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Tag Galaxy: Visual Word Relationships

What it is: Tag Galaxy is a neat little tool that helps students to explore relationships between words and ideas as well as view pictures related to that word.  Type in a word to search and immediately you are transferred to a galaxy with the original word at the center and the associated ideas orbiting around it.  When you click on the word in the center, a globe populates with pictures from Flickr that are tagged with that word. Click on one of the orbiting words and tags related to that word start to orbit.  Tag Galaxy is a very neat way to view information!

How to integrate Tag Galaxy into the classroom: Tag Galaxy is a brilliant way to visually  explore word relationships.  Students can use it to type in spelling or vocabulary words and discuss the relationship the related tags have to the original word.   Students can click on the original idea to get a visual understanding of the word in the form of a picture globe.  The connection with Flickr helps students to visualize words, ideas, and concepts by providing a variety of pictures that match the tag.  Tag Galaxy would make for a fun story starter.  Students can type in a word tag to get them started, view related words, and then click on the globe of pictures to spark creative writing ideas.  Tag Galaxy can be set up on classroom computers as a creative writing centers, or used for  whole class inspiration  with a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.

Check out science, math, art, or geography vocabulary on Tag Galaxy, the resulting collection of images will help your students attach meaning to those tricky science concepts like my photosynthesis example above.

As a side note, Tag Galaxy also offers a pretty good visual aid for learning about orbit ๐Ÿ™‚

Tips: ***Very important***  Whenever you are using tools that pull from other sites to populate, it is important to test out the words prior to using with students.  You never know how people will tag an image and the image might not be appropriate for all age groups.  When using Tag Galaxy with elementary students, have them suggest words that you test before using with the class.  In my classroom, whenever students wanted to do an image search, I had them fill out an “image wish list” first.  On the wish list students write down words they would like to search. I would do a quick test of the words and sign off on them.  This worked well as there were a lot of similar requests (i.e. animals!) ๐Ÿ™‚

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Tag Galaxy in your classroom.

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9 Comments

  1. This tool is incredible! I am a first grade teacher in Las Vegas and I cannot wait to share this with my students. I am also currently a grad student studying technology in the classroom and was just reading an article written by Dr. David Thornburg titled “Technology and education: Expectations, not options.” In it he states that as educators we should be “doing things differently instead of doing different things” when it comes to incorporating technology. We have always taught students about word relationships, but now as new technology comes out we can share an engaging tool such as the tag galaxy to better reinforce the concepts we are teaching.

    I am currently teaching my first graders about arctic animals. With this tool I type in arctic and my students will be able to see all the words related to it. I can narrow my words down to arctic, nature, and animals and click to get images. The way in which these images are presented (in the shape of a planet or star) will be something that my students will not soon forget! Thank you for sharing this!

    Thornburg, D. (2004). Technology and education: Expectations, not options. (Executive Briefing No. 401). Retrieved from http://www.tcpdpodcast.org/briefings/expectations.pdf

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  3. Elizabeth, great article by Dr. Thornburg! I like you r idea of using it with arctic animals! With first graders, make sure to preview the results! 9 times out of 10 they are all okay but every once in a while you get one that isn’t.

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