Wordle is a site that generates “word clouds”. These word visualizations are generated from a source of text that the user enters. Words that are seen more frequently in the text have bigger prominence in the finished “word cloud”. This makes Wordle an
especially interesting tool for seeing the focus and direction of a piece of text, website or blog. The “word cloud” shown here was generated from entering The Teaching Palettes web address so it visualizes all the content from this site.
There are several ways to create a Wordle. You can use a blog, blog feed or any other web page that has an RSS feed. You can also paste a bunch of text. Once our “word cloud” is created you can save it to the gallery, take a screen shot or print it. There is also simple editing tools for changing the color palette or font of your “word cloud”. Just a “word” of caution (pun intended) that the Wordle gallery is not always appropriate for young audiences.
How can you apply Wordle to the art room? You could take a student’s existing written work, a new short essay or have students write a list of self-describing words and then copy and paste them into Wordle. The more frequent the words appear in the text, the larger the words appear in Wordle. The “word clouds” can be printed for display, saved for a digital display at open house or posted to your classroom digital gallery online. This is what Tricia Fuglestad’s art students did with Wordle. Check out their “Word Clouds” at Artsonia. Students could also use their writing from a poetry or creative writing unit and create it’s visual expression. Share your ideas and examples for incorporating Wordle into the art room.
Update 1/21/09: Use ~ sign to hold two words together (ex. Art~Education)