I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Very sexy this little wordle (numberdle?) (modedle?).

    Right there we’ve got some value.

    I’d throw it at the kids – ok, there’s this program that does some neat stuff. What do you think it can help you do/think/achieve in this class…if anything?

  2. Aww, pshaw, I was just messing around – hopefully you know me well enough to know that my sixth graders (who have to demonstrate their understanding of “mode”) will need to prove it the old fashioned way first, but I think it’ll be cool to show them a graphical presentation using Wordle.

    I want to find a much bigger data set to dump into Wordle to see how it goes….

    @Tracy – I guess “Modle” would be mighty close to treading on a far superior tool, ehh?

    @Dan – If I could think of something particular that I could blog about, I wouldn’t be opposed to it — but for the time being, I can just appreciate getting to read and occasionally reply to the likes of Fisch, McLeod, Meyer, Richardson and Warlick.

  3. The other thing that’s missing from Wordle is that it actually requires data entry to get results.

    Let’s say you could have wordle-like images generated from sets of content created within a course context. So, for example, you could get your tagcloud from one piece of content from one student, or the last three essays by one student, or all essays by all students on a single assignment, or by all students in a course for the last x weeks — at that point, you’re starting to get some interesting graphical representations of how students are using language (or those silly number things you math types get all excited about ;) )

    Using an app like, say, Drupal, you could parse student and teacher contributions and then use generate a tagcloud based on word output. There is already a module that does this for tags; I’d be curious to see how that could be adapted for regular content.

    And, at the risk of stating the obvious, all of these visualization tools will fail to be of much use if they are used as the end of the lesson. Use them as the starting point, or as a jumping off point for analysis and reflection, and at that point the fun can happen.

    And, btw, as other have asked: shouldn’t you be getting your hair cut/memorizing vows/hanging out with long-lost relatives? Enough of this blogging silliness — get married!

    All kidding aside, congratulations to you and yours, and enjoy the celebration.



  4. I like word clouds as a replacement for pie charts with lots of divisions. I guess it’s also analogous to a histogram. Just different ways of looking at it.

  5. I hadn’t considered any classroom uses for Wordle, I just thought it looked like fun. My husband has found a couple of uses for it. Not in the classroom, though.

    He made a Wordle from emails with his parents for their 40th wedding anniversary. It has all the kids and grandkids’ names and other important places or terms. He framed it and it is beautiful.

    He also made a few to use as decoration in his new, slightly larger office. One from his book manuscript, one from his blog about teaching, and one from our blog about our children. They represent different, really important aspects of his life in a visually intriguing way.

  6. FWIW, in spite of all this sturdy Wordle work (in the math arena, no less) I still contend this thing won’t offer you much by way of theme.

    Re: George Mayo’s link, where students wrote down things they learned from their teacher that year, the largest tag in many was the teacher’s name or the word “learned.”

    And Bill is right. I have no idea what I’m still doing here. Later, players. Be good.