Monday, 13 June 2011

Learning Wordle and Tagxedo to Create Word Clouds

Creating word clouds is a way for students to pull out the big ideas in a piece of text.  Students are able to identify the most important ideas and make them the biggest words in their word cloud.  The supporting ideas are the smaller words that are needed to support the main ideas. is an excellent website to help students create word clouds.  All they do is take a piece of text, URL or user name and paste it into the textbox and then press submit.

The words that appear the most in their text are the words that appear the largest.  Students are able to manipulate the words used, for example you can ask wordle to ignore the word "the" so it does not appear gigantic.  You are also able to manipulate the orientation and color scheme.

The downside to wordle is that you can't save your word cloud to your computer, you either have to print it immediately or you can save it to the wordle gallery.

Another word cloud generator is  It is very similar to wordle except you are able to choose a shape for your text to appear as.  Another benefit to tagxedo is that you can save directly to your computer.

Both of these websites are a great way for students to review a topic or teach the "big ideas" to classmates.  They also make beautiful posters to display around the classroom or school.

As an example, I have created a word cloud, in tagxedo, for our course using the first few paragraphs from our course syllabus.

Happy creating!!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Learning Webtools for Lessons in the Classroom

Most educators today are aware that we are teaching a new breed of student known as a 21st century learner.  Our students today have been learning technology at the same time they learn how to walk and talk.  The idea of technology has become ingrained as a part of their lives and therefore it is something that has followed them as they entered their education.  Thus, teachers are feeling more pressure than ever to embed technology into their daily lessons.  This has spiraled into teachers trying to make technology fit everywhere possible rather than taking our lessons and finding ways to enhance them by using technology.

This blog will give educators a chance to learn how to use various web-tools so they can enhance their lessons.  Once a week I will blog about a new web-tool, how to use it and give an example of how I, or a colleague, have used it in the classroom.

I am looking forward to sharing what I have learned about the different web-tools out there and inspiring others to try using them in their classrooms.