image We’ve all used word cloud generators, but what about a collaborative word cloud generator?

A word (or text or tag) cloud generator is a tool (usually online) which generates an image composed of words used in a particular text or subject, in which the size of each word indicates its frequency or importance. There are many free word cloud generators online which enable you to paste text or upload documents and select shape, colours and font to create your own word cloud.

However, a few months ago I came across one which enables users to create a word cloud collaboratively, called Mentimeter. It is free, fully web-based (which means no downloads) and unlimited in terms of the number of people who can respond. So how does it work and how might you use it in education?

Firstly, you need to sign up, which is free and then create a new presentation. There are lots of different choices available, but for the purpose of this blog you would select ‘Word Cloud’. Then you type in your questions, indicate the number of responses you would like per voter (participant) and you also have the option to upload an image or video. Once you are finished, simply select ‘present’. You will then be given a code. Ask your class to go to, enter the code and then answer your question. When they respond, a collaborative word cloud will be generated live.

So how might you use this in education? You may use it as an ice breaker to get an idea of student’s prior knowledge of a topic or issue or get a scope of student’s opinions related to a particular topic or issue. As answers an anonymous, it gives students the power to have their say when then they might not otherwise do so.

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