What is the difference between Tagxedo & Wordle?
Continuation from my post on Wordle…
Tagxedo has taken Wordle a step further by allowing you to create shapes out of your word clouds. This is the main difference, here are the other obvious ones that you can do in Tagxedo that you can’t in Wordle:
- You can upload your own picture or photo to design.
- You can make the shape ‘blank’ & fill the words around the shape (see star below)
- Portraits look great – (how to make one)
- You can customise what words are shown or hidden
- It uses something called ‘Silverlight’ which means as you hover over the words (esp useful with small ones) they become more visible. Not sure how useful this is.
- It accepts accents
If you are getting the students to make their own in the classroom it’s best to choose one of the templates in the menu or have one already prepared, as the time it would take to find a suitable image and tweek it, there would be no time left for anything else.
The main advantage of having their words in an image is that it really gets the students to see the vocabulary in a new way and can provide an additional meaning by ‘visually hanging the words off an image’.
For example if you were studying animals you could do a class survey of what pets their classmates owned, then the most common would be the larger word in the picture. They could then chose an image of the most common animal or their own pet to put the words in and well, it might be more interesting than simply writing a list of words in their exercise book! In reality I attempted this and much to my disappointment it looks like to get any sort of likeness to your image, even the simplest of shapes, it seems you need to have a lot of words entered, I would say around 100 different words. Therefore this in this instance you could add the shadow to show the shape by clicking the word ‘shape’
Time saving Tagxedo tips:
Emphasis = do you want the most common words to be bigger? = 120% or do you want all words equal size? e.g. if you were doing a class poster with the names of the students you would probably want them all the same.
Theme = I personally found this not as straightforward to customize as Wordle unless I’m missing something obvious in which case please let me know! In wordle you can just choose your own colour palette but for example with the background I couldn’t figure out how to customize the colour manually. Here are some tips on more advanced colour customisation. However there are lots of colour combinations to choose from.
Shape = Always use a very simple design e.g. icons or short words as they have used ‘JOY’ and basically the more detailed the image the more words you need otherwise it can be a little frustrating. Fine for articles/speeches etc, for a set of words under say 60 words choose something like a circle, heart or star. Apparently the secret to great profiles images is to get “the blurriest shape while retaining the essence”.
Interior (Shape – Edit Image) = To me this should be called something like ‘inverse text’ as it basically decides if the words go on the outer or on the inner. From what I can see in order to ‘invert’ the text, you can only do this with your own uploaded image, in this one below, I had to upload a star from an image I found on google.
How to use Tagxedo or Wordle in the MFL Classroom? See this thought-provoking list of interesting ways created by Samantha Lunn. These two were my favourites:
- Comparing two texts at different levels (eg. Foundation & Higher)
- To teach pupils how to do a presentation without reading from a sheet and just using prompts
Here’s a few I am practising with: The last one (if you squint) is from an article on Carla Bruni’s new role in ‘Midnight in Paris’