What’s in your Wordle?
An interesting way to analyze themes in written text is to use a Wordle. What this application does is create a visual representation of the most common words used throughout the text and represent them according to size. The larger the word, the more it has been mentioned. There are various colour and orientation options.
But how can we use this device for critical analysis and reflection?
I copied and pasted the text from the articles I have written for the last year for the Technology Times into the device. I wondered if my musings reflected who I am as an educator and my predominant beliefs. I write these articles with a particular audience in mind, and I wondered if my message was clear.
This is the graphic illustration of my thoughts.
I was pleased that the largest word was “students”, for this represents my over-arching priority which frames my philosophy of education. Next in size is the word “learning”. Great. That is not only what I believe, but the message I want to convey. As I looked deeper, I see many words like “differentiation” and “comments”, strong blocks in my pedagogical foundation.
So here’s an idea for your students’ reflective portfolios. Have them copy and paste their writing into the Wordle, and de-construct the words and thoughts behind them. If they don’t have digital examples of their writing, have them choose a poem, or short story that resonates with their thinking or makes a connection to their world-view. They can’t help but think about what they have written, or read, look for the big ideas, and reflect on choices. Using a wordle can give feedback and affirmation. I know it just did that for me.