Fun with Word Clouds, Best Catch: WordSift

Word Clouds are nifty ways to see which words are being used most often in a text.  To be sure, there are many other purposes for using word clouds.  They are lively, colorful, intriguing, artistic, and for my purpose, a way to display words that may need some introduction or re-activation for my English students.

One of the many services that generate word clouds, WordItOut made this one when I dumped the script of the movie “Love Actually” into it.  Here is a direct link to the generated output, WordItOutLoveActually.  And here is the image as downloaded from WordItOut.

WordItOut-Word-cloud-73317

One comprehensive roundup for similar Word Cloud generators is from WhiteBoardBlog.

Another roundup that was helpful in wasting a couple of hours playing with Word Clouds is here at 21CenturyEdTech.  In particular, I love one suggestion to try VocabGrabber, a Visual Thesaurus service that is supremely comprehensive as a concordancing tool.  Another piece of Visual Thesaurus is one feature of WordSift.

Kenji Hakuta from Stanford offers WordSift to teachers looking to support students who are building vocabularies or are about to tackle a new dialog or text.  The link for WordSift takes you to a video tour of features.  WordSift is so richly endowed that you really ought to watch the Quick Time video first.  The word cloud that it makes is not arranged artistically but is super-powered with concordance abilities.  At about 65% of the way through the video, he shows how teachers can quickly compose a workspace by dragging in words and pictures that WordSift automatically finds for you on the internet.  That’s exciting (for this teacher, at least).

Update (five minutes after posting this):

I can resist adding another recommendation, for Tagul.  And to show it off, let’s try out a Live Writer plugin for Embedded Flash to see if the plugin succeeds in embedding the Tagul Flash when posted to WordPress.  Hmmm, not on that pass, so let’s paste a  little screenshot instead.

TagulWordCloudLoveActuallyAllWordsReducedByInkscape

This is the script of Love Actually with no words dropped (even the most common words are included) as visualized by Tagul.  Tagul publishes to public or private URL’s.  This view includes a fair number of tweaks that I made.  Just click and visit this one, but before you go, remember to float your mouse over the words to see them animate, and click on a word or two so that you can see how Tagul has tagged each word to do a google search with one click.  So cool.  Now you can click on Tagul Love Actually All words.

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