Abstract 8, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2016

A Wordle to the Wise:

Using “Word Clouds” Meaningfully in the Classroom

Mark Pearcy

Rider University

Word clouds, created by a variety of web applications, are enticing new tools for some social studies educators.  Teachers should be prepared, though, for the possibility that our zeal for a new resource may prevent us from adequately examining its value.  This article recounts a class activity involving the creation of a word cloud, the Wordles of major documents from the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, analyzes the lesson’s strengths and weaknesses, and offers guidance for the meaningful use of word cloud applications in the classroom.

Key words: Wordle, word cloud, social studies, American history, civil rights movement, pedagogy

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