Recently I had the opportunity to briefly address around 900 teachers in the school District where I serve as an Education Council member. The primary purpose of District Councils in New Brunswick is to set the overall vision and goals that are in turn operationalized by District Staff. We are beginning a new 4 year term and will be undertaking a great deal of strategic planning in the next few months - finding a common focus, revisiting mission statements, goals and strategies, and reinvigorating our education plan.
While I was officially at the event to bring greetings on behalf of the Council, I decided to take the opportunity to invite teachers to get involved in our strategic planning. I thought it best to give them an example of what the future could look like. I described for them one vision of the future referenced in the OECD’s excellent document Schooling for Tomorrow, which I referenced in the post “The school is dead…Long live the school“. (Hence the prevalence of the word “scenario” in the above cloud).
I’ve played around with various Wordle clouds since finding this tool several months ago, and I’ve read some interesting points of view as edtech bloggers have played with the tool and debated the educational value of it. This is the first time I’ve used it to really analyze a piece of my writing for content and I have the following observations:
- Wordle is a lot of fun. I enjoy playing with the fonts, colours and other alterable aspects.
- But it can be more than fun. Finding the right combinations to convey the message you want is a good exercise. I chose the above cloud for the separation it created for the word “learning” – it was the central focus of my remarks and I like how it floats on its own.
- It is amazing how many different words one can say in a few minutes. Too many words can be distracting from the message so I cut this cloud down to the top 100 words.
- I created this wordle cloud after the fact, but there is great potential to use the tool ahead of time to help me shape the message I want to convey.
- I use the word ”really” much too often.
There are a lot of people playing around with Wordle - try it for yourself and check out the gallery. It is a great little tool – for work and for play.