Monday, November 15, 2010

Tagxedo & Social 7

Tagxedo is a word cloud creator that runs on Silverlight.  Silverlight was recently added to PWSD core supported software list, which means it will be installed on all machines.  There are lots of interesting ways to integrate word clouds into the classroom but here is just one.

Working with Ann Nordhagen from Hythe Regional School we developed a lesson using word clouds around the Social Studies 7 curriculum.  Specifically the effects of Imperialism. 

In class students brainstormed all the effects of imperialism.  They came up with 3 pages worth of effects.  When they came to the computer lab we asked them to narrow it down to the top 5-7 effects and start making a word cloud
Once their cloud was created and they played around with the settings we asked them determine what they believed was the number one effect of imperialism.  The size of a word in a cloud is determined by the mode, or frequency, of the words entered, so the effect the student determined to be the greatest would then be typed over and over
to make it the largest word in the cloud.

With a little time left in class we asked the students to make an explorers word cloud.  This time adding the names of famous Canadian explorers and then give the 5 characteristics that made them great, again typing the characteristic that is most significant more often.
Students created a beautiful visual of a difficult critical thinking skill, siginficance of a criteria. 

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