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10 Tips and Tools to Teach Using Word Clouds

April 29, 2014
A word cloud is a visual representation of textual data. Word clouds highlight words that are repeatedly used in a given portion of text through making them look larger in the generated graphic. There are several ways you can use word clouds ( also called tag cloud) with your students. Here are some of them:

  • Students can use Word Clouds to analyze their writing. They can paste portions of what they have written to see if there is any match between what they were asked to write about .
  • Words clouds can also help students improve their reading comprehension. By generating word clouds of the texts they read, students will be able to identify the key terms and themes talked about.
  • They can use word cloud tools to brain storm a topic or create a discussion either inside the class or online
  • They can use them to teach vocabulary
  • They can use them in reading activities to promote comprehension
  • Students can use them to feature important ideas from a discussion or a video content
  • The entire class can use word clouds to react to a certain topic
  • Have students create word clouds that generate understanding of a concept, standards or vocabulary word.
  • Illustrate classroom thoughts or views using a word cloud to survey students.
  • Create a class word cloud that highlights class expectation
  • Post students first names to create a class or group word cloud
Here are some useful web tools to help your students create word clouds:

1- Worlde
This is a great tool for generating word clouds from text that you provide. Words that appear more frequently in your text tend to have more prominence. Worlde also allows its users to customize their clouds with various fonts, layouts and colours. Once done you can print out your clouds or save them to Worlde gallery to share with others.

2- Tagul
This is a web service that enables users to create awesome word clouds. It also has more or less the same functions as Worlde above . It does  require a sing up.

3- Word It Out
Word It Out  It is very simple and easy to use word cloud tool . Just type in your text and click on word it button and you will get a generated word cloud that you can save using an email address. What is even cool about Word It Out is that it allows you to create word clouds of a whole web page, a document, or even a table.

4- Yippy Cloud
Yippy Cloud is a tool that is ideal for those teachers who have classroom blogs or websites. They can use it to create a cloud based on any topic or query. Just provide the topic title and selec the setting of your word cloud like border stye, link style and width then click ' update cloud ' to generate a word cloud around that topic. This word cloud can be embedded in your blog or wiki using a generated embed code.

5- Wordshift
This tool allows anyone to sift through text and create word clouds of important words in a text. Just copy and paste a segment of your text and Wordshift will help you feature the recurring words in it. It also helps in marking and sorting different lists of words important to educators and provides a visualization of word thesaurus relationships.

6- Tagxedo
Tagxedo is an awesome word cloud tool that turns words from any source into a visually appealing cloud that highlights the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text.

7-Tag Crowd
This tool allows users to create engaging word clouds out of three text sources ; the URL of a web page, copy and paste, or uploaded text file with a maximum of 5 MB.

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