Like most Web 2.0 tools, it is available to everyone with an Internet connection. Schools have become leery of utilizing Wordle because the opening page may contain word clouds with inappropriate words. Wordle is not moderated but has directions on how to remove some of the options, like the gallery and random words clouds that appear on the opening page. Simply have the network administrator add these blocked pages to the web filter will allow the students to utilize Wordle in a safe environment. Another way is to have the students go directly to the create page which bypasses the opening page. This does not prevent the gallery page from still being available though.
There are many ways to use Wordle in the classroom. Students can take any text document and look at the high frequency words visually. I simply fund the speech on the Internet, copied and pasted the words into Wordle, and saved it as a jpeg file. For example, the State of the Union speech given by President Barack Obama. This is the result:
This type of visual presentation will provide the students to zero in on concepts important to any classroom discussion. Through the word size, it is easy to differentiate the important concepts. In my example, it is very easy to see that he wants to focus on jobs, energy, and reform for the American people. Just think how this could be used to stimulate the discussions in the classroom.
Tom Barrett has developed an excellent PowerPoint presentation to help teachers think of ways to integrate Wordle into their classroom. While he has listed thirty-eight ways to use Wordle, I am confident that any teacher will be easily able to add their own Wordle implementation to this presentation.
Wordle is so very simple to use that I find it amazing that teachers are not using it more in their classrooms. Perhaps if they really knew how simple and effective it was, they would.