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Anyone for a Hot Potato?

In a recent blog post, “Wow, Hot Potatoes had a Facelift”, I provided a few reasons why language educators should consider using Hot Potatoes to create learning opportunities for their classes.  After becoming familiar with more contemporary authoring tools such as H5P, I have been wondering how many teacher-developers are considering retiring or have retired their Hot Potatoes software.  After all, Hot Potatoes has not been supported or updated by Half Baked Software since 2009.

I had been continuously developing Hot Potatoes learning objects, LOs, until 2014 and turned to alternate solutions. After Stan Bogdanov’s Hot Potatoes Facelift in 2016, I started generating Hot Potatoes learning objects for an English for Specific Purposes project.  The client was satisfied with the learning objects. They were adopted into a series of courses as assessments and formative activities.

I still use Hot Potatoes at times because:

  • of the responsive display
  • it publishes to SCORM format
  • of the ability manipulate LOs with HTML code
  • I have access to an archive of Hot Pot LOs that can be quickly updated
  • Hot Pot LOs are easy for learners to use
  • the Masher feature allows for unlimited combinations of learning events within an LO
  • they can be published directly into Moodle with the HotPot plug in

Final Thoughts

Over the past two years, H5P has become my tool of choice for LO development. Sooner or later I will stop making Hot Potatoes LOs, but for now I am still going to use them when they provide a suitable purpose.  In the resource links below, there are several useful links for those curious about Hot Potatoes.  Is there anyone else who still uses Hot Potatoes out there?  I’d like to hear your comments.  Don’t be shy, I have been called a dinosaur on more than one occasion.  🙂


Resource links

Hacking Hot Potatoes: The Cookbook, Stan Bogdanov. (2013). http://hotpot.ewbooks.info

Hot Potatoes, University of Victoria/ Half Baked Software – http://hotpot.uvic.ca

Hot Potatoes: Download – Hot Potatoes 6.3 installer (Hot Potatoes for Windows version 6.3).

Hot Potatoes Add-ons – http://ewbooks.info/hotpot/add-ons

Facelift Responsive v1.3 http://ewbooks.info/hotpot/assets/files/Facelift_Responsive.zip

Hot Potatoes Tutorials, Stan Bogdanov – http://ewbooks.info/hotpot/tutorials

Hot Potatoes Tutorials, University of Victoria – http://hotpot.uvic.ca/tutorials6.php

Hot Potatoes Manual, University of Victoria – https://hotpot.uvic.ca/hotpot6_help.pdf

Hot Potatoes How To for Teachers, John Allan – http://bit.ly/2lgAwQN

John Allan

John Allan

John is a Canadian who writes about learning object development and online facilitation from a teacher's perspective.

9 thoughts on “Anyone for a Hot Potato?

  • Hot Potatoes questions can be imported into a Moodle Quiz activity, Lesson activity, or using the Hotpot plugin https://docs.moodle.org/36/en/Hotpot_module (which I think provides more control).
    I haven’t used Hot Potatoes as a SCORM object personally.
    Perhaps the best thing about Hot Potatoes is that it is now multi-platform and can be used on Windows, macOS, and Linux – although it requires Java Virtual Machine in all cases, and that might not be available for security reasons (e.g. on a school laptop) and might run quite slow on older machines.

    • John Allan

      Stuart, I was lucky enough to have been involved with a extensive project with Hot Pots published as SCORM learning objects. These are still going strong but we are now looking more seriously at other options moving forward. Hot Potatoes has been a reliable feature for the past two decades Where has the time gone? 🙂

  • I’m a bit upset due to that I’d really like to use Hotpotatoes but wordpress does not allow plugin unless I self-host. I’ve tried to create a demo account, not working. I’ve tried to create other blogs that, according to info on the net, would allow to post hotpotato activities and there’s been quite a few other attempts to post activities, but with no result. All I want to do is post interactive stuff on my blog and can’t find a suitable solution, so I feel quite frustrated 🙁

    • With few improvements since 2009, Hot Potatoes is not going to be a solution that works with all contemporary tools. Have you tried uploading the Hot Pot activities on a remote server (possibly on a server at your work) and simply linking to the activities from your blog? It is frustrating using older technologies, I agree.

    • Thank you! After days of trying one thing or another, I’ve almost given up the possibility of using hotpotatoes. Yesterdays I actually found some other tools which look quite interesting.

  • I quite like Hot Potatoes, but it’s had a bit of a chequered past with Moodle, being in core, out of core, maintained plugin, non maintained plugin…. I never felt it was quite solid enough to use, not for my own courses anyway.
    However it’s got such a long history, and so popular with school teaches in particular, I can see the attraction.
    Although I wonder if H5P and other systems on the horizon will eventually overtake it?

    • Stuart, I was just advising an instructor today on learning object development tools. I was tipping the scale towards H5P. So may educators have not yet heard of H5P.

    • Niall

      Surely the best thing about Hot Potatoes is that it doesn’t need plugin support? Just build to a SCORM package and import that way….

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