Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We love Wordle, but....

In our search for internet resources that are suitable for use by students in the classroom and at home, we really love Wordle as a tool. The visual display of words really gets across the main idea in a number of ways. In fact, we are using a Wordle of our blog as our display background on our Twitter page.


Yesterday, I was speaking with my niece, who was going to use Wordle with her 2nd grader to display information about the State of Indiana for his end of year Social Studies project.

The conversation went something like this.

"Aunt Susan, be very careful in recommending Wordle on your site for use in the classroom. I was sitting at the computer with Jack. We did an amazing Wordle on the Indianapolis Colts, and then decided to look through the gallery. We went to the home page and I almost slammed the laptop on his fingers, because there was a featured collection of very, very obscene words."


So I went to the FAQ for Wordle and found this:

"I'm a teacher, and I'd like to use Wordle in the classroom or send my students to use it at home. Can you filter or moderate Wordle's content?

Wordle, as it stands, is inappropriate for classroom use. This is because I do not censor the content that appears on Wordle (I couldn't possibly; there are thousands a week), and, therefore, it's possible to find images in the public gallery that are entirely unsuitable for younger users.

I saw an obscene Wordle. Could you take it down?

I cannot moderate or filter Wordle, as many thousands are created each week. I also cannot become an arbiter of decency. Therefore, unless someone has exposed your personal information (such as your name and phone number), I'm not going to take it down."

Teachers and parents, please keep this in mind as you use Wordle with children. You may want to link to Wordle's "Create" page, instead of the home page if you intend to use it in your classroom or at home.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, or email us directly.