Join Oliver Schinkten for an in-depth discussion in this video Freerice and Sporcle, part of Teacher Tech Tips.
- Hi, I'm Oliver Schinkten and welcome to Teacher Tech Tips. Using the power of games can be a great way to encourage students to become lifelong learners, by showing them that learning doesn't have to be boring. This week on Teacher Tech Tips I have a website that I want to share which is fun to play, engaging for students, and, best of all, students are learning and developing skills as they use it. The websites called Freerice and you can find it at freerice.com. Now Freerice has always had it's classic vocabulary game in which the player has to determine which word has the same meaning as the given word.
If you'll look here, the word in the center is "cancel" which is the same as "call-off." When I click it you'll notice that they tell me I am correct and then my next question comes up. So "yell" means the same as "scream." And, again, I am correct. Sometimes, if you get a question wrong, for instance, the next word. If I were to get this wrong and click "nose cover-on a helmet," you'll see that they do tell me that I was incorrect and then they'll give me the correct answer.
Now, this was a pretty difficult one. The words typically, they start out fairly easy and as a player gets them correct they progress to higher levels in which they're asked more difficult words. If you answer questions incorrectly you're slowly sent back to easier levels. Challenging students to reach the highest level they can is a great way to engage them in a fun, challenging game that will definitely increase their vocabulary. It's easy and rewarding to see the growth in your student's vocabulary as they begin to find it easier to progress to higher levels.
Now Freerice, which has evolved a lot and is dubbed Freerice 2.0, offers a plethora of other subjects that you can choose from besides just the vocabulary game. On the top navigation bar, if I click on Subjects, we can see the different subjects that I can choose from including Humanities, Math, different Languages. I'm going to click on Chemistry, Chemical Symbols. And this'll bring up a Freerice game that will give me the name of an element and I have to choose what the appropriate symbol is.
In this case, "Sodium," click on "Na," and it tells me I'm correct. "Sulfur," click on "S," and they tell me I'm correct. Now again, if I get one incorrect and I click on the incorrect answer it will tell me I'm incorrect and then give me the correct answer. If I go back to Subjects, I can choose from Math, and do this with multiplication tables. Back on Subjects, I could go to a foreign language, let's say Spanish.
And in these they will give me a Spanish word and I need to choose what the corresponding English word would be. So as you can see this is a great way for students to learn about a wide variety of topics. Now another reason I really like this website is for what it stands for. A cool thing about Freerice.com is that for every question you answer correctly they donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme in order to help end hunger. So not only will you and your students be having fun while learning but you'll also be making a difference in other people's lives and that's a powerful thing.
This has generated a lot of really important discussions in my class and has given students a feeling of empowerment to know that they can help make a difference. It's easy to get caught up in content in our classroom but it's also important to help our students develop compassion, passion, and empathy. Freerice will help you do this. Now, on here, I'll show an example. If I go back to Vocabulary, and "choice" means the same as a "selection," you'll notice on the right hand side they show a bowl with grains of rice in it.
It's telling me that for getting that question right I have now donated 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme. It says down here that I have now donated 50 grains of rice because that is the 5th question that I got correct. Freerice also gives you an option to sign up for an account. So you'll notice on the top left that they have a login and sign up section. If you click on sign up, they'll ask for some information including your email, age, and name. And you'll receive an email which verifies your account.
Once you have an account you can join groups, compete against others, and it'll even track your progress including how many grains of rice you have contributed overall to the World Food Progamme. Now I've had times in which a student finish a project early in the computer lab, or we have five extra minutes at the end of class, and in these situations I try to encourage students to occupy their time with something they can do to improve themselves. Freerice is a great option for this. I've even set aside class periods for students, in order to engage them in gamefied learning websites like Freerice.
There are a lot of fun websites out there for students that engage them in learning. If you have games that have been successful for you share them with your colleagues by word of mouth, on social media, or through blogging. When we share these resources students win.