This topic came up in last night's #engchat on Twitter about college admissions essays. Students tracking their digital footprint could make for a horrifying or surprising project and very relevant in this world where social media puts one's actions on full display.
In thinking about Wordle for analyzing texts, students could complete similar steps for social network aggregation and create a word cloud of their Twitter tweets and blog posts by using Tagxedo or copy/pasting FaceBook status updates into Wordle.
- Students would go to Tagxedo.com and enter in their Twitter handle. Tagxedo collects the tweets and creates the word cloud. Students can adjust the shape, color, font, and layout of the word cloud to create a desired effect. Students could also use a social network aggregator or copy-paste the statuses and tweets into Wordle and create a word cloud.
- Students would analyze the word clouds and write a reflection journal entry. Is this an accurate portrayal of the student?
- The teacher could share with the class the word clouds (without the owner's name) and have the class infer and make judgments about the owner of the Wordle.
- The class could discuss ways to "clean up" profiles and how to market one's self appropriately on social media. Brainpop offers a site where users can take online quizzes on various digital topics and teachers can access additional lesson plans on digital citizenship.
This project requires some honesty and openness to not leave out "scandalous" posts. The point is to see the messiness and the nefariousness of social networking to open students' eyes to how other's perceive their actions on the web: Enlightenment should then lead to personal growth and improvement.
GradingStudents can be graded on the completion of the process, the journal writing, and discussion participation using the OSU rubric. The epiphany and final outcome is more important than the grade. I'm actually reluctant to grade an assignment such as this because the formative process is much more valuable for the students' learning than a summative grade.
This word cloud was created on Tagxedo using my blog posts. It is obvious what I write most about!