What to do with Wordle

Have you tried Wordle?  If you provide the text, Wordle will create a word cloud that will display each word used in the source text in a font size based on the frequency that the word appears in the source. The more the word is used, the larger it appears. Take a look at Wordle’s gallery to see some examples.

Some have criticized Wordle by suggesting that Wordle’s only attribute is that it is eye-catching.

I’m okay with that. I can work with eye-catching. Below is a Wordle I made using all the text from a recent test.

Wordle the Test
Wordle the test at Wordle.net

A few days before the test, I shared this with my students. They were eager to hypothesize as to how words like “astronaut” or “gravy” would be used to access there knowledge of friction and momentum. Some student suggested possible questions that used the terms from the word cloud. A few of their questions were so good that I plan to use them next year.

While Woodle wasn’t able to teach physics, it was able to start a conversation. That’s perfect. I can take it from there.