One of the lesser known elements of Google Docs is spreadsheet gadgets. Gadgets are designed to take data from your spreadsheets and use it or display it in non-spreadsheet forms. One example of this is the Word Cloud Gadget.
The Word Cloud Gadget takes the words (and numbers if you choose) in your spreadsheet and generates a word cloud. You can customize the Word Cloud Gadget to use the words from all of your cells or you can specify to draw upon specific cells. You can also customize the Word Cloud Gadget to link words in the cloud to a search engine. To add further utility, you can adjust the Word Cloud Gadget to ignore certain words when generating your word cloud. In the presentation below I’ve outlined the steps you need to take to use the Word Cloud Gadget.
Some of the other gadgets that might interest to you are the flashcard and word search gadgets which you can find in this list.
Applications for Education
The Google Docs Word Cloud Gadget could be a good resource for students to use to quickly identify the words used most frequently in a text or the data most frequently appearing in a spreadsheet. Create a word cloud and have students discuss why certain words were frequently used by an author.
Very interesting… I’ll have to give this a try during a future GDocs training.