Two Games Blog Comparisons – measured using “visually” interpreted data against Two Games Journal Articles – MA visualisation experiment.

Okay, so here I’m using Wordle (described on the site itself as a “toy”) a “data decoration” tool, but here instead I’m testing its viability as a visualising tool for establishing basic content and vocational language and vocabulary within assignments or student blogs, not as a summative assessment method you understand, but simply as a one of a range of formative tools to use in early project/assignment tutorials.

The software being used is being accessed in this test “as is” on the site, but of course could be built from scratch to accommodate other parameters associated or advantageous to a more refined look at the vocab and grammar of Critical discourse.

I’ve simply copied and pasted* the various written content of the various pieces directly into Wordle.

*some content (identifiable names for instance) were removed (using PhotoShop, see minimal gaps in charts) in order to preserve anonymity.


Student A who engaged – wrote blog entries over one year amounting to 31,069 words approximately.

Their blog was interpreted by Wordle like this:

1 –

Student B, not engaged – wrote blog entries over one year amounting to 3,486 words approximately.

2 –

As you can see I have underlined words that seem of critical value, and circled words that may show a slightly less critical quality in the written content, particularly when used heavily.

Student A wrote 5 reviews of Games related sites – amounting to 4,580 words approximately.

3 –

Student B wrote 5 reviews of Games related sites – amounting to 893 words approximately.

4 –

2 Articles from – A high end Gaming Magazine –

…the first amounting to 1,771 words approximately in which a journalist and author talks about the Social Gaming Connections to Underworld Crime and his favourite games in an interview (relaxed conversational language).

5 –

and another article about the trouble with a certain Browser’s native client from the same magazine – technology review (journalistic article, non-conversational) – 1,585 words approx.

6 –

1 x article and 1 x review from – a game review magazine – amounting to 2,679 words approximately.

7 –

Reviews of websites, x 5 from a well thought of, high end, Website Design Competition and Review site- amounting to 6,779 words approximately.

8 –

A scholarly article on arts based culture by an unnamed, but recognised, critical author (perhaps of French extraction). – ? words

9 –

…and so finally, another online source this time one related to critical language.

10 –

I think my expectations of a model, or the one that I was looking for in the the none student articles would have been something like image No. 10.

However, No. 10 is somewhat misleading, as that is simply the transcript of a glossary of critical and theoretical terms. So it should look like this as that is all the content there is, i.e. critical and theoretical vocabulary.

Samples 9 and 6, at a glance, both contain or evidence a wider use of critical vocabulary it seems, while the student samples are interesting in that the quality of content is not necessarily flagged up through the accentuation of higher level vocab into the data weighting, but by the flagging up of the poorer vocab being used more often in particular** samples. Of course it is impossible without reading the entries in full to judge comprehension, despite the probable parity, and so it should be reiterated that I in no way feel this could be ever used, even using a more focussed set of algorithms as a means to summative assessment of written assignments.

To paraphrase BF Skinner (and Arthur C Clarke apparently), “Any tutor who can be replaced by a computer, probably should be”.

What this means for my little experiment it is hard to say at this point, and further testing of a more meticulous and controlled kind with the fuller participation of members of a student group, for which a lengthier set up time to allow for the formal, ethical research disclaimers and permissions would need to be put in place.

But as an experiment it has flagged up some interesting issues.

**It was also weirdly interesting to see the popularity of the word particular through all examples used.

~ by hesir on July 10, 2012.

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