Sunday, December 8, 2013

First Day of #Techmas Challenge: Wordle

It is the first #TechmasChallenge... today's Techformer's task: Create  a Wordle of your favorite Christmas song.  Before beginning the task, I researched a bit.  I was trying to find ideas for using Wordle in the math classroom.  While I did stumble upon a few math-specific ideas, I felt like I hit the real jackpot when I found Jennifer Wagner's SlideShare presentation in which she shows examples of using Wordle across the curriculum.  From analyzing speeches to artwork reflections, she has compiled a plethora of ideas. In many of her examples, she shows Wordle word clouds layered over background images (see several of her examples below)...
Via Jennifer Wagner's SlideShare
While viewing her creations, inspiration for today's project hit!  Jennifer uses Paint Shop Pro to manipulate the images.   I don't happen to have that particular software, but I do have my trusty Promethean ActivInspire (love!!!!).

Here is what I did to make my layered Wordle image:
1.  After selecting "create" on Wordle and copying and pasting the lyrics of the song into the empty text box, I took a screen shot of my word cloud using Promethean's ActivInspire.
My Original Wordle Image
2.  I hoped that I could manipulate the background in ActivInspire to make it transparent, but honestly was at a loss until I ran across Terri Oswald's how-to video. She's brilliant!  It was just what I needed to make it work.
3.  I found an image that I wanted for my background and layered it behind my word cloud.
Via Vector ClipArt
4.  I cheated a bit and used the "camera" tool to trim some of my Wordle image and the "paint bucket" to fill a few of the words with the bright yellow.  (I found it easier to do in ActivInspire than trying to make the perfect image in Wordle.)  In case you are wondering, I also changed some of the words.

     And that was it - I had my finished product.  Wordle would definitely be a tool that students could use in the classroom. It is super quick and easy to do. I liked the idea of adding the art as a background image because for me, it evokes more of an emotional response than the words alone, making it perfect for our Humanities and English/Language Arts courses.  For math, I am still not sure (my two favorite ideas included creating a Wordle for Common Core Standards to identify important concepts and creating one to identify the mode in a list of numbers); so math teachers, please share how you are using this tool in your classroom. I am anxious to try it with my students!

     Oops! Back to the #TechmasChallenge!!! Without further adieu, my Day 1 creation:

Joy to the World :)

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