Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Colours, Clouds, and Vocabulary Combined in One

Colours, Clouds, and Vocabulary Combined in One (mp3)

Wordle- The Online Vocabulary Tool

Generally, today's students are mostly visual learners and word clouds provide visuals for students to interpret and understand the words and language on a deeper level. In addition, colours effect memory and the brain;s capacity to retain more information. In other words, a colour picture is easier to remember compared to a picture of black and white. Hence, by combing colours and visuals in language teaching, teachers may increase students' attention and retention. Will you teach students new group of vocabulary by using a plain text, printed on a plain white piece of paper, or teaching students using this example:

I will definitely will agree teaching the students by using the word cloud above, filled with wonderful colours and word style. Hence, in this post, I will introduce a new website called Wordle. Wordle allows not only teachers to create word clouds as above to teach the students, students themselves can make full use of this website to search for new and frequent vocabulary in a text. By providing a short text or full article into a blank space in the website, this magnificent will produce a visual Tag Cloud of the most common words used in the text. Below is the link and a picture describing how and what can be done in creating a word cloud using Wordle:

1) Insert your text.

There is a large white blank space in the middle of the webpage. In that blank page, users are allowed to copy and paste a short text or an article into that space. After pasting in the text, press Go, and the webpage will lead you to the next page.

2)Word Cloud created.

After clicking Go in the previous page, a word cloud of the new and frequent vocabulary used in the text will be created. Users are allowed to edit the word cloud, which i will describe in the following step. When the user is satisfied with the cloud created, the user can either save it, or PRINT it out.

3)Editing your word cloud.

In this section, users can edit the word cloud in any ways that they desire. There are a few options available for the users to edit their word cloud.
  • Language- Insert or cut out any language that the user wants in the word cloud from the text.
  • Font- Users get to choose from a large variety of beautiful style of fonts.
  • Layout- Edit the way of the words is shown in the word cloud, such as horizontal, vertical, mix, etc.
  • Colour- Users get to choose a variety of colours prepared by the creator of Wordle to use for the vocabulary in the word cloud, or the users can edit the colours of the word cloud by selecting the colours manually.

Below are a few beautiful examples of word clouds:

Is it useful in teaching language in a language classroom?

Wordle is basically link to vocabulary, so it has a direct link to language teaching and language classroom. It all depends on how the teacher wish to teach the students and also the level of the students. However, the level of students is usually related to the level of the text inserted to make the word cloud. The word cloud can be used in language teaching in many ways. Educators can use it to teach it through traditional way of teaching, such as having the students to define or explain to each other each vocabulary in the word cloud. This activity can be done as a post-reading activity, at the very end of the lesson. Besides the traditional way of teaching students language using Wordle, these are some other ways that a teacher can use to teach using word clouds:
  • Have the students to create a Wordle themselves as an ice breaking activity.
  • The teacher could assign each group of students of what they are about to study and have them come up with as many facts as they can. After writing down their words, they can present their Wordle to the class and compared with other groups.
  • Students are required to create a Wordle from a reading assignment to use as a pre-reading activity.
  • Give students a specific topic, such as 'friendship' and have all the students to use Wordle shown in the screen to seek out all words related to friendship.


Wordle is a superb website and now is one of the most famous vocabulary teaching tool, spreading among all teachers around the world. This is due to the advantages the website got to offer, such as:
  1. It's free.
  2. No account is needed
  3. Wordle is easy as 1,2,3
  4. Users are able to print out the word cloud for classroom activities purposes


However, there are too disadvantage in using this website; and the weakness is that the users could not edit the format of the words shown in the word cloud.


Post a Comment