same thing as wordle but you can pick a shape or create a word to fill in.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <b> <i>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
 
Content