On browsing the NLab conference mentioned below, I came across Jess Laccetti’s blog (one of many), which (sorry Jess) I haven’t kept up with in ages – more shame on me really, because it’s a great blog focused on a lot of stuff we’re interested in here.
Anyway, in her post on the subject of tagging, Jess discusses some ways that tag clouds can be used to attract readers to your blog, - but also something of particular interest to me, which has surfaced on a pretty regular basis, both in the day-to-day and more generally on this pathfinder: How can we use Web 2.0 for innovative activities and possibly assessment with students? And this is often for courses that aren’t focused on new media issues or learning how the technology works. What Jess suggests is using tag clouds for two-way interaction between teachers and students and also for enabling students to analyse and compare the use of specific topics within texts…
We could generate tag clouds (of work that is handed in electronically) of the student's most-used words. Wouldn't that be a good way of showing students why it's necessary to avoid repetition if they can actually *see* the repetition? We could also use tag clouds for our lecture notes or powerpoint presentations etc...to help students get an overview of the key points we're trying to share with them. What about generating tag clouds of 18th C. lit. and current lit. to see how vocabulary changes?
This would definitely be worth investigating…and could easily create a basis for discussion in seminars. It could potentially be used in any subject area.. in Humanities for instance the idea could be adapted for almost any subject we teach. Interestingly, Jess also predicts that we’ll start seeing visual tags and maybe sonic tags. I can only imagine!