Friday, 5 June 2009

Hot Potatoes a Hot Literacy Tool

If you haven't heard of Hot Potatoes you are in for a literacy treat. I discovered Hot Potatoes a few months back and have been trialing it in my reading programme this term. It is a suite of programmes which allow you to create interactive educational exercises such as gap-fill exercises, multiple-choice questions, crosswords, and matching /ordering quizzes, that are easily saved as a HTML file (web page) for online or offline use. To answer them all you need is a web browser (Safari, Firefox etc) , a net connection is not even necessary.

The programs included are:
JQuiz: multiple-choice, true-false, text-entry or short-answer
JCloze: gap-fill
JCross: crosswords
JMix: jumbled-sentence
JMatch: matching and ordering

Once you have downloaded Hot Potatoes you will find they are very easy to use. You do not need to know JavaScript or HTML in order to use any of these programmes, you just need to to enter your data into the spaces proved and press a button.

You will need to register Hot Potatoes to use it, as Hot Potatoes is not freeware, but it is free of charge for those working for non-profit-making educational institutions. It is available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.

Uses in the classroom: You can create follow-up activities for your reading programme using any text. You can type in a journal story and quickly create a cloze activity for any reading level targeting the grammar or vocabulary suited to that student with varying degrees of support. You can use it in so many ways, get creative and come back and share your successes.

I highly recommend that you give Hot Potatoes a try, it will add a new ICT component to your classroom (even with just a few computers with no web connection) that will enrich your literacy programme.

Some screenshots of Hot Potatoes in use.