Word clouds are visual representations of the frequency of a word, words used more frequently are larger. Yes, these are very cool to look at, but they also have real educational uses in the classroom.
Students can paste the text they are analyzing into a word cloud generator and pick out the main ideas by which words are larger. Students can paste their own writing into a word cloud generator to indicate if they have communicated their main idea
or to see if they overuse certain words. This blog post lists 108 Ways to use Word Clouds in the Classroom.
Many word cloud generators are available. Possibly the best known is Wordle, but other generators offer other features. Some to check out are ABCya or Tagxedo. Another site to checkout that does not create a word cloud but assists in analyzing text is VocabGrabber. If you are working on an iPad, the free app Word Clouds by ABCYa.com is on the district’s Recommended list.