Using Wordle.net as a Revision Aid

Trying to understand complex processes, structures and functions, regardless of the subject area, is often difficult to grasp and students often struggle with this area of learning.  They may begin with writing pages and pages of notes, then organising their notes and trying to remember them for assessment and later application.  This post will hopefully provide some help to students and teachers.

I teach on the science modules of a coaching degree and for whatever reasons, most students come in with the preconception that:

a) science is unimportant for coaching

b) they don’t like/understand the science aspect of the course

c) they don’t want to like/understand the science aspect of the course

I’m sure this is not uncommon on coaching and physical education courses, but getting the students to engage in the material is always a bit of a challenge.  They find particular difficulty in understanding and remembering the different functions of energy systems and whilst many students do not see the relevance of this knowledge, it provides a good foundation for later learning with regards to training and program design.  Whats more, understanding the energy system functions are a required learning outcome and are assessed in a case study style exam.

In an attempt to help students get a better grasp of this I took to using Wordle and creating ‘word clouds’ that students could use to help with their revision of a certain topic. Check out the link to the website wordle.net and click here to see a short video to show you how easy it is to use.

From the ‘word cloud’ below, students would pick 3-4 words and try to make sentences related to the content.  For example from the ‘word cloud’ below students may choose ATP-PC, oxygen, anaerobic to then create the sentence:

“The ATP-PC system is an anaerobic system that requires no oxygen”This is a fairly basic process, but something that you can include in classroom revision sessions as well as setting directed study tasks for students to revise away from the classroom.  You could also set students the task of designing their own Wordle ‘word clouds’ and testing each other in small groups.

Again a relatively basic concept but this is something different for students to engage in the learning.  This little addition to last year’s 1st year module may have provided some of the 5.2% average mark increase for the exam… of course they may also have simply been better students, but it was worth including.

Thanks for looking and comments are always welcome.