Word Clouds:Expression combined with Design Created by Russell Smith, Technology Facilitator, North Edgecombe High School
What is a Word Cloud? • A word cloud (a.k.a. a “tag cloud”) is a visual depiction of the word content in a written article • “Tags”, or the words in a word cloud, are usually singular, and are arranged in order of importance and the number of times a word appears in a body of text. • The words in a word cloud will vary in size and color based on their importance and prominance in a body of text.
Example of a Word Cloud This word cloud was created from the text of the first paragraph of President Obama’s inaugural speech in January 2009:
What can Word Clouds be used for? • Word clouds can be used to demonstrate the proliferance of certain words in a student’s writing; for example, it will highlight the overuse of certain common words such as “I” and “and”. • Word clouds can indicate the importance of certain words in a text based on a word’s size and arrangement in the cloud. • Word clouds can be a creative way of allowing students to express their thoughts in a visual manner.
What are some websites that allow the creation of word clouds? • Wordle: http://www.wordle.net • WordItOut: http://worditout.com • Tagxedo http://www.tagxedo.com/
Wordle • 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.
How To Use Wordle • Copy and paste in a block of text from a website or • word document • OR • Enter the URL of any blog, blog feed, or any other web page that has an Atom or RSS feed • OR • Enter a del.icio.us user name to see their tags • THEN • Click “Go” or “Submit” at the bottom of the page to create the • Wordle. It can then be saved to a gallery or printed.
How to use WordItOut • Click the “Word It Out” button on the main page of the website. • Copy and paste a block of text from a website or word document into the text box. Click the button labeled “Word it Out” to create the word cloud. • The word cloud will then be created. To have the word cloud recreated in the same style, click “Redraw” • To have the word cloud created in a different style, click “Random Settings”. • You can also click “Set Target” to choose the point on the screen where the center of the word cloud will be placed. • To save your word cloud, click the “Save” button. You will be prompted to enter a title, description, related web page, and your e-mail address. No password is required.
How to use Tagxedo • Tagxedo is the most visually unique word cloud generator of those explored in this presentation. • You will be prompted to install Microsoft Silverlight in order to properly use Tagxedo, if your computer doesn’t already have it installed. Click the “Create” link after installation. • You will presented with the creation panel for Tagxedo. Notice that as you move your cursor over the words on the screen that they expand and seem to “leap” towards the screen!
How to use Tagxedo, continued • In order to upload text into Tagxedo, you can choose to load text from a text file on your computer, type in the URL for a website, or copy and paste text manually. • You will be able to select from a number of wording options, such as whether to allow punctuations and numbers, eliminating common words, combining related and identical words, etc. • You will also be able to adjust the color scheme of the word cloud, choose from a large assortment of themes, select from an assortment of fonts, and choose the orientation of the words (horizontal, vertical, a combination of both, etc.) • You can also choose from a predetermined assortment of shapes that the words can be arranged into, such as an apple, a banana, a circle, a cloud, a foot, the outline of the United States, and many more!
How to use Tagxedo, continued • You can also adjust the amount of emphasis that is placed on words, maximum word count, the proximity of words to each other, color variation, background opacity, etc. • Once the word cloud has been created, you can save it in a number of ways, including as a thumbnail or a regular sized file. You can save the word cloud in different formats, such as a .jpg or .png file • When saving your word cloud, you will be prompted to enter a username, a title, and comments for the cloud.