Wordle tells you a story of Word Power

Do you ever think about the power of words that can brings to you, teachers? A research conducted by McNaught and Lam (2010) suggest that Wordle can be a supplementing tool to faciliate preliminary analyisis in educational research. Based on the data of classroom talk, they can tell a research direction concluded from the data by visilizing some big-sized words. Unbelievable, right?? !!

1 What is Wordle?

It is a tool for generateing 'word clouds' from a text you choose. The more consantly appeared words are shown in a bigger size. You can change the layout, size and color whichever you like. Also, you can share the final version with friends.

Attention! it is very simple to use. Go to this site Wordle. Just follow three steps. 1. click 'Create'; 2. paste the text you want and GO; 3. see your production! (Oops, Java is needed ).

2) Why is this particular tool or technology relevant to language learning? What approaches to language learning or research underpin the use of this technology?

The visulized version of word display gives readers a general taste of a reading text itself. Instead of giving a boring WORD tag to your students to guess the main theme of a reading material, wordle gives you an opportunity to entertain your students before giving them tough work to do.

To a large extent, wordle is much more related to motivation and language learning, givin its fabulous outlook. In other words, students will be attracted at the first sight and would be motivated to do language learning related to this tool.

3) How might you use it to foster language learning in class/outside class?

Besides, what has been mentioned to give students a text guessing task, wordle could also be used in vocabulary learning. It can be a reasonable resource to facilitate vocabulary remembering for three reasons. Firstly, unlike traditional vocabulary list,  this visulized picutre might raise students' interests in terms of its flexiable layout and font. Secondly, students can just focus on frequently-used words  so that to equip them with basic vocabulary range in daily conversation, given those words will stand out by their bigger size. This is good for beginners' level. Thirdly, students not just learn isolated words but know the words that are associated with. It is good when learners actually apply words in real life.

4) What limitations can you see with the use of this technology?

But, although there are massive layouts to choose, it seems only horizontal type is friendly to read. Addtionally, it could be possible that students could lose interests after they see this words toy several times.

Anyway, now I will present you a word cloud from a topic I am interested in today. 

So, can you guess what the content is, then? Haha, Happy Valentine's Day! (The text is from the definition of Valentine's Day, wikipedia.)

McNaught, C and P, Lam.  2010. 'Using Wordle as a Supplementary Research Tool'. The Qualitative Report 15/3: 630-643.

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