Monday, January 19, 2009

Great Inaugural Speech Site

Thanks to a tweet this morning, I was pointed again to Larry Ferlazzo's website where he points to THIS website: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/01/17/washington/20090117_ADDRESSES.html?hp

Tag/Word Clouds are clusters of words, where some words are larger than others. The more often a word appears in the text upon which this cloud is based, the larger the word appears. You've seen these all over the web, I'm sure, and most notably at the Wordle website.

The New York Times has taken all the Inaugural speeches since George Washington, and made interactive word clouds from them. Hovering over the words tells you how often that word appeared in the speech.

I think this has WONDERFUL potential for classrooms everywhere. Take a speech and see if you can tell anything about the pressing events of the time that would have made the speechwriter choose those words. How did his term in office compare to the tone and message of the speech? Compare the clouds of two Presidents as well as the pressing issues of that time. Are there significant differences in the speeches?

What a neat site! That would have made a great assignment (make tag clouds from speeches) had it not been done by the Times.

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