After last week's post on visualising date/time data I was reminded of Wordle and how many people use it to create unusual images. BUT, Wordle is also a good text analysis/visualisation tool that can help many learners begin a more detailed engagement with a passage of text in a visual way.
For example, pasting a textual summary of Macbeth into Wordle (http://www.wordle.net) provides a learner, especially a more visual learner*, with an instant analysis of important aspects of the play.
Any teacher with a bit of imagination should be able to create a variety of learning activities based around a passage of text and a Wordle analysis.
Wordle was created by Jonathan Feinberg (partly on IBM Research time; good old IBM) to generate “word clouds” from text. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text (ie a simple frequency analysis). The site works best using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
I won't review all the other 'word cloud' generator sites today but I will finish with an interesting 17 min video from TED by Jonathan Harris who analysed blog postings to show how the Internet feels:
If you haven't been to the TED website before it really is worth spending some time watching the video presentations.
*Visual Learners - I know there is debate about the scientific rigor of Learning Styles/Preferences (possibly a future Friday Feature) but the notion helps many students so I continue .....