Have you ever planned a great lesson and then due to some unforeseen circumstance it became a living nightmare?
This happened to me most recently when I was presenting Web 2.0 tools to my class at the University. I decided to begin with a word cloud and wanted everyone to type as many words as they could about technology. However, when everyone went to the site, they saw word clouds with profanities on the homepage. I was appalled and realized that I could not control the content on wordle, because it was updated in real time by its users all over the world.
Here is an example of the home page on wordle.net:
If you are going to use wordle for a lesson, you have very little control over what your students are going to see on this site . It seems a bit risky to use wordle in the classroom because of the possible inappropriate content.
Boy, was I was excited to read Shelly Terrell's blog, "Teacher Reboot Camp," on word cloud tools, as I was able to create great word clouds and because they are very student friendly. In her blog, Terrell provided tips and tricks for 12 word cloud resources. My favorites so far, include Word it Out, Tagul and imagechef.
Word it Out is comparable to wordle, but it has couple different features that gives you more control of your word cloud. Here is one with my delicious tags:
Word it Out seemed much better than wordle, because you could easily save images and play around with the words more. Next is a word cloud created at Tagul. The neat part of this word cloud, is that when you click on a word, it takes you to a link. Here are my delicious tags made into a word cloud at Tagul:
I would have to say that my favorite word cloud creator so far is found at imagechef. I love the shapes feature of this tool. Shapes include people, stars, hearts, happy faces and many more. Again, using my delicious tags, this wordle was created:
I also made one for the Grade One blog that my students read each day.
Hopefully, they will be excited to make their own word cloud for our 100th day of school on Wednesday!