Sunday, 22 May 2011

Folksonomies and falling in love with Wordle

Until our most recent session I had never even heard of a folksonomy!. A folksonomy is basically a classification system for content; in the case of new technologies, we are looking at classifying websites, resources or documents using tags that can be collaboratively contributed to (also known as social bookmarking). Folksonomies can result in a word cloud where importance is reflected in font size. Delicious, wordle, and word sift are some examples.

Word clouds in the classroom?

There are a myriad of websites, blogs and slideshows dedicated to using word clouds in the classroom. Including Top 10 Wordle Lessons for the Classroom and 46 Interesting Ways to Use Wordle in the Classroom. Here are some of the ideas from these resources that I could see myself using;

  • Students input their own work to see key themes and ideas, and assess if these match the intended purpose of the piece.
  • Students analyse pieces of text through looking at the key words used (or not used) and analyse the reasons these words were so significant. Great for historical speeches, documents and newspaper reports. 
  • Students compare and contrast multiple texts, analyse for bias.
  • Word walls
  • Students can use word clouds to make profiles about their classmates.
  • Students can self and peer assess by inputting assignments into a word cloud to see what themes they hit and what they missed.
  • Instead of traditional graphs students can create a word cloud for class polls.
  • Analyse the language used by fiction authors.
My word cloud! 

Using the text from the website Top 10 Wordle Lessons for the Classroom, I created a word cloud in Wordle to look at the key ideas for using Wordle in the classroom. It is such an easy tool to use, producing visually appealing and engaging results, that would be so useful in many classroom applications.
Word cloud created on by E Fraser using text from retrieved 23/5/11

Social Bookmarking in the Classroom

I created another word cloud using a web article by Grosseck ( to identify the key ways that a social bookmarking site such as Delicious could be used in education. Overall, delicious would be a great tool for students to locate resources, share resources with one another (contributing to collective intelligence) and for teachers to monitor and provide feedback on the research a student is doing for a particular project.

Word cloud created on by E Fraser using text from


  1. Wow Liz. A great overview of the use of folksonomies and wordle in the classroom. I love your suggestions, hopefully you can use some of these on your prac!

    Great linking to other webpages. And great effort with the wordle images. They look very professional and you're right- they are a great way to oragnise information!!

  2. Liz
    I have just spent some time reading your blog and found it very informative and you have helped me clarify a lot of information that I was not quite able to get my head around.
    Thank you for that. I particularly found your definitions of search engines other than google helpful.
    Great blog and I like its clean lines. Very you I think?

  3. Thanks Madison and Helena! Glad to be of assistance! And I am glad my blog is very me Helena. :)

  4. Liz, I found your blog this week really helpful as I missed the lecture last week. Thanks for that!