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Hotpotatoes in L2 Teaching tnetsang

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15 Apr

Hotpotatoes in L2 Teaching
Posted April 15, 2011 by Tsam in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment What is Hot Potato (HP)? If you encounter this term for the first time, it might sound like a restaurant menu. In English slang, it also refers to an awkward or delicate matter. For example, You might say, He dropped the topic like a hot potato (http://hotpot.uvic.ca/). HP is also a party game that involves players gathering in a circle and tossing a small object such as a beanbag or tennis ball to each other while music plays. The player who is holding the hot potato when the music stops is out. However, the HP we are dealing with here (as far as I found out) has remotely anything to do with a delicate situation or an object passing game. It is rather a set of Computer Assisted Language Learning tools that lets teachers easily create interactive web-based exercises. (But of course, I wouldn t necessarily call it easy if you are a beginner). The Hot Potatoes suite was created by the Research and Development team at the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre, (http://web.uvic.ca/humanities/student/liddell_award.php) and is marketed by Half-Baked Software (http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/). Types of Applications: The HP suite includes six applications, enabling you to create interactive multiple-choice, shortanswer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the World Wide Web. Hot Potatoes is freeware, and you may use it for any purpose or project you like. It is not opensource. JQuiz: to create multiple-choice, true-false, text-entry or short-answer quizzes JCloze: to create gapfill exercises JCross: to create crosswords JMix: to create jumbled-sentence exercises JMatch: to create matching and ordering exercises. The Masher: This is a tool for automatically compiling batches of Hot Potatoes exercises into units.
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All of the exercises use JavaScript (http://www.w3schools.com/js/default.asp) and HTML for their functionality, are fully XHTML 1.1-compliant., and can be automatically uploaded to the http://www.hotpotatoes.net (http://www.hotpotatoes.net) hosting service.

Pedagogical Benefits
1. Learner Independence The interactivity of the exercises motivates leaners to act independently and provides them a feeling of control. This means that the teacher is not forced to analyze each word to see whether each learner is familiar with the use of this word in this context. The ability to use a slightly more advanced vocabulary without risk reinforces this vocabulary for those who have seen it and allows others to rapidly acquire the vocabulary, giving them the confidence to take on more challenging texts. The value of this risk-free uncertainty certainly depends on the cultural and personal importance of embarrassment for the learner. 2. Change of attitude towards learning: Both children and adults view computers as fun. The context in which they use computers is generally to play simulation games, access pleasurable sites on the internet, or to explore the capabilities of any given machine (e.g. their possible range of clip-art images) in a non-directed context where adult guidance is minimal or covert. They feel empowered and at play. Langer (1989) talks about the mindfulness of play, in other words a heightened awareness of the task we are undertaking, and compares it to work Ironically, although work may often be accomplished mindlessly, with a sense of certainty, play is almost always mindful. People take risks and involve themselves in their playIn play, there is no reason not to take some risks.

1/12/13

Hotpotatoes in L2 Teaching tnetsang

Hence, the change of context to a play environment should help to break down some of the attitudinal barriers and are more ready to take risks. 3. Induces reflective teaching (http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/reflective-teachingexploring-our-own-classroom-practice) Teachers mostly find ready-made exercises from the internet. However, by creating exercises on HP, teachers are more inclined to reflect on the needs, demands and interests of the students. For example, if you have a class who has problems with the use of past continuous (mostly A2-to B1 level) and you have dealt with it in the class, they would definitely appreciate it if you provide some tailor-made exercises concerning this grammar to work deeper on it. In the following mind map, I have summarised several learning advantages of HP.

(http://englishcorner10.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/hotpotato-mindmap.png) (http://englishcorner10.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/hotpotato.png) Are there any limitations? An experienced user may say none, but I think as a beginner, you as a teacher will definitely have the challenge of starting your first few ones. Besides, if you have a hundred other things on your plate, learning to create HP exercises from the beginning might not sound very realistic. But if you think about the benefits that your students can draw out of it, you wont really hesitate to take the first step forward. Download Hot Potatoes for Windows from here: Hot Potatoes 6.3 installer (http://hotpot.uvic.ca/setup_hotpot_6304.exe) (Hot Potatoes for Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Vista, version 6.3). Hot Potatoes for Linux users running Wine (http://hotpot.uvic.ca/wine_hotpot63.zip) (version 6.3). This is a zip file containing the folder structure of the Windows version of Hot Potatoes. You can extract this to create the Hot Potato program folder without running the setup program if
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1/12/13

Hotpotatoes in L2 Teaching tnetsang

you prefer. Download Java Hot Potatoes: Download Java Hot Potatoes (http://hotpot.uvic.ca/javahotpot61.zip)which will run on Mac OS X, Windows, Linux or any computer running a Java Virtual Machine. To install and run Java Hot Potatoes on Mac OS X: 1. Download the file javahotpot61.zip from the link above. 2. Unzip that file on your computer, you will have a folder called JavaHotPot6. 3. Drag the JavaHotPot6 folder to the Applications directory on your computer. 4. Open the folder and double-click the JavaHotPotatoes6 application icon. 5. Trash the javahotpot61.zip file. When you first start up Hot Potatoes, it will ask you for your user name. This name is stored on your computer, and not sent to anyone; it will be inserted into your exercises to identify you as the author. You must provide a user name before you can use all the features of Hot Potatoes. So, all the best in creating your own HP exercises for your students! References: http://hotpot.uvic.ca/ (http://hotpot.uvic.ca/) http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/hot_pot.php (http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/hot_pot.php) http://lookwayup.com/free/hotpotatoes.html (http://lookwayup.com/free/hotpotatoes.html) Machu, Pierre (2001) The Internet and Foreign Language Teaching. French as an Example. Unpublished M.Sc. dissertation, Dublin City University Somekh, B and Davis, N. (eds) (1997) Using IT effectively in teaching and learning:studies in pre-service and in-serviceteacher education. Routledge, London About these ads (http://en.wordpress.com/about-these-ads/)

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Hotpotatoes in L2 Teaching tnetsang

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