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More Than Wordle... Ten Other Word Cloud Generators ... Providing Unique Features - by Michael Gorman

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October 21, 2011 By: Tech Learning Blog Staff

Oct 23

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10/23/2010 2:02 PM  RssIcon

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(Michael Gorman) Welcome to a post that covers those other ten Word Cloud Generators and some are pretty amazing!  While Wordle is the king of Word Cloud Generators here are some other word cloud tools that have some outstanding capabilities that are worth investigation.  Each tool provides a unique way  that can be used in  the classroom to facilitate the creation and study of word clouds. I especially was impressed with a few tools that actually helped students analyze a group of text using more than just the generated cloud, another that allows the user to be creative with the cloud shape, and still another that connects words in the cloud to web pages! Thanks for the visit, and as always please feel free to follow me on Twitter (mjgormans), I will follow back and we can learn from each other. Also, be sure to visit my 21centuryedtech Blog and check out all of the free resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! – Have a great week and enjoy the read! – Mike

Wordle – (http://www.wordle.net) The king of word cloud generators generating awesome results with full editing capabilities. Check out the advanced tools for even more capabilities. Want to put words together so they stay together in the cloud, then just put a (~) in between – Example (Fort~Wayne). To have students avoid forums and galleries that may not be  appropriate be sure to link them using  the address (http://www.wordle.net/create). No log-in or email are required. Program allows printing, in order to save right click on Wordle picture and save as a jpeg and or make a screen print. Take a moment to check out my Wordle Post here at Tech and Learning.

Tagxedo - (http://www.tagxedo.com/) I often get emails from people who wish to have their site reviewed. I always take the time to check out these inquiries and pass on worthy findings to you. I was very excited  in the spring of 2010 to find this beta-released word cloud application called Tagxedo. The website proclaims, “Tag Clouds with Style”, a mission I feel was accomplished. You will discover that this cutting edge program is an outstanding free application very similar to our good friend,  Wordle .  The creater of  Tagxedo emphasized to me that Tagxedo has a few extra qualities  not found in all Word Cloud Generators. After visiting and experimenting with the site I agree that Tagxedo does offer some awesome features.So what  makes Tagxedo stand out? Some of the features  pointed out to me include; highly interactive (no server round-trip), fast cloud generation time, custom shapes and themes, powerful layout engine (very nice shape hugging), and  lots of fonts (including custom user fonts and fonts from Font Squirrel). Most importantly, the interface allows the user to save “word clouds” as PNG and JPG image files and it also saves a History View (allowing user to see all “versions” and pick the one they like).

ABC Ya - (http://www.abcya.com/word_clouds.htm)  This application may be the most Wordle like and, in fact, operates much like Wordle. It creates final results that allow for font change, color change, and a randomized layout.  It does not seem to provide the function on word frequency, important to older users. Save options are in  jpeg format and there are print options. If you are used to Wordle this application may be an good alternative. It does not require email or log in.

Tagul - (http://tagul.com/) – Tagul has some features that Wordle doesn’t, like custom shapes selection and multiple fonts usage in one cloud. It also allows for the use of tagged words that can act as pointers to URL’s if embedded in a web page. It abounds in options but registration may limit classroom use.  Requires a log in with email.

Word It Out (http://worditout.com/) – Much like Wordle, it creates word clouds out of any text that you paste into the text box. This application allows  the word cloud to be customized by size, font, and color scheme.  Word It Out also allows the user to  ignore certain words and thus  keeps them out of the word cloud.  Can be used without a login, although the saving option requires an email. Can work around this option by right clicking to save as jpeg and/or screen print.

Tag Crowd (http://tagcrowd.com/) – While it does not give the color,unique style, or layout variation of of Wordle, it does allow one to see frequency of words. It also allows a file to be uploaded or a URL address to be used.  The word cloud creations can be saved as a PDF files or  printed from a full screen print menu. No login or email is required and free use of the product is for nonprofit use listed under creative commons.

Wordsift - (http://www.wordsift.com/) – This hidden gem from Stanford University doe not give the pretty effects of Wordle,  but does give several awesome  features that allow students to really analyze a word cloud. One unique feature allows words to be listed by how common or rare they are. Also allows for words to be listed in alphabetical order. Wordsift allows the user to click on words to view in an online visual thesaurus with dictionary, google  images, and word sentence placement. It even allows the user to view words by subject area and cross curricular areas by unique color coding and definitions that relate to specific disciplines.  Watch this video lesson on using Wordsift with students on a lesson about Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. What a great way to analyze a speech!  It even covers assessment of students using Wordsift. No login or email required. Any printing or saving would need to rely on a screen print.

Make Word Mosiac – (http://www.imagechef.com/ic/word_mosaic/) – A creative tool put out by Image Chef. This is one tool in their suite of tools to be used for people who like to create.  It allows for different shapes, colors, and fonts. It makes a real cool word cloud but may have limited use in the classroom. Items can be emailed and embedded in different social network forums. By pressing the more button you can save a jpeg. Larger images with higher resolutions are available for a price. Login or email does not appear to be required. Be sure to read terms of use of any usage outside of personal.

VocabGrabber – (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/vocabgrabber/) – Another creative tool that allows students to analyze a group of words. While it lacks the flashy pictures and clouds that Wordle can create, it has substance in creating lessons that can be used to really understand a word passage.  VocabGrabber analyzes text and generates lists of the most useful vocabulary words then displays how  those words are used in context. Copy text from a document and paste it into the box, and click  Grab Vocabulary! VocabGrabber will automatically create a list of vocabulary from the  text, which can be sorted, filtered, and saved. Click on any word in the cloud and a snapshot of the Visual Thesaurus map appears along with definitions for that word, and  examples of the word in the text.

TagCloudGenerator – (http://www.tag-cloud.de/) – This is a service that does not allow pasting in of text, but instead goes to a website that is entered by the user. The effects are impressive since the results are a moving flash file that can be downloaded. It also provides an HTML tag cloud.  It even provides a service for WordPress Blogs.

TagCloud - (http://www.tagcloud.com) – A word cloud generator since 2005 and is currently offline getting an overhaul. It is listed here so that it can be reviewed when it is back on-line.

Thanks for taking the time to check out these resources. Hope it helps as you and your students continue to make Word Clouds. As always please feel free to follow me on Twitter (mjgormans), I will follow back and we can learn from each other. Also, be sure to visit my 21centuryedtech Blog and check out all of the free resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! – Continue to inspire, create, and innovate! – Mike

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