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Snoopy
04-09-2010, 10:06 PM
I wasn't sure where to post this... it concerns (to some extent) various learning styles but it wouldn't really fit under "learning differences" so I decided to stick it here...

This blog post (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/04/tagxedo-word-clouds-with-style.html)discusses the use of word clouds in an educational context. Really? Do YOU ever pay attention to a word cloud, I mean really look at it and use it to make any type of decision at all? To me it's just fluff and actually quite irritating. I never EVER pay attention to it. But then again, I'm the person never paying attention to any ads (unless they're religious and somehow that grabs my attention and ticks me off!) or noticing other people that I might know in the middle of a store :)

Regardless, the premise that visual learners (of which I am one) might find those clouds useful learning tool seems a little preposterous to me. I guess you could use it the way he describes, but wouldn't just read your paragraph(s) outloud accomplish the same result? Do you really need a visual representation to realize you've said "like" or "stuff" too many times?

I'm all for technology when it's truly useful but it seems to me that a lot of times, people try to justify needing new gadgets by retrofitting them with educational value when there might not be any or much (see the earlier post about the teachers wanting iPods for kindergardeners!). I think that too much technology is NOT a good thing. Soon our kids will forget to use their brains and trust that machines can do all the thinking for them. How long before teachers start deciding that we don't need to basic arithmetic since calculators are ubiquitous? Or that we don't need to learn to write long hand since we all type much more often than we write?

What do you all think?

Museling
04-09-2010, 10:34 PM
.....to me that seems like a bandaid solution to a much bigger problem -especially one we're going to see when the generation of 'txtrz' (texters) gets out into the world where language arts are lost. Even taking a college composition class, the only thing the teacher could focus on was MLA documenting and not getting further into what makes good writing good. I think programs like these may be helpful in conjunction with teaching someone how to write, but there is no true, quick fix solution to writing better compositions.

camaro
04-09-2010, 10:38 PM
Maybe I'm just a crotchity old man on the internet who just doesn't "get" Web 2.0, but I don't even know what word clouds are for when I see them. So I guess Tagxedo isn't something being aimed at me. I'm with you, Nathalie. Perhaps actually reading the document might accomplish the same thing?

Shoe
04-09-2010, 10:54 PM
I'm with David...I don't even know what word clouds are.

Snoopy
04-09-2010, 11:16 PM
Alright, well, take comfort in knowing that I'm even more crochity than you, David, because what the heck is web 2.0? lol. When did web 1.0 get an upgrade? It all seems like the same web to me and I've been on it for eons now, it seems. Gosh I feel like a dinosaur now.

Riceball_Mommy
04-10-2010, 10:05 AM
My only experience with a word cloud is hearing about it on that Disney podcast my husband listens to. It was from the podcast Christmas parade they did, and the word cloud got loose from the side bar and went on a rampage. I don't understand any other function of it though.

ginnyjf
04-10-2010, 10:42 AM
I'll admit that I love tag clouds, but in the context in which they're supposed to be used - social networking and blogging and site marketing. I don't understand how tag clouds would be useful in an educational setting because either the tag clouds are user generated, which necessitates reading the text and creating the tags manually or allowing a search engine to create the tags, which doesn't guarantee that the important points will be tagged. To me, the entire blog post smells like a blogger who received a freebie and was asked to write about the product and is doing his/her best to make the product seem relevant to the blog topic. That drives me crazy.

Snoopy
04-10-2010, 11:08 AM
My only experience with a word cloud is hearing about it on that Disney podcast my husband listens to. It was from the podcast Christmas parade they did, and the word cloud got loose from the side bar and went on a rampage. I don't understand any other function of it though.

You intrigue me. Do you mean that the actual word cloud from the website somehow floated around the page and disturbed the page itself? That would be very weird indeed...

Riceball_Mommy
04-10-2010, 08:08 PM
You intrigue me. Do you mean that the actual word cloud from the website somehow floated around the page and disturbed the page itself? That would be very weird indeed...

They were doing commentary for a parade, it was all scripted. It was basically talking about a imaginary parade, very weird. One of the floats was the side bar and the tag cloud got loose and wreaked havoc, it destroyed another float. If I find the link I'll post it.

LJean
04-15-2010, 09:35 AM
I had to read the article you posted to even get a general idea of what a word cloud is. So I guess I would have to say, I don't pay them any attention! LOL