Teachers are always looking for resources that can aid them in the teaching process or engage students in their own leaning. Some may be familiar with a free web-based tool called Wordle which can be used to create generate “word cloud” images from text that the user supplies. Although many educators and students have embraced the use of Wordle, one of its big limitations was that users coluld not easily print their word cloud creations. In early January, I created a “DS106 word cloud“, and like many of my colleagues, I had to use a screen capture process to save my Wordle creation as an image or to print out the design.
However, today I wish to share with readers a new word cloud tool, called Tagxedo, which has a built-in print feature as well as other options that will excite educators. This free web application is unique because it can create complex portraits like the one of Steve Jobs. I encourage readers to click on the thumbnail at right to see the detail and words used to describe this industry game-changer. However, rather than focus on the advanced portrait feature, I will share ways this product might be used, with a minimum of time and effort, by students or teachers. The Tagxedo web site describes this application as follows:
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.
Tagxedo which is pronounced as [tag-SEE-doh] can, like Wordle, create simple displays in which word sizes are based on the frequency of the words provided in a list or web site address. However, teachers and students will appreciate the added features of this educational tool in that users can display Tagxedo word clouds in different shapes, colors, themes and may save and/or print the result in different sizes.
As a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, I chose to have Tagxedo display words in the shape of a four-leaf clover or shamrock. Rather than enter a list of words, I selected Manitoba Education’s “Literacy with ICT Across the Curriculum” web site and entered this URL, “http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/tech/lict/show_me/continuum.html” (without quotes), as input.
Imagine the impact that teachers and students might have using shapes such as following:
- Treble Clef: outline formed by a variety of different musical terms;
- Shark: outline shaped by the different predator types;
- Check Mark: outline formed by all students that have completed a certain activity or project;
- Bus: boundary delimited by the names of all the students in one’s class who travel by bus to school;
- Bird: display of migratory or endangered birds help shape this image; and
- Tree: outline defined by coniferous tree names.
In order for teachers to fully utilize Tagxedo, I recommend that they investigate these web sites:
- What is the difference between Tagxedo & Wordle?
- 52 Interesting Ways to use Wordle in the Classroom
- 101 ways to use Tagxedo
- Tagxedo Gallery
- Tagxedo “Deja Vu” Text Comparison
- Tagxedo Tutorial (YouTube video)
- Using Technology in the Classroom: Tagxedo vs Wordle (YouTube video)
So what are you waiting for? Go play with Tagxedo and see how it might be used in your classroom.
Take care & keep smiling