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As you can see from my attempts, I used various sources to generate the word clouds. Although, each one was very pleasing and interesting to look at in terms of color, font, and arrangement - I doubt that my word clouds convey specific content. In the words of the Bible 1Co 14:9 (NIV) "Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air." So I guess my frustration lies around not being able to provide a more meaningful context. As the creator of a Wordle word cloud I can see some association of concepts, but I am not convinced someone else would come see the same. The interpretation of the word clouds reminds me of the famous Rorschach inkblot tests at best. Thus, highly subjective and may reveal more about the interepreter than the creator's thinking. I think in some instances the fewer words the better in terms of providing focus of meaning.
I did experiment with the random feature and looked at the different font, color, and style combinations, which are probably on the order of thousands of possible combinations.
As to using Wordle for a class of adult learners, it could be used as a creative exercise. It may be difficult in using it to convey explicit knowledge. I think it could provide some thought provoking dividing pages between PowerPoints or Manuals. The pages could be used to introduce topics or sections. The Wordle could provide major themes or ideas to be covered. Of course you could use it as an ice breaker or interpretive exercise in Second Life by creating the Wordle and uploading it on to an in-world presentation board to be used by Second Life learners.
The creator of Wordle expressed concern for using the application of Wordle in a classroom context in that he does not censor or delete content that may be inappropriate for younger students. However, Miss Fran O'Leary of the English and Media Studies department of Redruth School claims she has found some value in using Wordle in introducing new vocabluarly words. Although she is not certain as to why this method is successful.
Having students use worlde with their own vocabulary can be a unique way to learn. Students reading a book can be required to "wordle" vocabulary they don't understand, or words they need to learn. They can also do a "one-word" definition wordle to coinside with their vocabulary words. This site provides a very unique oppurtunity. Maybe one group of kids have to define the vertical words, or the orange words, while the others define the horizontal words or the blue words. The list of possiblities goes on and on. This can be used in every discipline as well. History teachers can use it for themes, math teachers for terms. Every discipline has a unique vocabulary. This is can be a nice time saver for teachers and fun for the students.
Observations and Reflections by GingerWorking with wordle clouds is a fun, creative and visible way of capturing focal points and ideas of texts, paragraphs, documents, words (or group/list of words) and other resources. Wordle can be used to make catchy posters and attractive screen savers. Another useful example is having a wordle slideshow with a few pictures of your organization displayed at a booth (as I am doing now in Africa, yay!) or even at the entrance to an event or building. People immediately turn their heads and attention and 90-95% of the time stopped to watch and look around the booth. With the right and effective use of wordle, it can be inviting.
When first introduced to wordle clouds for this assignment, I could not see and grasp the correlation with social bookmarking. My basic understanding of how wordle works was the more you use a word in a paragraph, the more emphasis or bigger size it becomes in your wordle cloud. After using and understanding more about wordle, that was just one way of looking at it. Another way wordle is useful taking the key points of your topic and putting and emphasizing single words that would best capture those points and ideas. Wordle then becomes an accessible tool for all audiences in communicating, educating, advertising, socializing and many other fields.
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