Engaged! EtherPad to Wordle

Real-time Collaborative Brainstorming – What Fun! What Good Learning!

When students have access to computers or personal devices (Netbooks or iPad3+) you can easily create a real-time collaborative writing page that will also generate a word cloud to show the dominant terms students wrote. Here are the steps.

1. Go to PrimaryPad (click on the link or the image below) and then click on the “Create New Pad” button. 2. Copy the URL / WebAddress that is automatically generated for your page.

3. Paste the URL into your Blog post so students can all access the same page.

4. Edit the PrimaryPad page to include any instructions / prompts you want students to respond to.  Then turn off the Authorship Colors so that only students’ writing is colored.

 5. Now you are ready to engage the students in an activity such as this by Year 11 English students who analyzed two scenes from Rebel Without a Cause.  Have students enter their names in the Author Icon so everyone can see who is writing in which color.

6. Once students have completed the writing, you can have them read through it, edit or select the most insightful passages, etc.

7. Now let’s get a snapshot of the group’s thinking by having EtherPad / PrimaryPad create a word cloud including the most used terms. First click on the Timeslider icon. Once the contents of the page reloads, you can run the slider backwards to see how the composition evolved.  It’s cool.  But we want to use the “Import/Export” icon, so click on the two arrows. Next, click on the Wordle export. Depending on your computer’s speed, the browser you’re using and how well Java loads, you should see a word cloud appear in the next screen thanks to the Web site Wordle.net You can click on the Randomize button to change the look of the font, layout and colors. You might want to save the image. If you are comfortable taking and using a screen capture go ahead, but you can also use Wordle’s built-in online gallery to host your word cloud.  Simply click on the Save to Public Gallery button. Go ahead and provide authorship details and description: If you want to include a thumbnail image and link to the full-size image, you can copy the embed code provided at the bottom of the page. Now go back to you own blog post and switch to the HTML view of the Text Editor and paste the embed code. To see what it looks like, just flip back to the Visual Text Editor:

That’s it!  Well done!

How about sharing your thoughts?