I recently had a nasty experience in one of my lessons. The pupils were learning about Word Clouds and I was showing them how Wordle worked. I always use the www.wordle.net/create URL because it takes you directly to the ‘Create’ section of Wordle and steers the students clear of the home page where some of the gallery Wordles are featured – and often they are inappropriate for children to see (your network administrator can also block certain pages). I show the pupils where to type the web address in the browser and then they get going. Unfortunately one little darling inserted an extra letter into the word and was immediately directed to a very inappropriate site. Fortunately I was about a metre away from the child and immediately took action, but we were both shaken by the experience.
Today I came across a very child-friendly Word Cloud creator – http://www.abcya.com/word_clouds.htm . There are other such Word Cloud creators, but this one is especially designed for children from Grade 2 and up. Perfect for our needs and one I will definitely use in the future. In fact, the whole ABCYa! site is filled with interesting educational ICT activities for kids.
I’m still really keen to get into this blogging thing and share it with the children, but I keep getting side-tracked! I will make it my mission for 2011 to introduce the children to blogging and to other fun and exciting Web 2.o tools.
I played with a new word cloud generator the other day – www.tagxedo.com
It is similar to Wordle, but much more fun because you can apply different shapes to your clouds – it lends itself to fun and exciting lessons!