Word clouds can be used in many different ways and in all subjects. It can help students understand important aspects of a topic, show students how to take good notes based on the most important words or phrases in the text, and students will realize which words go with a part of speech. Word clouds can be created by using Wordle, Text is Beautiful, or Tagxedo. A word cloud is the collection of words generated based on submitted text and programs like Wordle, Text is Beautiful, and Tagxedo are used to create word clouds.
Word cloud’s can also be used in all subjects, for example in social studies a word cloud could be created about the major ideas of an event. Word clouds can improve students’ writing, by creating visual data, and comparing oratorical messages. Major aspects of an event can be easily found with word clouds, which enables students to understand each concept.
When looking at Wordle’s website you can see there are multiple ways to create and make a Wordle more appealing. Wordle’s website will take you step by step on how to create a Wordle. It is the most generic of the three websites that I decided to talk about but for younger students it’s a great way to introduce the concept of word clouds to them. If these steps are confusing then you can also go to Wordle: Building Word Clouds to clarify any other questions. By clicking on the picture to the right it will take you to a blog post called “3 Ways to Use Wordle for More Than Fluff”, which will show you tips on how to use Wordle. In the slideshow below there are other great ideas and tips on how to use it.
In another website, Text is Beautiful, there are 3 different types of word clouds that can be made: Concept Cloud, Concept Web, and a Correlation Wheel. This is different from Wordle because it only gives you one option. Each of Text if Beautiful’s options include a different display or layout which you can choose from. The website will explain how to create your word cloud through a few easy steps and once you’re finish you have three options which is already generated by Text is Beautiful. A post, Beyond Word Clouds – Part 2 shows examples of various ways each type of word cloud can be created from Text is Beautiful.
My personal favorite website out of the three has to be Tagxedo. There are many fun ways to display ideas and thoughts but on the downside younger students may get distracted more easily. Just like the other two sites this is a very easy step-by-step website that will allow students to have even more freedom to choose how they would like to display their information. You have more freedom to choose how you want to display your word cloud as well as more themes whereas the other two websites are more generic and automatically create them for you. A blog post, Tagxedo – Creating Word Clouds with Style, gives an overview of some of the major aspects that can go into creating a word cloud through Tagxedo. When I was exploring Teagxedo I got caught up in all of the excitement and took more time than I should have creating a word cloud, but the one that I created is now my wallpaper on my laptop.
All three websites are very easy to use and fun to work with but I would introduce the youngest students into Wordle, then go into Text is Beautiful, and the oldest students would use Tagxedo. If you have any others ideas that word clouds could be used please comment! Also feel free to ask questions or post comments on my blog!