A while ago, I read about the data visualization site run by IBM called ManyEyes. It has many different data visualizations from which to choose, many data sets already uploaded, and the ability to upload one’s own data sets. I meant to come back and play with it long ago, and I finally did just that.
I entered a week’s worth of Technological Ontogeny blog posts into the data field and looked at each of the data visualizations for plain text. Beyond the simple word cloud there was a tag cloud, a phrase net, and a word tree. I started with the word cloud, reminiscent of Wordle, and moved on to the others.
From these quick examples, I was able to identify some common words and phrases that I am using. I think this would be an excellent tool in the language arts classroom.