In a recent professional development, word clouds, specifically Wordle , were discussed as a way to teach vocabulary to students. While Wordle is a great tool, it can sometimes be difficult to create and print. Here are three great alternatives that I’ve found are a bit more user-friendly and customizable.
- WordClouds.com – Use the wizard to quickly enter a list of words, either by typing directly or uploading a Word of PDF document. Then you can use the shape button to choose from a variety of shapes, letters, or upload your own image. The words are then scaled to fit within that shape. You can make words larger or smaller using the sliding scale at the top of the picture. There are also buttons to change colors and font, the direction of words (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, etc.) and even the gaps between the words. It also features a mask feature which makes the original shape a watermark behind the words. Another useful feature is the word list where you can weight the importance of the word. You open the list and every word has one. By increasing that number, it makes that word bigger. You can save images as JPG of PNG or you can easily print. You can even share on Facebook and Twitter as well as other social media. Here is the one I created for copyright.
2. Tagul.com – This interface is slightly more challenging than WordClouds.com but still relatively simple to use. The buttons are to the left. Click Words to get started. Enter either a list of words you want to use or you can enter a website address and it will pull the words from that page. For my image, I used a Bleacher Report story about Luis Suarez pulled directly from that website. You can adjust the size of each individual word so that more important words are larger. Then choose a shape. There are numerous categories to choose from. Choose your fonts and layout (i.e. vertical, horizontal, etc.). You can choose a different color or the color that was used with the original shape. You can also change the background color. Images can be saved (once you create an account) or printed directly from the page. You can also download and share via email, Facebook, Twitter or a direct link. PNG files are available for download. The lowest quality is free, but there is a charge for the higher quality downloads.
For more information about how to use word clouds in the classroom, check out these two articles: