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Digital Storytelling Part IX- Wordle

A picture is worth a thousand words… A thousand words can tell a story…
Using words as a visual give a different impression than text alone. Visuals can allow us to “see” a concept or, a relationship that text alone might not make apparent. It can tell a visual story of words, keywords, thoughts, text, and data or create a summary.
A relatively new tool, called Wordle, is allowing anyone, without registering to create so called Word Clouds by entering keywords. Create your own Word Cloud with or for your students at http://www.wordle.net

Click on “Create” to start you own Word Cloud.

Allow keywords to tell a story:

  • Create a visual of a concept
  • Make a summary
  • Collaboratively work on a word cloud as a group
  • Write a poem
  • Spelling words
  • Showcase characteristics of a protagonist in a book
  • Lyrics of a song
  • Essay

You can directly type in keywords into the text box in Wordle or create a file in a Word, WordPad or Notepad. You then can copy and paste your keyword list into the text box when you have it complete and refer back to it, when you want to edit the list.

In order to treat two words as one keyword in your word cloud, use the tilde character ~ between the words that go together. The tilde will be converted to a space when drawing the words.
This following Word Cloud was created collaboratively by educators around the world, who contributed keywords that came to their mind when thinking about Digital Storytelling. Words that appear larger were used by more contributors.

Once you have created a Word Cloud, you have different choices of how to save your creation.

  • Print – print to paper or print to .PDF file
  • Take a screenshot- Open in Window, then use Print Screen button on your keyboard or screencasting software, such as Jing, Camtasia, Snag it
  • Save to gallery – give your creation a title and description

Once you cloud is saved to the gallery, two new choices will be available:

  • Save to Del.icio.us account – tag with wordle and other descriptive words.
  • Copy code to create a link on your blog or website.

Other resources:

Please leave a link to the post if you have blogged about using Wordle to tell a story in a lesson!

Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. I just recently discovered Wordle myself and love your thoughts about how it is a tool that can tell a “visual story.” Your idea about using Wordle to create a cloud of attributes or characteristics of a story’s protagonist is such a good one. I’m thinking of trying it in the fall when we delve into a study of character.

  2. [...] I’ve tried to keep up with ways people might use this online tool in their classrooms.  A post to the langwitches blog caught my attention in Pageflakes. The post, titled, “Digital [...]

  3. annebcw says:

    I was just playing around with Wordle earlier today when an idea came to me. It would be a useful activity for the beginning of a unit to promote vocabulary recall.
    I would have students brainstorm vocabulary related to the theme of the unit and then create a Word Cloud. I would then do a peer review to check for spelling errors.They would then save the Word Cloud and use it as their desktop background for at least one week. Students who must bring laptops to school everyday are thus exposed to the target language vocabulary all day long. It would be a good activation of prior knowledge. It would also aid vocabulary retention.

  4. Heidi Mustrós says:

    Muchas gracias Silvia!!!
    Estamos en marcha, visitando mucho tu página, usando las explicaciones. Nos mantenemos en contacto! :) Heidi

  5. bjneary says:

    I have been trying to use Wordle today and once I put the words in and hit the create button, nothing happens but you see in the bottom left the yellow caution symbol with an exclamation point and it days DONE, but with errors on page. Is it a problem with WORDLE today or is there a problem with my district’s
    firewall, etc?

  6. [...] Her blog, Langwitches: The Magic of Learning through Technology received two 2008 Edublogger nominations: for best tech support blog and best resource sharing blog and it’s easy to see why. As we referenced in an earlier post, Silvia has generously shared carefully crafted, thoughtfully designed units that take advantage of the global, collaborative potential of a variety of technology innovations such as blogs and podcasts. In addition, she regularly posts ‘how-tos’ on using tools such as Google Earth, Mixbook and Wordle. [...]

  7. [...] Digital Storytelling Part IX – Wordle from the Langwitches blog; [...]

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