Friday, January 28, 2011

An Introduction to Glogster

Note: This is an accompaniment to my article Word Clouds, Collages, and Glogs - Oh My! published in the January 2011 issue of STAO Crucible.

Glogster EDU is a website that will allow you to create interactive posters. Sign-up is free and as an educator provides you with the ability to create student accounts.

Upon arriving at the Glogster EDU site, choose Register from the top right corner. Fill out the details to create your new Glogster account. You will then be taken to your personal dashboard.

Here you can create a new glog by clicking on the Create New Glog button near your profile description (note that Glogster requires you to have Adobe Flash Player installed). This will present you with a blank 'canvas' upon which to create your new masterpiece


The toolbar on the left has a variety of built in graphics, text layouts, images, and backgrounds to play with. You can also add in video and audio or other files (such as .pdf) on the wall. Finally the Draw option allows you to do whatever you like by painting on the screen. You can give your glog a name at the top of the screen and choose Save Or Publish to either save your work or publish it to the public gallery.

Glogster provides a unique way for students to express themselves graphically. It is fun and easy to use. So what are you waiting for ... get glogging!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Introduction to Wordle

Note: This is an accompaniment to my article Word Clouds, Collages, and Glogs - Oh My! published in the January 2011 issue of STAO Crucible.

Wordle is a website that will allow you to create word clouds. There is no sign-up necessary (or available at all) and the site is completely free.

Upon arriving at the site you will see some of the latest creations made by users of the site. Click on Create your own (marked by red arrow) to begin your masterpiece.

You will then be prompted to paste in a block of text. Wordle will analyze the word frequencies in the text to produce the word cloud. Words that appear more frequently will appear more prominently in the cloud. Press the Go button after you have entered your text to create your Wordle.

Along the top of your Wordle you will find options that allow you to tweak the design a bit (by adjusting font, colour, word layout). However, you will find that the overall design is produced by the site and is mostly random.

When you are happy with the final product you have a couple options to preserve it for posterity. There is a Print button just underneath the Wordle. If you have the ability to print to PDF (CutePDF is free software that will allow you to do that), you could save it that way. The other option is to use the Print Screen button on your keyboard (normally located in the upper right portion of your keyboard; on some computers needs to be coupled with CTRL or FN to work). You will have a copy of your scree placed on your clipboard. You can then paste it into either a picture editor (like Microsoft Paint) or a word processor (like Microsoft Word) to edit it.

That is about it for the site. It is extremely easy to use and can be a great way to review vocabulary for a unit. One last item to mention would be the advanced options (available from the menu bar at the top of the site). Here you can enter words with a numerical weighting. Words with a larger weighting will appear larger in the Wordle.

Finally, a Wordle I created with the text of this article (a meta-Wordle perhaps?).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hello World!

Hello blogging universe!!!