The output of each is interesting — jittery, rhythmic slideshows in Animoto; neatly formatted word clouds in Wordle — but for classroom purposes we need to stop judging these tools on the quality of their output rather on the rigor of their input and the interpretation of their output.
Each requires input which would hardly challenge a toddler1.
Taking up Sylvia's reductio ad absurdum here:
Maybe I'll keep mashing these tools up in real-time as y'all fawn over them, hoping that if I exaggerate the cookie-cutter enough it'll persuade someone to jump ship.
Anybody want to elect a shelf for these tools in Bloom's (Revised) Taxonomy?
Let's call it what it is.
- Better Wordle Activity: Have the students develop the frequency distribution chart for a small text themselves and then create the cloud from rules like "between nine and twelve instances receives a thirty point font." Even then, I'm not sure what this thing does, though I'm sure it has little to do with "theme."
- Better Thumber Activity: Have the students select fifteen posters from high-grossing movies from child rating though restricted. Use IMDB. Build a color distribution (ie. what colors do you see and in approximately what percents?) and compile something like this, which shows children's movies consistently employing bright blues and restricted movies employing blacks and reds. Awesome.