Tech Tool Tuesday #14

Word Clouds

Enter text or a URL and a word cloud generator and create a visual representation – the larger the word in the cloud, the more times it appears in the original text or website. Here’s an example.

Dea Birkett, of The Guardian, shares U.K. children’s ideas of a perfect school in The School I’d Like: here is what you wanted. It’s a quick and very encouraging read. I’ve taken the highlights of the article and created a word cloud with Wordle.

Right click on the image and open it in a new tab or window so you can see the small text better. This word cloud is not straight from the text of the article, I manipulated it to make certain words larger. I made sure that the phrases that I wanted to appear the largest were repeated several times in the Wordle text box – Children’s Manifesto (5 times), The Perfect School (3), descriptors (2), long phrases (1). If word or phrase is entered more than 4 or 5 times, the other text will appear even smaller than what you see in this word cloud.

I also made sure that the words stayed together in the phrases by taking out the spaces and adding a tilde (~) between words. So, Children’s Manifesto was written Children’s~Manifesto. Also, Wordle is case-sensitive, so if you want capitals be sure to put them in.

Important Note:

Before you click Go (in Wordle – but different in the other tools) copy your text. There is no going back and retrieving what you’ve pasted into the text box once you’ve generated the word cloud.

Now click Go. Once the word cloud is generated, you can choose the color palette or create your own – although the word colors are random – pick the layout and the font. You can remove words by right clicking and choosing Remove. Be sure that you the font and colors enable easy reading in the devices that your students will be using.

As soon as I was happy with the word cloud, I used Jing (screen captures coming soon to Cycling Through Ed Tech) to create a digital image, saved to my hard drive, and then uploaded here. You can save Wordles to the public gallery or print them – create a PDF through the print function.

That should get you started with Wordle.

Other word cloud generators:

Ideas for using word clouds for learning and teaching:

Remember …

put the technology in the students’ hands – have them create the word clouds too … don’t keep all the fun to yourself.


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