Tuesday, November 15, 2011


WordSift is a website which allows user to insert text and play with the result. WordSift take the most used 50 words of the text and present them in which the bigger the words, the most common the word appear in the text. Users could also search for Google images which relate to the words. In addition, there is also visual thesaurus where the students can look up for the synonym of the word. Besides that, the example of sentences which relate to the word also available. The example is taken from the text inserted.

# Age of learners - Thirteen and above
# Level of students - All level of students (low, intermediate and advanced)

Firstly, go to the Wordsift Webpage and it will appear like this:

Then you enter your text in the box provided on the WordSift homepage and click the 'Sift' button On the next page, you will get a tag cloud (maximum 50 words) which has important words from the text. You can click on any of the words and it displays related Google image, visual thesaurus and example of sentences taken from the text. For full training on how to use WordSift, you may click this link:
# WordSift Tutorial

This is an example of how the most frequent words looks like when it is put in the WordSift:

From the text, we can guess that the article might be about an old witch woman.

There are a lot of activities which could be done in the classroom using WordSift. Some examples are:

  1. It could be used for pre-reading activities where teacher can use WordSift to preview the text. As all the most used words occur, the teacher can asks the students to guess what the text is about. Besides guessing what the text is about, the teacher can use WordSift and asks the students to identify the key words of the text. Then, the teacher can proceed with while-reading activity. 
  2. Another activity that this tool could be used to discuss different meaning of words using Google images and thesaurus provided in this website. Students can also use this tool to check the synonyms of the most important vocabulary in the text. 
  3. WordSift could also be used to preview the most frequent words using by students in their writing. For example, the teacher asks the students to write an argumentative essay on 'Should English be the official language in Malaysia?' Then, when they finish write the essay, they need to paste their writing on the Worsift to see the frequent words that they have used. After that, in pairs, they would compare their finding and try to share the points that they have made in their essay. 

*This tool could be used to create a collaborative learning among the students (refer to example 3). The students need to engage in communication and try to get information from each other.*
*  This tool is suitable for various ways of learning styles be it linguistics and visual . The students can work with sentences and words and can look at the images.* 

  1. It is free. 
  2. Very easy to use - just need to copy and paste the text in the column provided
  3. The Google image provided could be an attraction for the students. 
  4. Can copy and paste the images, words and sentences identified by WordSift into a separate file (eg: Microsoft word) and then print it out.  
  5. The meaning of the word is also provided (put the mouse on the word in the visual thesaurus and you can see the meaning) 
  6. Could be used in other languages as well, not only in English

  1. The image provided sometimes inappropriate for young learners
  2. Students might not understand the meaning of all the synonyms provided - this would create a problem if they asks they teacher to explains to them. 
  3. Not all the synonym provided is useful for them - students might have difficulties in choosing the right synonym
  4. Some of the images are not related to the words at all.
  5. Too many images provided - time consuming to choose appropriate and suitable image
#Other similar application for visualising text and words are: Lexipedia, Visuwords and Wordle

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