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Learning English with Hot Potatoes

What is Hot Potatoes?

The Hot Potatoes suite is a set of six authoring tools, created by the Research and Development team at the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre. They enable you to create interactive Web-based exercises of several basic types. The exercises are standard Web pages using XHTML 1.1 code for display, and JavaScript (ECMAScript) for interactivity. These core W3C standards are supported by all good modern browsers, including Internet Explorer 6+, Mozilla 1.2+, Phoenix, Safari, and many others. The authoring tools will also handle Unicode, so you can create exercises in virtually any language, or in a mixture of languages.

You don't need to know anything about XHTML or JavaScript to use the programs. All you need to do is to enter your data -- texts, questions, answers etc. -- and the programs will create the Web pages for you. Then you can post them on your Web site. However, the programs are designed so that almost every aspect of the pages can be customized, so if you do know HTML or JavaScript code, you can make almost any change you want to the way the exercises work or to the format of the Web pages.

Hot Potatoes v. 6.3 is freeware. You are welcome to use it for any project you like, for as long as you like. You will be prompted to register when you start the application. This process simply asks for your name, and stores it in the system registry; your name will be inserted into exercises you create with Hot Potatoes, identifying you as the author of the exercises. It will not be sent to us or to anyone else.

You must insert a user name in order to unlock all the features of the programs.

Now go on to look at some examples of the kinds of exercises you can make using Hot Potatoes. (Note that the data files for all of these exercises are available in the tutorial folder if you want to look at them inside the authoring programs later.)

Find out more:

This mind map was created with Inspiration software

For visual mapping, outlining, writing and making presentations, use Inspiration® 9, the ultimate thinking and learning tool. Brainstorm ideas, structure your thoughts and visually communicate concepts to strengthen understanding with the Diagram and Map Views. To take notes, organize information, and structure writing for plans, papers and reports, use the integrated Outline View to focus on main and supporting ideas and to clarify thinking in written form. With Inspiration's Presentation Manager, transform your diagrams, mind maps and outlines into polished presentations that communicate ideas clearly and demonstrate understanding and knowledge.

Skype has connected us to students from Percy Julian Middle School, Oak Park, Illinois, USA, and their Technology teacher, Janet Barnstable.

We talked about many different things: schools, tests, music, sports, fashion, weather… What a great way to use English with purpose, to speak about usual topics of our interest. Here are some photos from the Skype session.

Students from class 7B

Our friends from the USA

Luka, 8A, was delighted and excellent English speaker

The comunication was very interesting

Silba and Andrija, 8B

Let's do it again!


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