Wordle–how to create a “word cloud”

I recently saw a “word cloud” poster on the wall of a classroom. I asked the teacher I was observing about the poster and she said she had made it using Wordle. With Wordle, you can create an image, made of words, where certain words are more prominent than others. You can also choose different fonts, colors, and layouts to further customize your image.

As a pre-service high school English teacher, I LOVE words, and Wordle is a great learning tool because with it, I can so easily create a visual representation of the connections made between concepts and ideas and details and words. Wordle could also be used as a creative and collaborative visual element of a lesson—students could add words and thoughts during the course of a discussion—a dynamic and organic reflection of the day’s learning.

Wordle is super easy to use. I went to http://www.wordle.net and selected “Create your own” on the Home page. I inserted the text from this description to create a word cloud of my Learning Tool Exploration. After pushing “Go,” I edited the font and layout of my word cloud and this is what I created:

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 7.25.45 PM

It is important to note that before using Wordle, you may need to download or update Java before you are able to begin making your word cloud. Also, the site suggests using the web browsers Firefox or Safari.

Prezi–a more creative and visually appealing presentation platform

Module 7: Learning Exploration Tool—Prezi

This week, I spent some time exploring and creating a small Prezi presentation. Since I already had a resume made, I used the “Resume” template and explored, learning some basics about how to create a Prezi. I had not used any other format for presentations besides a Powerpoint slide show until today but I love the more visual and connections based concept behind this learning tool. I only scratched the surface in regard to the creative possibilities available when creating a Prezi, but it was a lot of fun. The quick shifting from graphics and brackets of text made me a little dizzy at first, but it was immediately apparent to me that this is a tool I need to become more familiar with and incorporate into my future lessons.

Before beginning to make my own little Prezi, I watched a short informational video on the website which I felt fell short of teaching me many of the basics. So, I did a bit more research before deciding to dive on in, experiment and explore. Once the Prezi format is chosen, I practiced zooming in and zooming out of different sections of the presentation, adding and editing text as I went. This type of presentation is fluid and visually appealing, unlike more linear and restrictive presentations made with Powerpoint.

I did feel restricted occasionally, unsure how to move from one section of text to another and how to zoom out to see the rest of the presentation after I had zoomed in on a particular word or phrase. Instead of trying to navigate the presentation with my mouse like continually wanted to do, I found that using the navigation arrows on my keyboard was the best way to move from section to section.

I know it may not look like much, but here is the link to my first attempt at making a Prezi: Meg’s Prezi