Monday, 7 December 2009

4 Similar Tools to Wordle

Wordle, a very simple tool for creating graphic word clouds of texts, has rocked the Edtech world and inspired a huge number of blog posts and teaching ideas, including my own back in September of 2008. That's why I decided to use it as the basis for the first task in a web based 1 week open free workshop on Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers that I'm moderating for SEETA.

As so many people are already familiar with Wordle, I thought I'd also share a few similar tools that can be used instead of or alongside Wordle with other web based resources to create useful learning materials for students. I've also added these here for anyone who doesn't make it along to the workshop.

  • Wordnik (no connection to the Nik in my name) is a great tool for helping students find out more information about word and create lists or related words to help them remember the words. It provides lots of great examples of the words being used and draws on social media sites for the examples, so you can see how the word is used in Twitter, see what images are tagged with the word in Flickr and lots more.
  • I wrote about Wordnik about a year ago when it was still Wordie, so look at this review if you want a bit more information. Creating word lists
  • I also created an activity for students to help them use the tool to work autonomously to develop their vocabulary. It needs a bit of updating now that the site has changed to Wordnik, but should give you some ideas about how it can be used I hope. List Your Favourite Words
  • Wordsift does a similar thing to Wordle, in that it produces a word cloud of words from a text, but it is far less visual and more functional. Once your students have produced the word cloud they can start actually clicking on the words and exploring their meanings and getting examples.
  • I wrote a review of WordSift here which shows a bit more about how to use it.Analysing Vocabulary in Texts
  • Here’s an example of how I’ve tried to integrate it with other web based tools and resources to create an activity for students to work on independently. Find Out More About Texts

  • Vocab Grabber is another tool that can be used to get more information about the words from a text. Vocab Grabber is more of a Dictionary / Thesaurus tool that pulls in information about words in a text, gives examples and also shows related words and word families.
  • I wrote this activity which exploits some marketing videos that have scripts along with WordGrabber and another tool called Future Me. I tried to use the combination of these tools to show how students could build good habits to enable them to learn, remember and revise new vocabulary. Develop Your Marketing Vocabulary

  • Easy define is a new tool that I just spotted this morning. It is a bit like a dictionary - word list creation tool. You simply type in a list of words ( or even paste in a complete text) and it will generate dictionary entries for all the words. You can then download these as a doc file or copy and past them. It will also produce a list of synonyms.
  • This is a great tool for creating paper based vocabulary worksheets. Once you’ve typed in your list or text and generated the definitions, you can simply download it and edit to create vocabulary records or matching activities. Should be a big time saver. You could get students to create word lists from their Wordle images.
I hope these tools are useful and if you know of other similar tools that you think are useful, please do post a link to them below, especially if you can include links to any materials you've created with them that you would like to share.

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Nik Peachey