Playing With Wordle

I have seen many interesting Wordle creations [beautiful word clouds] over the last couple of years, but have never taken the time to create one.  As part of my ‘playing in the sand’ time, I’ve decided to play and create a Wordle image or two. Just based on their aesthetic value alone, I can see their value in a visual arts class.

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Create your own at http://www.wordle.net.

Aside from figuring out how to embed the image [ended up using a screen capture], I have found the process relatively intuitive, easy, quick, and even fun.  This could be something that could quite easily fit into the classroom.

Here are few others.  This one was created simply by typing in the web address of this blog page, and so this is a visual representation of the content of this blog.  It is interesting to note the differences of this image and the Tag Cloud that is in the bar on the right.  The Tag Cloud seems to show a longer term cloud, and the Wordle image is a cloud of more recent activity.

Just a quick browse through the gallery at wordle.net makes two things pretty clear.  1 – this is quite popular, dozens of wordle images are created and added to the galler every minute.  2 – there are a wide array of applications for such creations.  Many things come to mind, advertising, love letters, greetings, poetry, and on and on it goes…  I’ve been thinking this would be an interesting way to display intro or cover pages to unit, presentations, or slideshows.  In this example, I’ve played with the advanced tab, and customized colours, sizes, and word groupings.

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4 Responses

  1. Ryan: Once again you amaze me your your ability to create things with the web and computer. I spent some time on Wordle and cam out with nothing to show for it. I really do not know how you do it. It takes me hours to find something simple. I wish I had your abilities. Maybe we could get together and you could show me. I would like to try and make a cloud for presentations, class intros and even unit introductions for PAA. I am going to try again because of the inspirations you give me. Thanks

    K

    • Thanks Kev. It was relatively simple to create. It was getting the image up onto my blog that had a bit of a trick to it. I’d be glad to get together to show you the trick. After the image was created in Wordle, I had to do a screen capture (hold the function[fn] key while pressing the insert[prt sc] key). What this does is captures exactly what is displayed on your screen (its in your temporary computer memory – the clipboard). Next you need to open a photo editing program. I think these laptops have MS Paint in the Start>Programs>Accessories menu. The next step is to create a new image file in Paint, and select Paste from the Edit menu (shortcut is ctrl + v). This will paste the image of your screen from the clipboard into the new image file in Paint. Lastly, save the image file somewhere, name it, and you’ve got a Wordle image that is ready to use, post, whatever. Simple, right? Huh! I can help.

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