Wordle : a weird tool for great uses

Today, I wish to talk about Wordle, a great tool for lexical analysis that can be easily used by ESL teachers for certain uses. But first, let’s explain what the tool is.

Wordle is a free online tool that takes a text (you decide which) and converts it into a colourful page with different words that appear in your text. However, the beauty of it is that it chooses the words that are used the most and differnciates the different words by size and colours. This is how the website presents it :

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.


To give you a better insight on the finished product, here is a text about memorization strategies I have used to create a wordle :


It is fairly easy to use since you just have to copy paste your text into the ”create” section. However, as I have foud out by trying to copy and paste the wordle into my blog, you cannot do it directly. Indeed, as I have found out in this google groups, the only way you  can copy paste it is by print screening the page and then process it through paint to have your word cloud only. You can, however, onpen the could on another window to make it bigger. By doing so, it is easier to precess it and the resoltion is better.

The wordle website also offers and advanced option but requires coding and you can also remove words from the cloud which is also great.

Why use wordle ? :

– As Steven Anderson states it, it is easy to use.

– It has many classroom possibilities.

– It is visually atractive and intuitive.

– Students and teachers can use it.

– It is free (which is great because a lot of tools out there aren’t)

– It can be easily used for self reflection.


Why not use wordle ? :

– You cannot copy paste easily your wordle

– As Phil Bradley mentions it, wordle uses web 2.0 which tends to crash down sometimes.

– As Sanjiv Kumar Alay presents it, wordle does not allow reediting once it is saved.

– There are other, maybe better alternatives (but also more complicated sometimes) such as Tagxedo.


How to use wordle in an ESL context ? :

1. Key vocabulary learning. Since it gives you the words that are the most present in your text, teachers can use this tool to show students certain words before reading or certain concepts that work together.

2. As these slides present it, use this tool to help everyone know each other by entering their names in a wordle.

3. Use wordle to convey a linguistic activity with parts of speech and different grammar points.

4. Use wordle to generate questions on a topic for the different main aspects will appear as keywords.

5. Use it to teach certain vocabs.

6. Use it to convey feelings that students have towards the classroom or others.

7. As suggested on these slides, use it for a poetry or writing activity where they have to use the words.


As you can see, Wordle offers many possibilitiers in a simple tool.

Go, and wordle!




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