FV #13 - Wordle + Google Forms


When I was a kid I remember the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercial that ended with the tag line: "two great tastes that taste great together" (awful quality but you can watch it here).  Well, Wordle and Google Forms are also two things that go great together and can be a great way to create a meaningful visual.

Wordle - Wordle is well known and well loved by millions of people.  If you have not seen it before, it is a simple to use, web-based program that generates "word clouds".  The more frequently a word appears in a block of text (which you can copy/paste into Wordle), the larger the word.  

Google Forms - Forms are available through (the totally free) Google docs and can be a simple way to create a survey or response system.  If you have a gmail account, you already have access to Google forms.  Just go to google docs, click the "create new" button and select forms.  There are tons of tutorials out there on the Internet if you want more information than that.

Now, what is cool here, is that you can create a form to capture some data or information and then paste it into Wordle to get a view of the responses that is pretty unique.  For example, I recently asked teachers to let me know their 5 favorite technology tools (I used this form). I then copied their responses and pasted them into the following Wordles.  The larger the word, the more times that word was mentioned.  The first Wordle shows just the top 25 most mentioned words, the second one shows all the responses.  Pretty interesting both in terms of what was mentioned (LCD projectors & document cameras rule!), and what was not mentioned (cloud-based apps, twitter, smartboards, etc).  I now have a picture of what teachers feel is important.  I could run this same experiment every 6 months and see how it changes over time.

click image to enlarge

Now, you could use Wordle+Google Forms with students in an unlimited way... next time you want to gather some information from the kids, try it out.  The more you use this, the more interesting uses you will come up with.  Make sure to use the comments to share your ideas.