Undoubtedly, Wordle has turned into a quite a popular tool among teachers interested in New Media. Wordle is simple. It just counts the words in a text, words with higher frequency are displayed bigger than less frequently-appearing words.
Anyway, I’d like to suggest some Best Practice scenarios for (EFL) lessons.
Video Tutorial: How Wordle works
1. Interpreting famous speeches
In my case I used the famous MLK speech (copied it and pasted it into Wordle) and let students analyze why certain words are bigger than others in order to understand linguistic/thematic key concepts of this speech (of course, words like freedom are quite big due to high frequency)
2. Using song texts
In order to analyze certain topics/words/phrases, song lyrics are brilliant for Wordle
3. Using Biographies
Among others, I fancy using Wikipedia bios and paste them into Wordle, then I delete certain keywords, like the name of the person (just click on the word in the cloud, right mouse button and delete). Then students have to guess the person due to the Wordle biography.
4. Association Cloud
I used this task when I started the topic USA. Students form groups, they’ll have 10 mins time in order to collect words/phrases they associate with the US. Then one representative of each group comes and tells me their top 3 words and I’ll type them into Wordle. After every single representative has told me their top notch words, I’ll create a Word Cloud and project it onto the wall. Then discussion why certain words appear the most begins …
So on the whole, powerful, uncomplicated, interpretative and interactive lessons are prepared within no time with Wordle.
image by AceAcademic! (from www.wordle.net, last access: January 8th, 2011)