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Wordle or Not?

As if at an AA Meeting, I admit that I like off-beat web-sites. This week, I will share one of the stranger ones, and admit I am not sure of its connection to mathematics...despite the fact that everything I have tried with it was mathematical in nature.

Wordle is the name...you will have to play with it to figure out its game. The creators describe it as a "toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text." So...?

The steps are:

  • Click "Create Your Own..."
  • Enter some text...paragraph, essay, chapter, book
  • View the result...and try to determine what it is doing...and what is it showing you
I tried all kinds of things...a chapter of a book I am writing, a book review, a grant proposal, a past student's paper for a math history class, my vita, some algebraic equations, etc. The wordle shown above is for a chapter on fractions written for a book. I must admit it was fun to see the results.

The odd-thing is that I learned about this web site as a way to either evaluate student essays or prompt discussion with students about the content of their essays. Not sure how I would accomplish either of these suggestions, but I am still thinking about the possibilities.