Oct 13 2010

Creating Word Clouds- WordSift



We often see word clouds that accompany blogs, but how do you make one to go along with what you are teaching? WordSift makes easy work of visualizing text by putting together a word cloud of the most common words within a passage.

In this example, I copied Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Although it is fairly short, several words stand out pretty clearly.

To get started, I copied the text into the box provided, and then clicked Sift.

It takes a few moments, then gives you a visual representation of the text you selected.

Unfortunately, WordSift doesn’t have a way to export this graphic as an image, but a simple screen capture can allow your students to use the WordSift in other applications.

I like that WordSift give lots of suggestions about how you could use this in a classroom setting. One of my favorites was to give the students the WordSift and have them use it as inspiration to write an essay.

Oct 11 2010

Flickr Poet-You type the words, we supply the images.



Simple concept- students enter (or paste in) their own text and boom! A visual representation of their text is presented by matching Flickr images to their typed words. Here’s an example:

Here’s how Robert Frost’s Dust of Snow poem appears:

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

So maybe it’s a novelty, maybe not. Maybe it can motivate and inspire some writing by our beloved younger ones. The site doesn’t save the entered text- and apart from grabbing a screenshot, there is no way to instantly save the created photo wall. But I must admit, it’s pretty cool- as long as your students are allowed to get to Flickr that is. Speaking of, the site could pull up some pretty questionable images. By clicking the Show Story button, it will refresh the screen with all new images.