What’s a word cloud? It is a form of information graphic of infographic! It is an application that turns text into a visual representation. The words from the original text are arranged in collage fashion in the graphic. Word clouds visually highlight the most often used words in the passage.
You can use this type of tool to facilitate world language teaching. You can use it for activities such as topic introduction, vocabulary development, word association, practice writing, word matching, pre-reading, brainstorming, defining main ideas, assessment and reflection. For example, in a word-matching activity, you can write a list of words both in your target language and in English, and then using the resulting word cloud as a vocab quiz/worksheet. In a pre-reading activity, you can engage students’ discussion by using key words created in a word cloud and make predictions about the content before reading the actual text. In the defining main idea activity, you can create a word cloud out of an article in the target language and ask students to discover and highlight the main ideas in the article. Take a look at this article written by a Spanish instructor to see how she used the word cloud tool in her classroom.
There are a number of applications available that will allow you to generate word cloud: Wordle, Tagxedo, Wordsift, Worditout, Word Mosaic, Tagcrowd etc. Click on each of the link to find out how you can use it to create a word cloud.