Friday, 18 November 2011

Summarising Made Easy with Wordle!

Assalamualaikum and Hi to all.

Ramli: I don't like reading! Seriously!
Mak Yam: What? Why don't you like reading? Reading is very important you know. It keeps you up-to-date.
Ramli: But I just don't like it. It is not my interest. Oh no help me, or I will be left behind. I wish I could just have the summary.
Mak Yam: I think I have a solution.

Have you ever come across the above situation? Well it is true to some extent that reading can be such a boring activity especially if the topic is unfamiliar. Sometimes we may feel that it is better if we could summarize the article quickly and have a glance at it in order to get a basic idea of the particular article. Well, in this entry, I would like to recommend a website that could make your reading more interesting. Wait, did I just say READING? Well, I mean SUMMARY! It is called Wordle. One particular thing about this website that it gives an instant summary of a text in a form of words arrangement so you do not have to spend a lot of time reading the whole article. The organisation of words is very interesting that it arrange mainly according to size; where the most frequent word that appears in the text will be the biggest. So you will be able to guess what the article is all about by looking at the arrangement of the words. For example:

As you can see that the words differ according to the size which means that bigger words appear more frequent in the text. The text that you want to use does not necessarily be in English. It can be of any other language as long as the system is able to read the text. As for the above example, I chose a Malay language text and it gives me an overview of what the text is all about.

Let's Wordle-it!

It is not complicated to operate this website. All you need to do is first have your reading article copied and paste it in the box provided and then hit the 'Go' button. As soon as you hit the button, the words in the article will be arranged. By doing this, you can actually copy the whole text or perhaps a chapter of the text, whichever you feel necessary. However, you can also have it retrieved from a particular website by filling in the URL of the  website in the space provided. Have a look at the picture below, which shows you the idea of the page.

Advantages of this website:

1. Saves a lot of time by not having to read the whole article in order to get the basic idea.
2. The arrangement of the words in a very attractive way.
3. You get to publish your own Wordle in the general archive provided as well as have a look at other's wordle
4. It does not limited to English language only as it also applicable to other languages.
5. It is free as well as fun.

Disadvantages of this website:

1. Can be used only if the article is available online. You will not be able to use it if you have the printed article.
2. Sometimes you still may not be able to guess the content of the article especially if it is a difficult one.
3. It does not really engage students with language learning as the words are all available in the text. It is merely a tool to summarise the text in a form of words arrangement
4. It may not suitable for students at the higher level especially intermediate and advanced because it does not promote critical thinking. Students also are not engage with cognitive skills as they do not have to do anything. Everything is done by just a single click.
5. It may encourage laziness amongst students.

Here is the link to the website:

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