Tech Tuesday - Tagxedo and Wordle

Two of my favorite freebie web-tools are Tagxedo and Wordle.  Yes, I know everyone knows about Wordle, but most are unfamiliar with Tagxedo.  They both are similar - tag cloud generators - however, Tagxedo makes the coolest shapes with their tag clouds, see?

In case you aren't sure what a tag cloud generator is it basically takes words and phrases (that either you enter yourself or you tell it to grab from a URL) and displays them in a "word splash" form based on frequency.  For example, if you say "Butterflies" 100x in a website, it will make the world "butterflies" bigger since you used it so often.  This video helps to understand Tagxedo.  Here is a slide show which shows the many uses of Wordle (which can also be applied to the lovely Tagxedo).

I like to use either web tool for:
  • Get to know you introductions
  • Debriefing a concept or lesson
  • Assessing prior knowledge on a subject
  • Just to be cool (since they are so pleasing to the eye)
Special tip:  To enter phrases, use the "~" sign  (the tilde sign) in between words.  Not a hyphen, the ~ sign is the one you need.  You know, the one you use in Spanish?  If you think of other creative uses of Tagxedo or Wordle, do share them in the comment section below.

Happy Tech Day,


  1. So even though this post and the paint swatch were not from the same week, I will use them both as my "weekly" post for this week as they are two suggestions I've begun to use in my instruction. With my unit test on Fossils coming on Wednesday (maybe Thursday?) I keep trying to unlock different study and review skills for my students. I want to make sure that these review activities are not overwhelming while reinforcing the key concepts. Additionally, they must resolve the question of how do I remind students about a test (an important one) without sounding like a broken record. And then, Tagxedo saves the day. Not only did I spread the Tagxedo love, creating a tag-cloud formation using my unit test, but I got to make in the shape of a dinosaur! Win-win-win. Students get to preview the concepts of the test, make sure they are familiar with the "big ticket" items (they're biggest!) and have a cute reminder/picture to hang in their locker (just wishful thinking). I think I plan on using these as anticipation guides, study guides, and maybe, when we get a mobile computer lab, a homework assignment. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Eliza - I am glad you and your students had an opportunity to play with Tagxedo. Now, that they are familiar with it, they could create their own at home, public library, etc.

    I love your idea to use a word cloud as an anticipation guide and study guide. Lots of great vocabulary building there.

    Best, Jen

  3. I really love both the tagxedo and wordle websites. They are great tools, and they are fun, which I think makes them ideal "rewards" for students. I was able to use the Premack Principle with one of the E.D. students, using tagxedo as the positive/reward activity. It was the last period of the day on Friday before Thanksgiving break. The student was tired and did not want to do his math activities. I told him that after he completed his math activity, I would help him type a chart for him to use to record his observations for his science fair project, which he was supposed to do during the break. Then, after those tasks were complete, I promised to show him "something really cool online that makes pictures out of words." He was very intrigued and able to stay focused to complete his work. We created a word cloud at the tagxedo site in the shape of a star, consisting of words that describe him: things that he likes and things that he is good at. He really enjoyed it and I feel like ending the class with, essentially, him brainstorming positive words and phrases that he associates with himself is a really great way for any student to end the day. So, thank you, once again, for giving me such great ideas!

    Kim Edillon

  4. I think that the wordle is not only a fantastic teaching tool for teachers, but a fantastic learning tool for everyone as well. This abstract clumping of words will open the mind to different ways of thinking about various different topics. For instance, we recently got done with learning about creativity. As a student, creating a wordle, picking the shape to give it and the words to place in it, is a creative way to show one's understanding of a topic. As a teacher, giving a wordle as a puzzle may be fun for students to look at the words inside to try and distinguish a topic. I believe the wordle or tagxedo may help students who would like to become more creative.
    Shelby J.

  5. Sara Z.
    Wordle and tagexdo are great tools to used inside and outside of the classroom. Both are free websites that can put a creative spin on projects and opportunities for classroom art. I think it is of the upmost importance to be creative when working with children. It is important to be able to provide a student with the most options as possible. I think this tool would be best utlized with slightly older students however both can be aplied in special education classrooms. Special needs students often learn best through appealing to the senses and both of these tools can be ultized for visual learners. I especially like how high frequency words are enlarged.This helps to show visually the most important words and concepts while appealing to visual learners. Both wordle and tagexdo are great options and should be ultized by both educators and students.

  6. These are two absolutely fantastic and creative teaching tools. After using tagxedo for one of our class assignments i began coming up for ideas of how to use it in the classroom. It is such a great way to expand a students vocabulary while having them brainstorm about whatever topic. It is perfect for our children with intellectual differences because it allows them to be creative and learn so much without having to do things that may be too difficult for them like writing a conventional essay.
    Thank you!!

  7. I love tagxedo, but can't figure something out. The shapes I want to use print out as a landscape image. How can I rotate the shape itself so that it appears right-side-up as a portrait.

  8. My heartiest congrats to the author on composing this.