Word clouds are unique designs that students can make using words. By entering a set of words, which can be anything from a list of spelling or vocabulary words, to words that describe plot and characters of a book, students create a visual image of those words. I visited Tagxedo,Wordle, and ABCya!, the primary hits on the Google search engine.
My favorite of the Word Cloud sites.
Created by Hardy Leung, “Tagxedo turns words — famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters — into a visually stunning word cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text.”
The primary option that I like with Tagxedo is the option to make the word clouds in various shapes. You can also purchase your word cloud images on t-shirts, mugs, and other products.
Here are some options that you have in Tagxedo:
- make word clouds in real-time
- customize font, theme, color, orientation, and shape
- fine-tune with lots of options
- save as images for printing and sharing
- view your word clouds as thumbnails, and pick the one you want for further tweaking or saving
- choose from many standard fonts
- use custom fonts (e.g. downloaded from Font Squirrel, DaFont, FontSpace, or your own hand-drawn fonts)
- constrain the word cloud to selected shapes (heart, star, animals, etc)
- use images as custom shapes (e.g. a portrait, an animal silhouette)
“Wordle is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.”
Wordle is created by Jonathan Feinberg, a technology developer from Medford, MA. There is a link to his blog site within Wordle on which he shares new sites that are similar to Wordle. A few of the sites that he shared were Text is Beautiful and WordCram, which is open-source and created using WordPress. One of the primary drawbacks to using Wordle is that it doesn’t offer an option to create shapes out of your word clouds. Also, you will need to install a Java Plug-in so unless you already have it installed on your computer, you might need approval to download and install.
“Abcya.com is a teacher-created website which provides fun and educational games and apps for kids to use under the guidance of their parents and teachers. The games do not collect personal information and children and adults are able to visit the site and play the games without providing any personal information to ABCya.com. ” ABCya! is a site that offers more than just Word Clouds. There are many games that are targeted to children in grades K-5 on the site that can also be used as additional resources in the classroom.
Some drawbacks to using this site for word clouds is the lack of design elements available. You are limited in your options of colors, fonts, and the direction of the text. Also, there is not an option for shapes.