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Monday, March 4, 2013

TagCrowd Offers Three Easy Ways to Make Word Clouds

Yesterday, I shared a handful of free tools for creating word clouds. Those were all tools that I had previously tried. This afternoon I set out to find some more word cloud creation tools. You Are Your Words was suggested to me and it's a nice looking site, but it's not functioning like it should right now. To Cloud works, but it's clunky (who wants to spend time explaining "interpolation" to kids just to get them to create a word cloud?). TagCrowd, however, is a winner in my book.

TagCrowd offers three ways to create word clouds. You can create a word cloud by copying and pasting text into TagCrowd, you can upload a plain text file, or you can copy and paste a web address into TagCrowd. After using one of those three methods you can specify how many words you want to display, you can select to show the word count in your word cloud, and you specify words to exclude (common words like "the" are automatically ignored. TagCrowd supports fifteen languages.

Applications for Education
TagCrowd, like other word cloud generators, can be useful in helping students identify the words that are emphasized in a written article or a speech. After creating their word clouds ask your students to think about why the author or speaker used some words so frequently.

Word clouds can also be used to help students see which words that they have frequently used in their own works. Have your students create word clouds of their work during the revision process of writing a story or essay. The word cloud will quickly show students which words they have used a lot. Then ask them to think about synonyms for the words that they have used most often in their writings. 

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