Visual Language Resources & Ideas

Graphic Types -

Wordle 2.0

To read more posts on this site about tag clouds, click here.
Here are some resources on the new generation of wordle-like website. The difference is that many of these allow you to pick the shape (a person’s face, a heart, etc).
external image picture-3.png
This list came from
The following info came from ClassroomNext
Tagxedo allows you to create custom pictures from words. The picture to the left is an image of Che Guevara and was created from the text of the Wikipedia article about him.
Go Check out the Tagxedo Gallery
Wordle is not affiliated with Tagxedo
external image image_thumb11.png
THIS information came from
Tagul is a free word cloud generator that offers one clear difference compared to other word cloud generators like Wordle. The difference between Wordle and Tagul is when you create a word cloud with Tagul, every word in your word cloud is linked to a Google search. Click on any word in your word cloud to be taken directly to a Google search results page for that word. Tagul creates a word cloud from text you copy into your Tagul account. Tagul will also generate a word cloud from any url you specify. Just as you can with other word cloud generators, Tagul allows you to specify words to ignore in creating your word clouds. Once your word cloud is created Tagul provides you with an embed code to put your cloud on your blog or website.

Word It Out

creates word clouds out of any text that you paste into the word cloud generator. Once the word cloud is created you can customize the size and color scheme of the cloud. You can also customize the font used in your word cloud. The feature of Word It Out that I like the best is that you can choose to have Word It Out ignore any word or words you choose. Ignoring words keeps them out of the word cloud.
Word clouds created using Word It Out can be shared publicly by using the embed code provided by Word It Out.
Just as with Wordle, Word It Out can be a good resource for students to use to quickly identify the words used most frequently in a text. Create a word cloud and have students discuss why certain words were used frequently by an author.

Welcome to WordItOut

Simply enter some text and create your word cloud!
  • Customise many settings
  • Share your word cloud (or keep it secret!)
  • Embed it on your own website

What is a word cloud?

This here is a word cloud. >>
It's an attractive arrangement of randomly positioned words, where the most important words are bigger than the others.
  • What are word clouds for?

That's up to you!
  • Some people use them to summarise documents, reports or even answers to questionnaires.
  • Others simply think they look nice as pieces of art.
  • Teachers can make lessons more fun with them too.
  • The possibilities are endless...

Visual Influence

In today's world, influencers are increasingly dependent on visual content to communicate messages. Understanding the elements of influental visual images---photographs, PowerPoint slides, videos---is an essential skill for success. The materials on this page are designed to introduce students to these elements.

Digital Literacy 09: Image Editing

Imaging editing is the final and perhaps most popular topic in our 7th Grade Digital Literacy course; it seems that nearly everyone enjoys taking and manipulating images. Just as “Googling” has become THE verb for searching the web, “Photoshopping” is the de facto standard for image editing. As such, the powerful yet user-friendly **Photoshop Elements** is our tool of choice:
Teaching Photoshop is more than simply helping students master the art of editing; it’s a vehicle for reinforcing **Copyright and Fair Use** and can lay the groundwork for developing **visual/media literacy**. Images (and video) can be incorporated into any subject or grade level, and the **Adobe Digital Schools Collection** is a great resource for teachers seeking ideas. The site includes lesson plans, assessment tips, and a digital portfolio tutorial that even novice users can quickly and easily apply to the classroom.
No Photoshop? No Problem!
It may the standard, but there are numerous free alternatives to Photoshop, many of which have unparalleled features. Here are a few of our favorites:
  • **FotoFlexer** “is the world’s most advanced online digital photo editor. It performs advanced effects previously only available to professionals using expensive software.”
  • **Lunapic** is a straightforward yet versatile online editor that includes numerous adjustments, effects, animations, and an extensive help/tutorials.
  • **PhotoFunia** “is an online photo editing tool that gives you a fun filled experience. You upload any photo and just wait to see the magic. “
  • **Photosynth** “allows you to take a bunch of photos of the same scene or object and automagically stitch them all together into one big interactive 3D viewing experience that you can share with anyone on the web.”
  • **Picnik** “makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools. Tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames.”
Getting Started
No matter your skill level, interests, or needs, the aforementioned resources will help you find an appropriate entry point into the world of digital imaging. Photoshop Elements does not have to be intimidating, and time spent practicing and reviewing tutorials will get you on your way. The addage that a picture is worth a thousand words is true, and with a little editing, it might even be worth a few more.

Picture Book Maker

Word Mosaic

ImageChef’s Word Mosaic Creator is an online tool which lets you make a word mosaic from your own text in different shapes (heart, start, smile, clover etc). Simply enter your text into the text box and click “Preview”. You can modify the text and background colors, font type and the shape of the mosaic symbol.
Once you are done, you can download the image onto your computer or share it online using the provided buttons on the right. If you register on the site, you will be able to send your images as email greetings, save them online in an album and more.
external image Image13.png

Visual Literacy Using Digital Still Images

What is Visual Literacy?

"Visual literacy is defined as the ability to interpret images as well as to generate images for communicating ideas and concepts". (Stokes, 2002)
A visually literate person should be able to
  • Interpret, understand and appreciate the meaning of visual messages;
  • Communicate more effectively by applying the basic principles and concepts of visual design;
  • Produce visual messages using computers and other technologies; and
  • Use visual thinking to conceptualize solutions to problems
(from Jerry Christopherson, 1996 International Visual Literacy Association Conference, referenced from the book, **Visual Literacy: Learn to See, See to Learn By Lynell Burmark, p.3, 2002**)


Visualise text
WordSift is a tool that was created primarily for teachers. Mainly, think of it playfully - as a toy in a linguistic playground that is available to instantly capture and display the vocabulary structure of texts, and to help create an opportunity to talk and play with language.
WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just cut and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. This function is widely available in various Tag Cloud programs on the web, but we integrate it here with a few other functions, such as visualization of word relationships and Google searches of images and videos. With just a click on any word in the Tag Cloud, the program displays instances of sentences in which that word is used in the text.
For teachers, the tool offers a quick way of assessing the text that he or she is using for instruction. Teachers assess students, and the most successful teachers use this information to guide their teaching. So why not assess the text as well? By using WordSift, teachers get a heads up on key vocabulary appearing in the text, and can line instruction up with what might be challenging for students.
Are you going to be giving students some reading about photosynthesis or the Industrial Revolution? Paste the text into WordSift to see the most frequent words your students will encounter in the text. If you have access to an LCD projector in your classroom, you can share WordSift's results directly with your students. Since WordSift integrates search results from Google images and YouTube clips into its display, you can quickly show students what chloroplasts or textiles look like with just one click.
WordSift also allows users to see relationships among words. Want to help students understand difficult-to-define academic words such as analyze? Show students synonyms of this word from within WordSift, using the Visual Thesaurus®. The Visual Thesaurus acts like a thesaurus-cum-dictionary with brilliant graphics. For word geeks and psycholinguists, this is a lot of intrinsic fun. But for teachers, it is a great way of talking about vocabulary -- not as boring lists of definitions to be memorized, but as a web of relationships with other words -- a veritable social network of words. Although we are not affiliated with this product, we really like the capabilities of the Visual Thesaurus and have integrated some of them into WordSift, and certainly hope that we help their good business.

Visual Literacy Using Digital Still Images

If a picture is worth a thousand words then imagine how we can enhance communication using images and words together to create visual content by:
1) learning the basics of how to use a digital still camera;
2) downloading your pictures to a computer; and
3) using ImageBlender software to create more advanced imaging techniques and integrate those images in the curriculum.
As a teacher it doesn't matter if you are a beginner or a novice, your goal is to create of collect images that will optimize visual literacy with a community of learners.


'Activities' - icebreakers, hooks, and lessons using visual literacy
'What is Visual Literacy?' - looks at the various definitions and the components of visual literacy
'Why Visual Literacy?' - information about the importance of including visual literacy in the curriculum
'Whose Is It?' - deals with the issues of copyright and fair use for educators. You will find articles, links, etc.
'Where Is It?' - lists of links to image banks, along with citation requirements
'More Info' - provides links to associations, organizations, articles, and books on visual literacy
'Toolbox' - Web 2.0 applications to use alter, present, and share images

Picturing Words - The Power of Book Illustration

Pictures reach audiences more directly than text alone. They communicate the author’s tone and approach to the subject, and enhance our understanding and enjoyment of the text. Illustrations explain complicated ideas at a glance and even teach those who cannot read.
external image sec_pic_words.jpg

David Wiesner: The Art of Visual Storytelling


Is the Ability to Create Visuals an Important Work Literacy?

Being able to present information and knowledge in a meaningful way seems to me to be a critical work literacy skill. In checking out this graphic on a post about creating and using wheel taxonomies, it occurred to me that for many knowledge workers, developing an ability to present information graphically or visually may be an important, but under-developed and under-utilized skill.

Visual Literacy

David Jakes wiki

Click Photography

click! photography changes everything is a collection of essays and stories by invited contributors and visitors like you discussing how photography shapes our culture and our lives.
Explore how photography changes Who We Are, What We Do, What We See, Where We Go, What We Want and What We Remember.


Activities' - icebreakers, hooks, and lessons using visual literacy
'What is Visual Literacy?' - looks at the various definitions and the components of visual literacy
'Why Visual Literacy?' - information about the importance of including visual literacy in the curriculum
'Whose Is It?' - deals with the issues of copyright and fair use for educators. You will find articles, links, etc.
'Where Is It?' - lists of links to image banks, along with citation requirements
'More Info' - provides links to associations, organizations, articles, and books on visual literacy
'Toolbox' - Web 2.0 applications to use alter, present, and share images

Picture This: Visual Literacy Activities

We live in an increasingly visual culture. We are surrounded by images everywhere in our lives. By looking at and studying photographs with your students, you will help them better understand the complexities of their world.

Many Eyes

Visualisation of data sets. Create your own or upload others. Also useful for statistics

Visual Literacy K-8

What is this site all about? This site is for K–8 classroom teachers who are interested in helping children to read and write information, both print and electronic.
Visual literacy helps children to learn to read — and to enjoy reading. Examples of visual texts include diagrams, maps, tables, time lines and storyboard.

Cymbolism - Words and Colours

Color is the ultimate tool a designer has at his or her disposal to communicate feeling and mood. Cymbolism is a new website that attempts to quantify the association between colors and words, making it simple for designers to choose the best colors for the desired emotional effect.

Image Detective

Use this exercise to build students' skills in analyzing historical documents

A Conversation with Martin Scorsese- The Importance of Visual Literacy

The filmmaker touches on topics ranging from the importance of teaching visual literacy to violence in films to the preservation of classic movies.

21st Century Literacy - Visual Media Literacy

A blog post from Technology in the Middle

Visual Literacy
Welcome to Writing wit h Images, an online learning activity that will engage you in a number of different picture books and, more importantly, the realm of visual literacy. Through looking closely at a number of different picture books, this activity aims to help you to develop your visual literacy skills and understanding of how pictures, written text and the combination of the two convey messages and ideas.

Analysing Movie Posters
Posters occupy a space between art and advertising. They have a clear commercial purpose - to promote an event or product - but they also have artistic value. People buy them and hang them on their walls. Museums have whole galleries devoted to poster art. When analysing a poster it is important that you evaluate both how well it fulfils its purpose (ie promotion) as well as its aesthetic value.

Postcards & Brochures

Design a Travel Brochure
If children and teens have the opportunity to visit someplace new or if they are interested in particular locations, invite them to create a travel brochure to share information about the place with others. They can draw pictures, use photographs, add maps, and write details about what they see or learn. For ages 11 - 14.

Create a Brochure, Flyer ...
Create a brochure, flyer, booklet, newspaper - from ReadWriteThink Printing Press

Postcard Creator

My Brochure Maker Create and print a brochure or flyer in minutes.
Choose a theme and then customize with photos and text. It's a great way to create brochures and flyers that work.

external image home_main_top_mid.gif

An Effective Poster external image protest.gif

An effective poster is a visual communications tool.
An effective poster is not just a standard research paper stuck to a board. A poster uses a different, visual grammar. It shows, not tells

Visualise Text
Make your own tag cloud from any text.
Create your own tag cloud from any text to visualize word frequency.

Visualization Strategies - Texta and Documents

Whether it’s a campaign speech by a presidential contender, or a 300 page bestselling novel, large bodies of text are among the most requested topics for condensing into an infographic.
The purpose can vary from highlighting specific relations to contrasting points or use of language, but all of the following methods focus on distilling a volume of text down to a visualization.


creates word clouds from pieces of text, rss feeds or tag clouds. Higher-frequency words become larger than others, providing a visual demonstration of their probable importance.

An example of The Charge of the Light Brigade

external image charge_of_light_brigade

Wordle - Using Word Clouds in a Lesson

Tips for creating your own Wordle

A Wordle Lesson Plan

Wordle - A Practical Application

Looking at Poetry Through Wordle

Embedding Wordles Into Blog Posts

Top 20 Uses for Wordle

Ideas for Using Wordle - Webslides
external image msword.png Wordle Cheat Sheet.doc
external image pdf.png Wordle+Cheat+Sheet.pdf
A collection of ideas on how to use Wordle in the classroom and in the school library: external image msword.png Wordle activities.doc

Ways to use Wordle


Textorizer is a cool online tool for creating Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) images. If you have no idea what this means don’t bother, all it does is takes some picture and creates a similar one that is made of text and words.
external image textorized.png

Visual Literacy
Information on cartoons, advertising, photography from the Centre of Media Literacy

Imaging Ideas for a Visual World

This project is divided into three web pages. Explore each of the following areas:
Try some hands-on activities:

Visual Literacy and Picture Books

Reading photographs

A picture is worth a thousand words — but which words? Questions can help students decode, interpret, and understand photographs thoughtfully and meaningfully.

Reading Visual Images