Thursday, 12 July 2012

30 Days of Web tools: #6: Make Wordclouds using Wordle or Tagxedo

What are Wordclouds?

Wordclouds are such fun to use in the classroom, especially when it comes to vocabulary building. Basically, using a wordcloud application one can transfer words into a cloud of interconnected words that can be arranged and used in different ways. Users can change the layout, color scheme, and fonts. 
Students love working with wordclouds. Two very popular free wordcloud webtools are Wordle and Tagxeedo, and I am going to explain each below plus give ideas of how to use them in the classroom

1. Wordle (http://wordle.net)

Wordle is an online tool for creating word clouds from passages of text. The more frequently a word appears in the text, the larger it shows up in the word cloud. It has so many amazing uses which you will enjoy experimenting with.

image
Taken from Ted Teachers’ network (http://tedteachersnetwork.pbworks.com) 















How to use Wordle step-by-step


This is a great introductory video from Radford Education to show you how to sign up for and use Wordle. 



How can Wordle be used in the classroom?

There are so many ways to use Wordle that several educators have been collecting ideas. I will post two of these collections below.
Wordle Ideas
View more PowerPoint from ProjectsByJen.com

2. Tagxeedo
http://www.tagxedo.com/

Tagxeedo is an online wordcloud tool that takes things a step further by providing a number of different shapes you can choose from for your words. You can also upload a picture you like and Tagxeedo uses it as an outline. 

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From the Tagxeedo blog (http://daily.tagxedo.com/)



How to use Tagxeedo

This video gives the basic steps in using Tagxedo. Take a look.



How can Tagxedo be used in the classroom?

As with Wordle, there are many ways to use Tagxeedo. Here is a slideshow showing a whole collection of ideas from the Tagxedo blog.

101 Ways to Use Tagxedo
View more PowerPoint from sandiadams

More ways of using wordclouds in the classroom

1. Introduce a topic via vocabulary and use a word cloud to arrange this. You can then get the students to guess the theme, identify unknown words and make sentences with words.
2. For pre-reading tasks. You could show students a collection of words from the new text and let them predict what the text is about.
3. Speed sentence writing. Use recent vocabulary for this and let the students write as many sentences as they can using the words in the word cloud. 
4. This is a good fun activity. Display a word cloud containing some recently covered vocabulary and tell the students they have x minutes to write as many sentneces as they can using the words on display. This works best in pairs or groups and is a great way to review and recycle language. 

5
. Guess the wordle idea:Three times a week Guess the Wordle will post a new Wordle. Then based on the Wordle students can guess what the topic of the Wordle is. Guess the Wordle could be a fun warm-up activity to use with students. http://projectsbyjen.com/GTW/
6. Analyse writing:
Students can enter all their text into a wordcloud and see which words come out the largest due to being used frequently. One could analyse text from website articles in the same way.

Further reading

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/new-teacher-boot-camp-wordle-lisa-dabbs
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2009/07/more-wordle-in-classroom-ideas.html
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2009/06/more-wordle-ideas.html
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2009/07/guess-wordle-and-summer-vacation.html
http://groups.diigo.com/group/wordle

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