Wordle

I’ve known about Wordle for a quite a while now, but over recent months I’ve learned to respect its power and versatility more and more. For those of you who have not seen it yet, Wordle allows you to create pictures out of words. http://www.wordle.net

I began to recognise Wordle’s real potential during the work I carried out at Blackburn College in March. I had shown the site as part of my Mobile Learning and Web 2.0 presentations there. During these I showed the Learning Apps http://www.textwall.co.uk (ex-Xlearn) Text Wall, which features a Wordle link that presents a picture of any words sent to the Text Wall.

One teacher in the room immediately voiced the potential for Wordle as she saw it. She taught law and suggested that she could first ask learners to text their understanding of a particular act to the wall and she would then create a Wordle image of those texts to begin discussion of that act at the beginning of her next class.

Later, in Cheltenham, teachers became enthused once more with the power of Wordle. Assignment briefs would be headed by a Wordle image; lessons would be introduced via a Wordle image highlighting essential aspects of the forthcoming lesson. Today in Newcastle under Lyme, other ideas included reminders of induction sessions (equality and diversity?) via Wordle images; students creating their own images from their understanding of such (or other) sessions and most interestingly, the review of personal statements for UCAS via Wordle image. An English teacher considered taking a poem, reducing the word-count in Wordle (easy enough to do) and then asking the class to consider THE most prominent words and to create a new poem using those.


(original movie via Screenr at: http://www.screenr.com/Iq2s]

In each place it was Wordle that the majority of teachers took away with them to create change. This always signals success for me and the work I do, as this is always intertwined with reminders of and closer looks at Bloom’s Taxonomy. By using Wordle effectively, learners can be encouraged to analyse, synthesise and evaluate pieces of work whilst ‘creating’ (HOTS in original and revised taxonomies).

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Response to Kathy Schrock

I was recently introduced to Kathy Schrock’s blog http://blog.kathyschrock.net/ by Barrie Roberts on Twitter http://twitter.com/bardenblade/.

Kathy’s 30th March post presents her ideas for applying Google tools to Blooms Taxonomy and showed us this picture http://kathyschrock.net/googleblooms/. The image is a wonderful piece of work and joins a creditable canon of other attempts to capture educational theory within a social media context.

I’m prompted to respond because for once, the image seems to recognise the fact that different levels of Blooms technology can be addressed by almost ANY technology – as it is not necessarily the technology that counts, but the way in which the technology is employed.

In many of my workshops I provide a quick and dirty reminder of Bloom’s and the Revised Taxonomies. I do this to show the participants (usually teachers of one kind or another) that even mobile phones used for texting can address different levels of the taxonomy. I then ask them to recognise the ways in which various Web 2.0 sites can be used and require the participants to place (velcro’d) Web 2.0 logos (onto model pyramids I have made for the task*) according to how they (the participants) feel the site could be used.

Invariably, tools like YouTube are seen as lower order thinking skills (remembering, understanding and applying – LOTS) and some blogging tools are seen as HOTS (higher order thinking skills).

I firmly believe that each tool we use could/can be applied at the higher levels of Bloom’s.

It is the skills of the teacher/tutor/lecturer – whoever, to ensure that the learner’s task requires THEM – the learner, to work at that higher level. Hence (and you will see this on Kathy’s blog picture) YouTube can be used at the top – Creation level. It can also be used at the Remembering level – hence my own filleting fish video, used by learners to simply remember/understand how to do the task before ‘applying’ it.

Thank you Kathy.

*The pyramids have three faces and I use each face for a different task. They are made of a pressed polystyrene and can be assembled out of my suitcase (I am a peripatetic trainer).

Some previous Theory posts