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Pros: Appeals to a wide range of ages, and the instantly-created clouds look mighty slick.
Cons: Kids may not take it seriously at first; help docs are a bit stilted.
Bottom Line: Lots of options for both fun and learning make this a great destination for early vocab learners and word explorers.
You can use Tagxedo as a fun activity to follow up a lesson: Let kids find a favorite book online, grab the text, plug it into Tagxedo with a cool shape, and print out the result. It could also be used as a self-esteem tool: Ask kids to think of positive words that best describe them (or a classmate); seeing them all together in a cloud can be really illuminating.
Tagxedo is a website that allows users to create word clouds from any text. What's a word cloud? It's a cloud made of words, of course. You input any words or text blocks into Tagxedo's interface, choose a shape and font, and the result is a cloud-like visual interpretation, with words appropriately sized to show their frequency in the text. The site can pull text from a user's Twitter account, blog, or any URL they type in, as well as custom words. Shapes include a heart, star, and apple, and there's a wide selection of fonts to choose from as well.
Kids will learn by seeing words in a different way; Tagxedo's clouds make you see each word as part of a whole, and vice versa. They'll learn by experimenting with shapes, sizes, and fonts to best express their ideas, and they'll be empowered by their fun digital creations. Tagxedo's simple format makes it a great place to go for fun virtual flashcard creation, text analysis, or just playing around with words. Kids might want to get silly with it at first, putting in swear words, etc., but they'll get to the point eventually.
Tagxedo makes it easy to create a slick-looking image in just a few minutes. It seems basic at first, but there are a handful of ways to make the site a valuable learning tool (some of which are outlined in 101 Ways to Use Tagxedo, a helpful slideshow). The interface is extremely easy to manipulate, and even younger kids should be able to play around with it. Younger kids can use Tagxedo to learn vocabulary skills, and it works as a foreign-language learning tool for kids of any age. Kids can also analyze Web pages, online books, Twitter, or their own blogs to see which subjects they focus on the most; it's an interesting way to evaluate text and word usage.