I'm championing them as a learning tool. If a picture is worth one thousand words, than a picture of a word cloud must be exponentially more valuable. And because a word cloud emphasizes the frequency of words, they can be an honest representation of the zeitgeist of an organization.
Consider the word cloud below (all word clouds were created with Wordle, unless otherwise noted). I merely copied and pasted the full text of the Constitution of the United States into the word cloud generator at wordle.net, and look at the results:
|You could look at this for an overview of the values of our constitution,|
or you could read the whole thing. Your call.
History teachers could hang up a poster like this right next to the Constitution. It's a bit easier to digest (and provides an inherent value dipstick).
I also see great value in implementing a word cloud for clubs, departments, and organizations. Again, it is a great way to instantly get a feel of how the organization sees itself (as told by the mission statement). Here is a snapshot of the Monroe Community College mission statement. I work here, and as I really believe that our core ideology is embodied in this graphical representation (note that in addition to copying and pasting the mission statement into the generator, I skewed the frequency of "MCC" by adding it several more times manually - I did this because I wanted it to render larger than any other word).
|Look at those words! Don't they just scream|
"welcoming learning environment"? Our mission
|Someone in LinkedIn likes word clouds...|
|What do you see in this cloud?|