Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wordle: Make Word Clouds quickly and easily

What is Wordle? 

     Wordle is perhaps the most popular site for creating word clouds which can be used for a variety of purposes. 

Why use it? 

Word clouds are great visual tools which can have a variety of uses in education, including: 

  • summarize key vocabulary in a book, unit, lesson, etc 
  • provide unique ways to review a book 
  • search a text to pull out the most popular words 
  • get students to describe themselves 
  • Student reflections 
It can even be used to summarize key words used on a website: 

     Educators and students can certainly find creative ways to use Word cloud generating sites like Wordle. The best reason to use it is that it is completely free and very simple to use. 

How do I create and manage an account? 

     To use Wordle, you do not need to create any account. You can just add the text you want in one of three ways: 

  • By adding the words manually (Tip: repeat a word several times if you want it to appear larger than others). 
  • By adding a URL (great for summarizing key words on a website) 
  • By entering a username 

Is it worth using? 

     Word clouds are fun and simple to make and Wordle makes it possible to make one in just a few minutes. 
The major drawback of Wordle is that you can't actually create an archive of your creations. They will be added to the public gallery but this is not very useful. It would be nice if users could create accounts and share their Wordles with their friends and family. 
It is also not convenient to share Wordles on other sites (such as the ability to get embed code). You need to take a screenshot of your Wordle and then upload this to the site you want to display it. 
Overall, though Wordle is an easy to use site which lets you create visual word clouds quickly.