Word Clouds have caught the attention of the country and have become a part of the 21st Century classroom. While Wordle is the king of Word Cloud Generators here are some other word cloud tools that have some outstanding capabilities that are worth investigation. Each tool provides a unique way that can be used in the classroom to facilitate the creation and study of word clouds. I especially was impressed with a few tools that actually helped students analyze a group of text using more then just the generated cloud.
Thanks for the visit, and as always please feel free to follow me on Twitter (mjgormans), I will follow back and we can learn from each other. Also, be sure to check out all of the free resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! – Have a great week! – Mike
Wordle – (http://www.wordle.net) The king of word cloud generators generating awesome results with full editing capabilities. Check out the advanced tools for even more capabilities. Want to put words together so they stay together in the cloud, then just put a (~) in between – Example (Fort~Wayne). To have students avoid forums and galleries that may not be appropriate be sure to link them using the address (http://www.wordle.net/create). No log-in or email are required. Program allows printing, in order to save right click on Wordle picture and save as a jpeg andor make a screen print.
ABC Ya – (http://www.abcya.com/word_clouds.htm) This application may be the most Wordle like and, in fact, operates much like Wordle. It creates final results that allow for font change, color change, and a randomized layout. It does not seem to provide the function on word frequency, important to older users. Save options are in jpeg format and there are print options. If you are used to Wordle this application may be an good alternative. It does not require email or log in.
Tagul – (http://tagul.com/) – Tagul has some features that Wordle doesn’t, like custom shapes selection and multiple fonts usage in one cloud. It also allows for the use of tagged words that can act as pointers to URL’s if embedded in a web page. It abounds in options but registration may limit classroom use. Requires a log in with email.
Word It Out (http://worditout.com/) – Much like Wordle, it creates word clouds out of any text that you paste into the text box. This application allows the word cloud to be customized by size, font, and color scheme. Word It Out also allows the user to ignore certain words and thus keeps them out of the word cloud. Can be used without a login, although the saving option requires an email. Can work around this option by right clicking to save as jpeg and/or screen print.
Tag Crowd (http://tagcrowd.com/) – While it does not give the color,unique style, or layout variation of of Wordle, it does allow one to see frequency of words. It also allows a file to be uploaded or a URL address to be used. The word cloud creations can be saved as a PDF files or printed from a full screen print menu. No login or email is required and free use of the product is for nonprofit use listed under creative commons.
Wordsift – (http://www.wordsift.com/) – This hidden gem from Stanford University doe not give the pretty effects of Wordle, but does give several awesome features that allow students to really analyze a word cloud. One unique feature allows words to be listed by how common or rare they are. Also allows for words to be listed in alphabetical order. Wordsift allows the user to click on words to view in an online visual thesaurus with dictionary, google images, and word sentence placement. It even allows the user to view words by subject area and cross curricular areas by unique color coding and definitions that relate to specific disciplines. Watch this video lesson on using Wordsift with students on a lesson about Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. What a great way to analyze a speech! It even covers assessment of students using Wordsift. No login or email required. Any printing or saving would need to rely on a screen print.
VocabGrabber – (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/vocabgrabber/) – Another creative tool that allows students to analyze a group of words. While it lacks the flashy pictures and clouds that Wordle can create, it has substance in creating lessons that can be used to really understand a word passage. VocabGrabber analyzes text and generates lists of the most useful vocabulary words then displays how those words are used in context. Copy text from a document and paste it into the box, and click Grab Vocabulary! VocabGrabber will automatically create a list of vocabulary from the text, which can be sorted, filtered, and saved. Click on any word in the cloud and a snapshot of the Visual Thesaurus map appears along with definitions for that word, and examples of the word in the text.
TagCloudGenerator – (http://www.tag-cloud.de/) – This is a service that does not allow pasting in of text, but instead goes to a website that is entered by the user. The effects are impressive since the results are a moving flash file that can be downloaded. It also provides an HTML tag cloud. It even provides a service for WordPress Blogs.
TagCloud – (http://www.tagcloud.com) – A word cloud generator since 2005 and is currently offline getting an overhaul. It is listed here so that it can be reviewed when it is back on-line.
Thanks for taking the time to check out these resources. Hope it helps as you and your students continue to make Word Clouds. As always please feel free to follow me on Twitter (mjgormans), I will follow back and we can learn from each other. Also, be sure to check out all of the free resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! – Have a great week! – Mike