Archive for the ‘Web 2.0 tools’ Category

Xtranormal is another site that gives you the chance to make animated cartoon videos for free. In comparison to the other options I have already blogged about, it is more like GoAnimate than Dvolver, in that  you are much more of a director than you are with Dvolver, giving you lots of characters and options to be more in control of your animation. It is simple enough to use with some practice and at the end of the day, if you see the use of animations being useful for your teaching or for your pupils to adapt the language, then it will be a good option. Really, it only depends if you prefer GoAnimate or Xtranormal as to which one you use perhaps. Actually, at some point in a future blog, I may compare the two, as well as other similar tools offering similar services for ease of reference. Perhaps people might like to suggest some categories worth comparing? (Comment below!)

To use Xtranormal go to the webpage, http://www.xtranormal.com, and then register for free. As with various other sites, you can get enough out of the site without having to pay for the full licence that gives you more options and a greater range of characters, backgrounds etc. When you are registered, you will be directed to your ‘home’ and from there click on ‘Create’. The following screen below will be displayed.

As you can see below, there are a lot of character sets to choose from!

Once you have finally picked which characters you will use, you then have some further choices to make as to which, Sets, Actors, Sounds and Story you will use.

The sets option will allow you to pick a background or location for the story, the actors will be the main characters for thje action (you will be limited to start with as to who you can pick – to have more options you will have to upgrade your account – up to you of course if you need more characters), the sounds will allow you to have some atmosphere, sound effects or musical accompaniments to the action, and then you get to ‘Story’ which is the key element for you action.

You will see that you basically type into the box to allow the character to speak those words, and then drag various movements and actions from the left hand tool bar to add more realism and action to the scene. You can have camera movements, characters performing a variety of actions such as clenching fists, blowing kisses and ironic clapping amongst many others, having different emotive facial expressions and having basic interactions with the other character. Really it is best to explore the various options available, and use these to add to your dialogues to make the video more interesting. There should be plenty to give you or your pupils what you need for your films.

In terms of adding more speech boxes, you need to click the ‘+’ icon in the text boxes that will give you three options, either using a text bubble, uploading or recording your voice or adding a title bubble. The recording your voice option will obviously give your pupils the chance to practise their speaking and listening skills (it’s great how pupils will re-record themselves several times to get it right, thereby practising the language more than they would usually) or their writing and reading skills if you elect the text bubble option.

As you go along, you can click on the preview button to see how your video is coming along, and then go back and edit or change anything that you don’t like. When you are finished, click on ‘Save’ and then ‘Publish’ which will allow you to give your film a title, description and some tags to help people find it. It may take a few minutes for your film to be rendered which is worth bearing in mind if you want to show films made in class – allow time at the end of the lesson for this!

The completed video can be embedded or shared via a variety of mediums. To embed, click on ’embed the Xtranormal player’ on the right hand side of the video, under the video URL, choose a size for the video and copy the embed code. Then paste it into your blog or website, wherever you choose to use it. It can also be used on Posterous, something I intend to use a great deal this Academic Year. If you use Posterous, just put the embed code into the body of the email that you send to Posterous, and it will automatically come up! Fantastically easy! This could be the best way of your pupils sharing their own videos with the class if you have allowed them to become contributors to your Posterous space.

So, that’s it in a nutshell. Again, the best thing to do is explore and experiment. If you have any questions, please do comment and ask.

Here are some other links worth checking out about using Xtranormal in the classroom

http://joedale.typepad.com/integrating_ict_into_the_/2010/01/making-your-xtranormal-mfl-lessons-work.html

http://www.slideshare.net/digitalmaverick/how-to-use-xtranormal

http://www.boxoftricks.net/2009/11/xtranormal-in-the-classroom/

 

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It’s been a while since I blogged. The end of term and my time at my last school and all it brought with it took up a lot of time and although I am beginning to get ready for my move to Worcestershire and am starting to be surrounded by boxes, I’ve decided to get back to the blog.

Today I’m going to introduce Toondoo, which is another option for those teachers who, like me, are fans of cartoons and comics and see how they can be used in the classroom. I have already blogged about various other options to make cartoons, (see my blog entries about Chogger, Make Beliefs Comix, Stripgenerator and Witty Comics and visit their pages to have a look at the various differences) and I’m not going to talk here about how comics can be used as I have discussed this already. All I will say is that it is a novel way to practice writing and reading skills rather than doing your standard writing in an exercise book or reading from a textbook.

Toondoo is another free site to join and use although you can pay to get certain extra features such as high resolution images. Toondoo offers a wide package of facilities including the ability to make books as well as comic strips. It also gives you the option to create your own doodles and pictures to add a personal touch to your comic and feels quite like Go Animate for cartoons in a way. There are certainly more options to Toondoo than the other comic strips creation tool sites that I have already blogged about, but this means that it could take longer to get used to using the various options and feel like you have mastered the comic creation process!

Once you have clicked on the ‘Sign up for free’ button at the top of the page and registered, you are ready to go. The image above will give you an idea of what you will have in front of you, and the options you have. If you click on either Toons or Books you will see ‘Create Toon’ or ‘Create Book’ which will probably be your first option unless you want to explore the kind of cartoons you can make with the search facility. Click on ‘Create toon’ to start with and the first thing you will have to decide on is the layout of your strip as seen below.

Having clicked on one of these options, you will then have a dashboard much like the GoAnimate or Domo Animate dashboards if you are familiar with these movie and comic creation sites. It will look like the image below:

The buttons on the left hand side of the dashboard (from top to bottom) will allow you to choose your characters, backgrounds, props, speech bubble options, brushmen (random other images), specials, ClipArt images and then other images that you have uploaded from your own gallery. Let’s start with characters – if you put your cursor over this button you will have a variety of options of different characters. grouped in various different categories (Men, Women, KIds, Animals/Birds, Sports etc) and they will have the same character in different poses which helps add range to your comic. Once you have found a character you like, click and drag into the panel where you want to put it. You also have a range of tools at the bottom of the dashboard which you can click on to adapt a selected image, for example changing its size, way it is facing, its position in relation to another object etc.

To add a background, hover over the background icon and drag the one you like into the relevant panel. The same process goes with objects and is similar with speech bubbles. The only difference with speech bubbles is that you just type your words into the bubble having elected the type of bubble you want. It is a very easy process, and you can delete mistakes simply by selecting the offending image and clicking delete on your keyboard. The best thing to do is just play around with it, but I haven’t found many problems with it nd when I showcased it in a lesson, the kids quickly caught on to how to use it and had no difficulties.

When you have finished, go to the top left hand icon and hover over the ‘Toondoo Start here icon’, and click Save. Give your cartoon a title and description and decide if you are going to make it public or private. You can also email it directly to those you want to send it to, perhaps the best way for your pupils to send you completed efforts that they have done. Click publish when you are done and then you can either see it (go to page) or print it out. Here is one I made as I was learning how to use Toondoo.

A bit silly, but nevermind! To find all your previous creations, go to the Toon menu at the homepage and click on ‘My Toons’ where you can still edit your toon if you need to.

For more questions or to get a more in depth view of how to use toondoo, you can go to this link for the Toondoo wiki.

Here are some other useful links:

Teachers’ guide

Slideshare How to use toondoo

More detailed step by step guide

Toondoo cartoon on how to use toondoo!

Please let me know if you have a go and sign up for Toondoo. Perhaps we can exchange links to cartoons.

 

When I first was introduced to Powerpoint and it’s teaching benefits on my PGCE year I was immediately enthused by what it could do. It was a fun way of presenting new language, or grammar or information about a topic, and made a change from other introductory techniques such as flashcards, saying and repeating and other traditional techniques. I loved mucking around with sound effects, slide transitions and doing little games such as onboard word searches, quick flashing words / images, anagrams and so on. I still use a lot of powerpoint presentations today, mostly with Years 9 and 10, but there is such a thing as death by powerpoint and you can overdo it.

A good alternative is to use Prezi. Prezi is an online presentation tool, that basically allows you to have a blank canvas and to put on lots of text, images, videos, audio, graphics and so on, to create your presentation. It is really a different method of doing the same thing, but Prezi allows you more flexibility in how you construct your presentation and just feels a bit more hip and modern! You don’t have to view your completed presentation online though; the finished product can be downloaded and viewed offline if you don’t have an internet connection.

Happily, Prezi is free to use for teachers and educators, so go to the website http://prezi.com/ and register for your free account. Click on the ‘Sign Up’ button and scroll down to the smaller button that says ‘Students and Teachers – with educational email only’ and click this. Then either click ‘Edu Enjoy’ for free or the second option if you want to pay for the privilege and get a few more options and bonuses. You will then have to use your school email to register for this service to prove you are a student / teacher as they will verify this. From then, follow the instructions and you will be all set up.

I think the Prezi help videos are very good, and I would strongly advise watching these to get an idea of how to get started making your presentations and the kind of things you can do with the program. You can go to them directly by clicking on this link: http://prezi.com/learn/ or click on the picture below.

I’ll talk you through how to start as well, but you will probably get most out of watching these videos and then having a go yourself. Don’t forget to print out or read through the cheat sheets as well (these can easily be used if you get your students to use Prezi as well of course). The support system is good for Prezi I must say and it does give you a lot of useful tips about how to make the most of the program.

When you have signed up, you will go to ‘Your Prezis dashboard’. Here you can see the Prezis that you have already made, click ‘Learn’ to get ideas and tips, ‘Explore’ to have a look at other Prezis out there (you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel remember, there may already be one made that you can use if it is public -Prezis can be kept private as well and limited to those you want to see them. ) Thisd is also where you start your creative process by clicking the icon saying ‘New Prezi’. Having clicked this you will need to think of a title and put a brief description of its content. Having done this, you will have the option of picking which type of canvas you want to use, which best suits your presentation; some are rather business orientated, but most types of prezi will have viable uses in the MFL classroom and you can preview what they look like first. Having clicked on one of these and then start editing, your canvas will load up ready to be adorned with the wonders of your creativity. Here there is a picture showing what templates are available.

If you click on the blank template you are basically designing the whole thing without a template. The first thing to do is to get used to using the tools available and move around the canvas. This is what your starting canvas will look like (I have already filled in a title by double clicking this bit of the canvas.)

The tool in the top left hand side of the screen is the key thing to get used to using and how it works. As you can hopefully see in the picture above, in the blue circular tools you have circles labled ‘Insert’, ‘Frame’, ‘Path’ and ‘Colours and Fonts’. By clicking on these you can adapt your Prezi and organise the transition from element to element of the presentation. In the Insert menu option you can add in shapes, images, Youtube videos, powerpoint presentations, charts and files (including sound files). The frame option allows to change the shape of the frame of the textbox. The path button is the one you use when you are sequencing your presentation elements, to show which way you want to move around the canvas when the presentation and the colours and fonts obviously change the colour scheme for the canvas, including the writing colour.

You can click anywhere on the canvas to create a textbox and also click and hold to drag the canvas around to decide where you are going to add your next bit of text , graphic, video etc. It takes a little bit of getting used to, as occasionally you can create textboxes inadvertently (which can be deleted easily), but it is worth practising and working out how much of the screen can be seen during the presentation.

When you have put in your various elements, select the path option and click between the elements to decide in which order they will be shown. This will also be shown on the left hand side of your screen.

Your prezi is saved progressively so you won’t lose everything if something goes wrong which is handy. When you are done, click ‘Exit’ and you will then be able to show your Prezi.

Again, this can be a nice presentation tool for many purposes, and there are a variety of games that can be played with it, as you can do with powerpoint.

Why not have a look at these prezis and links to get ideas of how to use Prezi?

Teaching MFL through stories

Household chores (French)

Glogster is a ‘Publisher’ type online tool, that makes posters that have more to them than your standard Publisher documents that Microsoft Office provide. Aside to text and images, you can also add video and audio as well as much flashier graphics and other little effects. The emphasis is much more on ‘youth culture’ rather than office or work presentations in terms of the graphics and images provided, which make it attractive for pupils. The end results are eyecatching and professional looking and are relatively easy to produce, and can be either printed out (obviously not if you have included video and audio content) or viewed online.

Glogster itself is free to use. There is an educational vesion which provides a ‘safer’ environment, allowing the teacher to be able to control what their pupils can see and organise things more effectively for their classes. This is called called Glogster EDU and it does cost a subscription depending on how many accounts and licences you need. I must say that I am not wholly convinced about the need to use the EDU page as with department budgets being what they are, the money is possibly best spent elsewhere. It is worth having a look though and seeing if you feel you would get your money’s worth from it, you can take the Glogster EDU tour here that tells you what the service provides. If I was to pick one suscription version it would be single user with 50 accounts, though I am not sure I would use Glogster lots over the year.

Glogster could be used for a variety of activities. It could be presentation device perhaps to start off a lesson. It could also be a revision device, presenting a variety of resources for pupils to look over following a lesson or unit, much as I have done here with this Glog containing videos on immigration that I use with the U6th and IB sets. It could also be an online worksheet, much like Lingt offers, without the ability for pupils to record their own answers as Lingt offers. Of course, pupils can use it as well. It would be excellent for doing projects, allowing them to include videos and pictures and maybe an oral presentation with their written work. Obviously it is a nice poster creation tool, and not just for class display but also for their own revision for their rooms. There are a variety of other blogs that talk about how glogster could be employed in the classroom, here is one such: Using Glogster in the classroom

To start with, you will need to register, and when you have done this, you will be directed to your dashboard home where you can start creating your glogs and see previous ones that you have made. It will look like this:

First of all you need to decide what type of glog you want to make, and you have a few templates to give you some ideas as you can see above.  I’m going to do an information giving glog about Las Fallas, and try and include some videos and things, as an example for this blog.

Let’s use the Poster glog template to start with, as this is the one you will probably use the most, and your pupils will opt for to give them more freedom to design their glog. Once you’ve clicked on it, your poster will load and you will see this below, with a helpful arrow pointing at the buttons you wil use to add images, text, graphics, video and audio.

Let’s start by adapting the background to something more Spanish. Click on ‘Wall’ and then select from a variety of options, including an image of your own, a Glogster gallery wall, or a solid colour. Find something you like and then click ‘Use it’ to set as the background wall for yout glog.

Now I’m going to add a title to my glog, so click on ‘Text’ and again you have a wide variety of tetx bubbles that you can write in. This could be one issue by the way with pupils using Glogster; some pupils could well take ages agonising over which colours, images, fonts and so on to use, wasting valuable time when the key aim is to obviously produce accurate language. Since my glog will be about Las Fallas, I’ve managed to find a fiery text bubble! Having picked a text bubble, click ‘Use it’ and then you adapt the text as you see fit, with colours, fonts and so on, and can obviously drag the text bubble around the glog and resize it as you need, much as you would do with Publisher.

Now let’s put a Youtube video. Click on ‘Tools’ to go back to the choices for types of add ons to put onto your glog and select video. If you are looking to upload a video you have already made (perhaps from Silent Film Director – see previous blog entry, or even from GoAnimate, Dvolver etc)  you can do this, or you can link to one from Youtube, Vimeo or anywhere else on the internet. I’m using a video from Youtube which gives a nice intro to Las Fallas festival (Click here if you want to see it, Journeyman pictures incidently do a lot of nice vids about cultural events from all over the world, worth searching them.) I’ve put a random graphic of an arrow in as well.

Once you have put in a few bits and pieces like this, you will really get the idea of how it all works. Go to the Tool Menu, select what you want to add to the glog, upload or link to whatever it is, click ‘Use it’ and then adapt it in terms of colour, size or location around the Glog.

You can see my completed Glog by following this link. http://www.glogster.com/mrwatson76/las-fallas-de-valencia/g-6li1pk394c25q3hj9pepna0 It’s just a demo really. With more time, I might add links to places with more information about Las Fallas, or put in some questions to stimulate discussion.

You can obviously embed lots of the types of tools that I have talked about on my blog before. Cartoon, wordles, tagxedos, videos made with GoAnimate, toondoo, Dvolver etc etc can all be put in, so it is a good chance to show off all your abilities!

Happy Glogging!

I have already done several posts about sites that make cartoons, movies or videos (and there will be more!) Domo Animate is another one of these, coming from the same family as GoAnimate, which I have already blogged about (see the archives). I do like cartoons and animations, both for productive and receptive Spanish. I feel that it is particularly important to vary your productive Spanish tasks, as doing the same old ‘write a letter, write a description, write an essay’ task gets boring for pupils and anything different, creative and fun can stimulate pupils into producing better work. This was very much the case with a prep I set my 4th form (year 10s) this week, describing car crashes. I got some nice videos back from GoAnimate and Dvolver, having given them the choice of these and Chogger. I really only gave them three options in case one or two of them didn’t work! You never know with our school computer system!!

Domo Animate works in the same way as Go Animate if you are familiar with this tool. It has a slightly more amateurish feel possibly, though this in no way detracts from the finished product. It feels slightly more old school cartoony, rather than the slightly more modern feel of the characters and scenarios in most of the GoAnimate scenes. Having signed up (free, naturally), go to Create Animation and then you have a couple of options. There is a slideshow option or the Domo Animation studio option. For both there are tutorial videos which are well worth watching to get a feel for how to get started and make the most out of the program. If you want to have a look directly, just click on this link. (there is an annoying advert before the tutorial vids). Below is the options screen for which type of animation to create.

Using the slideshow option might be a good way of getting pupils to do a presentation in which they narrate a series of events based on the pictures that they have uploaded, and a good way to practise link phrases and speaking generally. However, there are other slideshow tools out there, and you of course can generally do this from your media viewer, but it may be worth trying out with pupils, particularly if you have maybe downloaded a load of random pictures. What could be quite fun is to upload some random pictures from the internet on a topic to revise, but without the pupils knowing what they are. They then have to think on their feet and describe what they see, maybe scoring points for describing lots of things on the screen.

The more creative option is to click on the Domo Animation Studio create button, as this gives you the chance to exercise those film director tendencies inspired by the latest Aardman or Pixar productions!. Once you have clicked ‘Create’ you will see the ‘studio’ below.

The scene on the right hand side is your canvas as it were, and on the left hand side you have the various tools, characters, backgrounds, objects and effect buttons that you use to create the show. The bottom shows you the different ‘stills’ or separate scenes that make up your animated movie. On the left hand side you have buttons for characters (the egg type icon button), the type of speech bubble you want to employ for the characters’ dialogue, backgrounds (the scenery type icon button), objects (the tree icon button), music and other random animation effects. By clicking on these, you see which options you have to use in your movie.

If we start with characters, pick a character you like from the decent selection of oddballs (I have a preference for the monsters and animals!) and click on one you like. Your character then appears on your canvas, and you can then moev him around by clicking and draggin, resize, by adjusting the picture dimensions in the same way as Office Publisher, and change the way the character faces by using the arrow buttons above the character when selected, or whether it goes infront or behind another object. Below, you can the see the first stage of my video, having set a scary type background and with a monster selected.

You can add various characters onto the canvas, as you can again see below, and give them things to say by clicking the speech bubble button, moving the speech bubble to where you want it (including moving the orientation of it) and then typing into the bubble. Fonts can be adapted too, and the size will automatically adapt to fit the text into the bubble. Here is the scene with another character added and some speech bubbles.

You can then add things as you want. I then clicked on the music button to add some dramatic tension music. The music lasts throughout the video, so there is no need to add it into each different scene. When you are happy with one scene click on the clapperboards in the bottom right hand corner below to either add a new scene, or delete a previous one. The characters will be left in the same places ready for you to carry on the conversation, or move them someplace else. When characters are selected, you will see you have the option to make them move and do actions, adding to the events and excitement. It all works the same way as GoAnimate if you have already tried this, but without the speaking aloud or uploading recorded speech option.  Go about the scene creation in the same way as before, adding scenes where you want to. It is fun to play around and see what all your options are, and also useful to know how it all works before you unleash your pupils on the tool to have a go!

When you are done, click ‘Preview’ to have a look at your masterpiece. If you are happy with it, click save. If not you can always go back to edit, adapt, or add or delete more scenes. Having clicked save, you then have to give the video a title, tags, short description and choose it’s language. You can then either save it, or share with friends or pupils. See the screenshot below.

If you click Save and Share you can then choose to email it to your friends or class, or get an embed code for a blog, wiki or Posterous (which I will blog about when I have worked it out fully! This may be the best way to save class material for everyone to see).  I’ve embedded my very short video on Posterous if you want to have a look. (http://pedroelprofesor.posterous.com/domo-animate-trial). Or you can click on the following link: http://domo.goanimate.com/go/movie/0NqL6jaS7d4U?utm_source=emailshare&uid=0GIJlU_3sETw

Domo Animate takes a little time to produce, but is great fun and the results are excellent. You will need to tutor your class yo use it which might take a certain period of your lesson, but it is worth it! Enjoy!

Today I thought I would do something slightly different; rather than introducing a new program or web 2.0 tool that could be employed in your lessons, I though I would deal with how you go about training or teaching pupils how to use them.

There are lots of time pressures on teachers at all the various Key Stages and the use of some of the tools I have blogged about previously could be seen by some as a luxury lesson. For example, it is all well and good to do a writing task by using a comic creator such as Chogger, Strip Generator or Toondoo (yet to be blogged about, it will happen!) but is this really the best way of getting pupils to write? Do pupils become obsessed about the layout of the cartoon and forget about the linguistic importance of the task they are charged with carrying out? Does humour take over from intellectual and educational relevance? Is it time effective or could pupils produce more work in the time available just by writing in their books in the traditional manner? What happens if things go wrong with the programme or website? What happens if pupils don’t like using computers or find it hard to work out how to use the tool effectively?

My first point is that by using cartoon generating tools you will stimulate interest in the task, and it is likely that pupils will make more of an effort to produce an entertaining and well made piece. The same is not necessarily true of yet another piece of written work in their exercise book, which doesn’t really spark much interest and can be trotted off in a rush. Any language production is worthwhile immediately, and the finished cartoons will almsot certainly be shown off to others in the class and be read by others. This hardly ever happens with exercise book work. A sense of competition, and the desire to outdo others could grow, and as long as you, the teacher, controls this competitive instinct and directs it towards target language production then better work will be elicited. It may be a luxury lesson, but it will in my opinion be productive and something that will enthuse and motivate your pupils. It doens’t have to be done every week, maybe once a term will suffice, and who knows, pupils may be inspired to do others independently.

The difficulty is perhaps teaching pupils how to use the tools without losing much time of the lesson and this is a key factor to debate. First of all, you have to be very confident in using the tool or application. You  have to anticipate what problems could arise, work out how you want everything to work and see what every button does before using it in a lesson, as the last thing you want is for some unsolvable disaster to occur which leaves you looking stupid as you try and work out why you can’t type into a speechbubble, or why something hasn’t saved. One method is to do a presentation demo infront of the class beforehand and restrict the features of the tool that they use. Another is to walk a class through their task step by step, giving a set time limit per stage of the task you are completing. Some kind of handout is probably necessary as well with a basic guideline for using a tool. This is something I will be doing during the summer holidays in fact.

There are various other options as well. Perhaps you could liaise with the IT department and see if they will teach some of the tools in their class. After school or lunchtime hobbies time will also be useful projects, though the downside is that not all pupils will become involved and some could get left behind. There is the chance that interest will spread if pupils enjoy the creative process. If finished projects such as animations, cartoons and videos can be embedded on well published and regularly viewable blogs or department webpages, others may be curious and encouraged to join in. Certainly using these tools in my opinion is an excellent way of  promoting TL use in language clubs for instance, where time pressures are not as restrictive.

In all situations, the most important thing to do is to do the preparation work first. Know WHY you are using the tool and WHAT you want the finished outcome to be. Know HOW it works and have the appropriate support ready fo the pupils. It helps a great deal to have the target language material prepared fully prior to using the tools you are going to use in the lesson, or requiring them to use in their homework.

So far I have had fair success with implementing certin tools. Edmodo has gone down a storm, but then it is very easy to use given its facebook like style and interface. Voki has also worked very well, and my chogger lesson was pretty successful, barring slow running internet issues which slowed the process down and led to rather rushed finished projects.

I am already thinking of how I will introduce the tools I use in my next school. This clean start seems an ideal time to begin properly. I think it will be very important to be organised before this, deciding which things to start with and not overloading pupils with too many things right away. I do intend to ask pupils to subscribe to certain sites immediately, certainly Edmodo and Voxopop to start with. I also would like to get every pupil going with their own blog page, and teach them how to embed their own videos, cartoons and so on as a lasting ‘folder’ of their efforts over the year. I just hope the computer systems at my new school will be reliable!

 

Tagxedo

Posted: April 26, 2012 in Reading, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 tools
Tags: , ,

Tagxedo is an alternative to Wordle, a tool that takes a text and makes a rather fetching wordcloud. Having blogged already about Wordle a week or two ago, please read that particular blog entry to see how you could employ these wordclouds in your lessons, and do read the links there for more ideas from Samantha Lunn.

When you go to Tagxedo (click here) you will see the above start page. You have a range of options about where to source your text from that will be made into a wordcloud, URLs for webpages, Twitter sources etc. I’ve made one from my blog which you can see below.

Having put in the URL and clicked on submit, you then get one offering for a word cloud, which you can then adapt to the shape and colours that you like, or that are relevant to the words in the cloud. Here is the same word selection in a different style, font and colour scheme.

The thing that makes Tagxedo slightly more of an attractive option than Wordle is that you have more options about the end product. There are a variety of shapes that you can fit the words into, and a nice range of fonts, colour schemes and so on. The one down-side I think, and the reason why I suspect I will currently use Wordle more is that I don’t think you can input your choice of words (I may be missing something here as I have to admit that I haven’t had the time to fully explore Tagxedo yet – please correct me if I’m wrong someone) but the end product does look great.

Anyway, tagxedo certainly has its uses and in primarily the same ways as Wordle. Perhaps pupils could make tagxedo’s out of vocabulary pages or grammar explanations and use them as posters and it could help with revision for instance in addition to other uses already mentioned.

Please comment on how you use tagxedo already, or how you feel it could be employed.