Text Visualizers and Word Clouds are one and the same.
What are word clouds?
They are cool arrangements of randomly positioned words, where the most important words are larger than the others.
What are word clouds for?
Here are a few ideas for you...
  • Use them to summarize documents, reports or even answers to questionnaires. (speeches, students' own writings, etc)
  • Use them as as pieces of art. My logo for this wiki was created using Wordle.
  • Use them to make lessons more fun, too.
  • Use them to show compound words then incorporate the examples into a glog at edu.glogster.com
Tip: If you are generating a word cloud from a list of words and want to vary the size of the words, copy each word and paste it in several times (different number of times for each word). Copy and paste the most important word more than the others.

Word It Out

Word it Out is the latest word cloud site that I have found. I really like it for teacher use. Since the resulting word cloud image is sent to you via an email link, it isn't a good choice for students. Here are some of the cool advantages of Word It Out:
1. You only have to type each word that you want in the word cloud once. There is an easy way to vary the size of the words after they have been entered.
2. You aren't limited to set color schemes. You can choose any back ground color and set a range for the font colors.
3. You can adjust the size of the word cloud image before finishing it. There is no need to crop later in another program.
4. You can embed your word cloud in a wiki or web site.

Disadvantages
1. You get a link to the word cloud in an email message.
2. There is no way to change the size of the word cloud in the embed code.
3. The size of the embedded word cloud is larger than what you created on the site.



ABCya Word Clouds

ABCya_word_clouds.pngI was so excited to find an excellent Word Cloud Creator for younger elementary students. It has all the features of Wordle like choice of font, layout, cool color schemes, etc. plus the ability to right-click on a word in the cloud and delete it.. Cool, huh? This site does seem to include all the words except for common ones. However, the size of the words is not dependent on how many times they are used. Students can enter words one time and the sizes will vary depending on the randomization of the word cloud.

MyABCyaCloud.jpeg
Another cool feature is the ability to save the word clouds as images to use PowerPoint presentations or other documents. After the students make their formatting selections and are finished with the word cloud, they will need to click the Save link beneath the word cloud. It might take several seconds before the Save window appears. NOTE: The default name for the file will be MyCloud, so each student should include their name in the file name. Additionally, the students should add the following (without quotes)at the end of the file name - .jpg - that is dotjpg. Otherwise the computer will not know how to open the saved file. If a student forgets, the .jpg can always be added later by renaming the file.




TagCrowd

TagCrowd will take text, whether it be from a website or a file, and create a visual depiction of the most commonly used words in that text. TagCrowd is extremely easy to use. The user has several options such as number of words to include in the visualization, the option to ignore infrequent words, and the option to group similar words. It lacks some of the features in WordSift and Wordle, but it is so easy to use and so easy to upload a document that it is worth investigating.

tagcrowd_example.png



WordSift

WordSift does much more than just create a tag cloud of words found in text. When you paste in the text of a speech, student writing, or other source, you get something like the following created from the text of Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have a Dream Speech".
wordsift_example.png
from "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.

In addition, students can sort the words alphabetically or according to how rare they are. If a word is clicked on, it will appear in a visual thesaurus. Hovering on a word in the thesaurus will bring up its definition and clicking on a word will expand the thesaurus around that word. Here are two examples of freedom and 'state' which was not in the original WordSift, but in the visual thesaurus for freedom. Below the viusal thesaurus, example of the word from the text are given.
wordsift_visual_thesaurus.png
wordsift_visual_thesaurus2.png




Wordle

Wordle does a wonderful job of creating visualized text. Here's the same speech entered into Wordle. Students can choose the color. Students can print their Wordles or save to a public gallery, but Wordle lacks the visual thesaurus, sorting options, work space and example from the text that WordSift has. Note: Teachers should be aware, that if students are not monitored, they can access less desirable or inappropriate examples by visiting the gallery. Please monitor your students carefully while they are using this web site.
wordle_example.png
wordle_example2.png
Original Wordle
Same Wordle with changes to font, color scheme and layout.