Word Cloud Explorations

JC and SA looked at Word Clouds as a way to generate clouds of words that commonly used words within a text e.g. words being used by students in essays or for poetry. This could be used to show words that they are overusing or underusing. Some Word clouds that we looked at included:

*Wordle & Guide, Uses*Word Clouds for Kids *Tag Crowd; *Tagul

*WorditOut; *YippyCloud
*WordSift; *Tagxedo;
*Word Mosaic; Tag Crowd;
*You Are Your Words; WordSift

We chose not to explore Wordle as we wanted to see what else was available.

Looking at Wordsift we discovered that by copying and pasting an essay into the text box, a word cloud was generated with most commonly used words appearing in a bigger font. Then what was also generated were examples of key words in sentences, visual images connected to these words and a visual thesaurus.

Word sift

Looking at Tagcloud, we found that it generated words in a similar way, but it also had a feature which would mean that we could edit the content as we needed.

Tag Crowd

Word Mosaic was good for generating key words. Words can be arranged to a shape. Not particularly useful for large pieces of texts such as essays but could be good for poetry or presenting subject vocabulary in an interesting way. It can make some really amazing displays of words with a theme e.g. vocabulary attached to war in the shape of a skull. However, there is a limited choice of shapes…skull, heart, stick man, music, water droplets and stars. Here’s an example of some key words from History:

Word Mosaic

Looking at Yippy Cloud, it can generate a few simple words into a cloud but had a lot of limitations and couldn’t handle a large amount of text or do something that another word cloud generator could do.

Looking at Tagxedo, it is able to generate word clouds from news articles, websites and links e.g. Twitter. Very stylish. There is also a way to embed the material generated onto Moodle. 101 ways http://blog.tagxedo.com/101-ways-to-use-tagxedo-completed

Tagxedo examples   Tagxedo 4 Tagxedo 3 Tagxedo 2

In the time we spent looking at these Word Clouds, we found Tagxedo to be the most interesting to explore and use.  Scott pasted the text of an essay written by his students on the causes of WW2 – Tagxedo processed the 1,000 word essay, he set the shape and colour settings, and created this cloud:
Tagxedo Essay

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9 comments

  1. Health Warning! Tagxedo is addictive! I have been experimenting with it. I typed in lots of “drama” words, added some drama shapes and had a look at the results. What’s great is that I had to go back and delete some of the words I had originally put in as they weren’t really about the ‘essence’ of what I wanted to display. It made me refine exactly which words to use. I am going to ask my IB class to create one based on their recent research work.

    1. You are SO right! Kids enjoy it as well. They enjoy the ability to manipulate the actual shape. You can do some of that in Wordle, but Tagxedo takes it a step further. Here is the Tom McFadden WordPress. On the side you can see the “how to”. He is a Fulbright Scholar – please check out his videos they made in college as well. Really FAB! http://sciencewithtom.com/

  2. I love that you can change the words into a shape of your choice…with quite a good selection of shapes from animals (elephants, dolphins etc) to music keys to fruit and speech bubbles. I’m going to use it as a way to present some key words from a poem in the shape of the theme and then get students to try and write their own poems using the words and theme before showing them the real poem…

  3. JT – good point about the refining of words. That’s something I should explore with my classes when looking at essays. Thanks for the tip.

    Jenny – that’s a brilliant idea, sort-of reverse engineering a poem. I’d love to see some examples when you’ve got them.

  4. Have been enjoying Tagxedo with smaller creatures for a couple of years. Great for fancy VCOP presentation/gathering/general KS2 computer art. Used with Yr’s 2/3/4 and always been a hit.

  5. madalinaailincai · · Reply

    It looks great. Too bad I cannot use it that much in a math class.

    1. Could it be useful for Maths vocabulary or concepts?

  6. Today I set this as a homework for Y7 students to make a shape display of their spelling words for their spelling test. They are going to bring them into class to make a giant display…When I showed it to them in class, we made a group one as an example and they loved it!

    1. madalinaailincai · · Reply

      This is a great idea. I can apply it with my Algebra classes as well. Thanks for the tip.

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