Friday, March 27, 2009

CAL 2009: Using tag clouds

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Getting our heads out of the clouds: Using tag clouds to reflect on the emphasis of materials presented in powerpoint slides Damian T. Gordon*, Deirdre M. Lawless Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland

Started with a description/definition of a tag clouds and produced a tag cloud of the CAL website. Learning was the dominant word. Moved onto talk about knowledge management. Three aspects identified:
  1. Process
  2. Technology
  3. People
Most of the effort has to go into the People part. Researcher suggested that most students only read lecture notes the night before the exam, so we have to make sure our notes are good! Tag clouds may be a tool to help focus lecturers minds. Showed tag clouds of a set of his notes/powerpoint slides on research methods. Showed for example how "Research" featured strongly in first three lectures but hardly at all in his lecture on statistics. This shows some of the (perhaps unintended) messages given in the lecture. Also showed how you can see the major word, say "research", and then take it out of the cloud to see what other words come to the fore.

Went on to show a comparison of tag cloud for lecture notes with tag cloud of learning outcomes. Or compare with assessment. For a more student centred approach, a student could compare a tag cloud of an assignment with a tag cloud of their submission. Could help them reflect on their response and perhaps help them with a redraft.

Tag clouds could be used as an introduction to a topic or as a revision of a previous topic. Tag clouds give semantic and syntactic view but present it in a visually stimulating way. Presenting the information in multiple ways can help the learner.

Two useful tools are Convert Powerpoint {can't find this... maybe I wrote it down wrong. - DM} and Wordle.

1 comment:

Damian Gordon said...

the other tools is ConvertPPT
Link here