Word Clouds: Everything You Need to Know

These are pictures formed by a tool on the web that bring out the common words in the material being studied. The cluster of words in word clouds are displayed in various sizes. The bolder and bigger a particular word is, the more often it’s used in the text or post. 

Since a classroom has students who learn in different ways, teachers have to adapt their teaching modes to use a blend of teaching strategies, thus ensuring they suit different learning styles. Word clouds are a great way to engage and teach visual learners who often get overwhelmed by large-sized texts.

The benefit of word clouds is that they form a simple visual image. Since they highlight the words that are used often, they help students focus on them and even reflect upon if they would have highlighted the same words. Since word clouds highlight important words from a text, they also help students skim it.

Word clouds can function as a memory jogger about materials the students have read earlier or a summary of a written text. These can be helpful when students are preparing for examinations and need to revise. Additionally, word clouds bring some challenging words to the forefront that could be difficult to understand or tough to spell or pronounce. This can pave the way for useful insights and even trigger discussions, particularly in case the students had difficulty understanding the text or felt that main themes weren’t adequately visualized in the word cloud.

Word clouds can help connect the text matter to what the students plan to do next or what their goal is. They may even help reflect on an experience or encourage collaborative activities. However, word clouds have a few disadvantages too.

Since they consider the frequency of use of words to prioritize them, they may end up excluding key concepts if the words describing them appear in the text infrequently, or include more than one word where each is taken as a separate entity, independent of the other. For example, “word cloud” may be considered as two separate words – “word” and “clouds.”

Despite their disadvantages, word clouds can act as an important tool for understanding and remembering key concepts. Teachers and students can use word clouds to their fullest extent for languages, art and music, maths, science, social studies and more. There are various online word cloud generators that can be used for this purpose.

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