1-2-3 Word Cloud!

Oct 10, 2018 | Instructional content

Word Clouds (‘wordle’ to most) can be a dynamic tool for visualizing text and for presenting a group’s thinking. They are AMAZING!

While planning for the Future of Learning Conference at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, I wanted to capture and share our participants’ views on “What are the key features of 21st Century Learning?” At first, word clouds didn’t cross my mind because in past experiences I had entered a historical speech, lecture notes, or asynchronously generated Google Docs. All of these use cases would be ineffective for our needs.  But then it dawned on me, Socrative could aggregate our real-time responses. Of course!

Here’s the system:

1. Identify a question which will generate responses for your particular needs.*

  • What are the key features of 21st century learning? (reflected in the above word cloud)
  • Which vocabulary words are giving you difficulty?
  • List 5 key words from the chapter you just read.
  • What 3 adjectives best describe this sculpture?
  • What are synonyms and antonyms of _______?* have students answer in all lower case so there is consistency in the word cloud.

2. Initiate a Short Answer or Quiz.

  • A Short Answer questions responses will populate your teacher screen.
  • A Quiz may include many questions and the results will be available to view as a Google Doc or an emailed Excel file.

3. Highlight all the answers and copy them.

  • Short Answer – highlight and copy the responses on the teacher screen.
  • Quiz – highlight and copy the column of the question you want to visualize.

4. Paste into a word cloud maker

  • Wordle The most well-known word cloud tool. It’s easy to use and quickly adaptable to help you find the colors, fonts, sizes and arrangements to suit your taste.
  • Tagxedo Tagxedo allows users to create clouds in various forms, such as Abe Lincoln’s head, triangles or the outlines of countries.
  • WordSift You can further highlight words by subjects such as social studies or science.  Developed as an ELL resource at Stanford.
  • ABCya! Word clouds for kids.

Have fun!

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Ben Berte


Ben Berte is the founder and former CEO of Socrative. He is currently VP of Product at MasteryConnect.