How I Use It
I have used Tagxedo in a variety of ways, including summarizing a project and posting a word cloud of the key takeaways or learnings for parents to see and using the tool with students for them to summarize their own learning.
For example, I introduced the tool to second grade students to use after they had completed a research project on famous heroes. They learned how to find a reliable resource with bibliographic text about their hero and pasted that into Tagxedo. Then, they searched for an image that represented that person's accomplishments or personality to use as the shape of the word cloud. Finally, they learned how to remove words that did not belong, such as any URLs that might have been part of the text. The word cloud helped them visualize the key acts and ideas their hero was known for and enabled them to more easily share with others the important aspects of their hero's life.
Tagxedo makes it easy for students to highlight and pull out the most important words from a text, website, or even their own writing. The ability to shape that text into shapes and images makes the site more powerful because students can add additional layers of meaning by grouping the keywords into different shapes.
Unfortunately, the site can be a bit tricky to use, especially with younger students and the inability to save work-in-progress means that you need to really plan ahead and make sure you set aside enough time for a student to start and complete a Tagxedo project. Once a word cloud is complete, it is easy to save and share and currently, you can upload any shape or image if the choices in their image library do not match students' topics.