Sunday, November 18, 2018
Word clouds and questions: Slido, Tagxedo and Worditout
First of all, apps for creating word clouds using a desktop PC. My favourite for creating word clouds from web pages etc. has been Tagxedo and the illustration to this post is a Tagxedo wordcloud of this blog's home page. I like it because you can easily exclude words, change the colour scheme and fonts, and you can have the word cloud in cute shapes like this cat. However, it requires Silverlight, and even if you install Silverlight, it still won't function with a lot of common browsers: I had to use Internet Explorer to get it to work. Nevertheless, it has that good functionality, and it allows you to save the image in various formats and sizes, without trying to sell you stuff, so I will still use it when I can.
However, I thought I should track down something that worked without having to install anything. As Wordle say on their website "the Wordle web toy no longer works for most people", although you can download a desktop app. Thus I ended up with Worditout which doesn't have as much functionality, you can't download a version without saving it as a webpage, and they are keen to get you to plaster the resulting wordcloud on a tshirt/mug. However, you can change the wordcloud colours, remove words from the cloud, and also correct the words in the cloud (which was actually useful in my case, as I you can't read text from a padlet page, I had to create a pdf and copy/paste from that, and for some reason there were a couple of textual glitches).
For my second task, I remembered having been in meetings where you were asked to submit questions online, and vote for ones you most wanted answered. I think there are numerous apps that do this, but the one I came across first (thanks to this article: 19 must-have apps for better business meetings) was Slido. You can use it for free in a limited form (3 polls and 1 brainstorming session per event, and a number of features not enabled), but that was enough for my purposes. You set up an event, you get an event code, and you can (1) get people to type in free text questions (in my case, research questions or aims!) and then they can click on ones they want to upvote and (2) create polls. All you have to do is give people the Slido web address and the event code and they can go ahead and use the functions.
If you have any favourites in the above categories, do add comments to the post.