Link Dropping: FreeRice

Y’know, I get a pretty significant amount of crap for pursuing Professional Writing. Mostly from people who can’t use your/you’re properly, come to think of it, but it still seems like the world at large just doesn’t appreciate word fanatics quite like it used to. The talk now is all about “actually making money” and “having a real career” and “Matt’s probably going to live in a cardboard box under a bridge” — but you know what? I don’t care. I like being able to write very professionally.

Why? Because with FreeRice, probably the coolest word game of all time, I get to save lives.

The premise is simple. FreeRice gives you a word and four possible definitions. You click the definition you think is correct. Get it right? Your bowl fills up with 10 grains of rice. Get it wrong? You won’t get any rice, though you might feel a little heavier under the weight of your crippling shame. All of that rice you earn is donated through the UN World Food Program to various countries around the globe, and though your individual contributions may not seem like much, it’s worth remembering that you are just one of many who log on to the site every day to play.

There are an absolute ton of words to define, too, though cleverly the site is designed to only offer from a selection suited to your vocabulary level. It determines that from a few initial word questions and then adjusts your level dynamically based on your performance, a wise choice considering how completely obscure some of the upper-level words are.

But don’t fret if you’re not much of a dictionary lover! It completely negates the sassy opening to this post, but FreeRice offers a number of tests well beyond simple vocab quizzes: foreign language vocab, chemical symbols, famous paintings, basic math, geography, and so forth, turning the site into a pretty effective study guide that also happens to save lives. One neat feature is how the quizzes handle wrong answers. After showing you the correct response, the site will work the same question into the quiz later on, reinforcing what you’ve learned and giving you an easy way to add more rice to your bowl.

I’ve been really impressed with the Italian language section so far. I’ll be headed to the land of love and pizza in the next few weeks, a realization which has me scrambling around trying to brush up on all of the words and concepts I’ve learned in the last few years of study. FreeRice recognized pretty quickly that I have more than a passing interest in the language and bumped up the level of difficulty considerably, throwing out some words that I’ve never seen before in my life, but after fiddling with it for about twenty minutes now I can genuinely say that I’ve learned way more than I anticipated going in.

So why not give it a shot? FreeRice is one of those few occasions on the ‘net where a fantatsic idea meets fantastic execution, so stop what you’re doing right now and go get your word-game on. You’ll learn something, sure, but you’ll also be helping some of the poorest countries on Earth — a pretty sweet deal indeed.

Think you can do better?

Think you can do better?

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No Comments on "Link Dropping: FreeRice"

  1. Brian Hunt
    06/07/2009 at 5:24 am Permalink

    Another great charity site is It donates money to
    children in need through World Vision.

    Check it out at

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