Saturday 13 February 2021

Create Video Word Clouds with Quillionz Skimthru

 If you’ve read my QuickShout blog before then you probably already know a little about Quillionz and their awesome AI based app that analyses text and creates comprehension questions in minutes. Well now they have a new tool for us to enjoy.

Quillionz Skimthru is a word cloud creation tool with a difference. It actually analyses the closed captions from videos and creates word clouds that play in parallel to the video.

This is really simple to use, just register on the Quillionz Skimthru site, then copy the link from your video and paste it into the interface field.

Next add a title and select a domain for the video based on the type of content.

Then just click on proceed. Wait a few minutes and the word cloud will appear beside the video.

To skim through this video quickly, drag the dot on the progress bar of the Skimthru panel or video for a minute or more and release it.

I really like this combination of word cloud and video, and it seems like a nice bridge to helping students understand the content, without going all the way to subtitles.

If you make copies of the word clouds you can use them in a number of ways.
  • You can pre-teach vocabulary from the word cloud.
  • You can get students to predict content based on the word cloud.
  • You can use the word clouds to prompt students' memory of the videos and help them to remember the content.
  • Students can use the words from the word cloud to write summary statements about the video.

Here’s an example I created from a short animated poem 'The Peace of Wild Things'.

There are lots of useful videos on The Kids Should See This that you can use with students. They are very content rich and most have closed captions.

Quillionz Skimthru has some limitations:

  • It only works with YouTube videos at present
  • The videos need to have closed captions
  • The quality of the word cloud depends on the quality of the captions (mistakes in the captions cause mistakes in the word cloud)

Quillionz Skimthru is an early release of a new tool, and it will be interesting to see how the company develops this.
It would be great to have a bit more control over which and how many words appear in the cloud and also when and how often it changes, but even without these features it’s a really useful tool for supporting students understanding of video content.

I hope you use and enjoy it with your students.

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Nik Peachey