Using technology to make your life easier!
Where I work we often have to build more interactive learning experiences and we played around a few years ago with a demo version of Hot Potatoes. We really liked it and found it easy to use but very limited in the demo version so we put it on the shelf. Today as I was going through my RSS feeds I found out that Hot Potatoes is now a free application along with a web based maze builder Quandry.
“There are five basic programs in the Hot Potatoes suite:
1. JQuiz creates question-based quizzes. Questions can be of four different types, including multiple-choice and short-answer. Specific feedback can be provided both for right answers and predicted wrong answers or distractors. In short-answer questions, the learner’s guess is intelligently parsed and helpful feedback to show what part of a guess is right and what part is wrong. The learner can ask for a hint in the form of a “free letter” from the answer.
2. JCloze creates gap-fill exercises. Unlimited correct answers can be specified for each gap, and the learner can ask for a hint and see a letter of the correct answer. A specific clue can also be included for each gap. Automatic scoring is also included. The program allows gapping of selected words, or the automatic gapping of every nth word in a text.
3. JCross creates word jumble / crossword puzzles which can be completed online. You can use a grid of virtually any size. As in JQuiz and JCloze, a hint button allows the learner to request a free letter if help is needed.
4. JMix creates jumbled-sentence exercises. You can specify as many different correct answers as you want, based on the words and punctuation in the base sentence, and a hint button prompts the learner with the next correct word or segment of the sentence if needed.
5. JMatch creates matching or ordering exercises. A list of fixed items appears on the left (these can be pictures or text), with jumbled items on the right. This can be used for matching vocabulary to pictures or translations, or for ordering sentences to form a sequence or a conversation.
These tools are complemented by a program called the Masher, which facilitates the creation of complete units of material (such as multiple-question quizzes) in one simple operation. The utility supports a range of question types including:
• Short Answer
• Multiple Choice
• Cloze Test
• Word Jumble / Crossword
• Drag and Drop
• Mix and Match
Hot Potatoes allows you to add:
• Question Timer
• Web plug-in objects like Flash Player
to your web server of LCMS-deployed question tests. The tool also adds interoperability in the shape of SCORM 1.2.”
Hot Potatoes is not the most straight forward application to use but once you know how to build each of the games ( a minute or two of investment) they are easy to to do. When I was trying to figure out how to build a JMix I simply Googled “JMix Hot Potatoes” and the first result was a youtube video that was only 3 minutes long. Within another 2 minutes I had created a great instructional game.
The process is very easy but there is that initial confusion as to how to interact with the program.
Give Hot Potatoes a try and I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how much more dynamic you can make otherwise dry learning opportunities.