This Wednesday, February 1, is the first ever National Digital Learning Day. It’s a chance to showcase the innovation taking place in classrooms through internet technology and digital media.
One online tool helps students learn and also feeds the hungry worldwide. It is called FreeRice and it’s an online trivia game in which you answer questions on vocabulary, math, chemistry, foreign languages, and even art.
While a student is playing and learning about these subjects, something else magical is happening. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice, paid for by advertisers, are donated to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the largest agency fighting hunger. The donations are used in WFP operations fighting hunger and malnutrition.
Last year, for instance, students who played this game helped support school feeding programs in Haiti and Cambodia. The more students play the game, the more support for hunger relief.
Innovative online learning can play a role in tackling the most massive crisis facing man. There are nearly one billion people worldwide who suffer from hunger. A severe drought struck East Africa last year causing food shortages and wide-scale displacement as people desperately searched for help. This crisis is far from over.
Another one is fast emerging in West Africa, in the Sahel region, where the countries of Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Mali are being devastated by drought which has ruined food supplies. Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, and so many other countries are suffering deeply from hunger and malnutrition.
The World Food Programme relies on voluntary donations to help these countries fight hunger. This agency is so low on funding that many of their relief operations face suspensions or reduced rations. Right now, children in Mauritania are about to lose their school meal of rice at a time when they need it more than ever. The same holds true in the Ivory Coast, where rice and other supplies are running out for children in a country recovering from an internal conflict last year.
FreeRice is a digital tool that can help these hungry children while helping other children learn. The game’s mission statement is to “Provide education to everyone for free” and “Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.” The game is even great for adults who want to test their knowledge on these subjects.
So on this Digital Learning Day I hope many students and teachers will join the already one million players of FreeRice. You can form teams on FreeRice too, so perhaps schools can develop tournaments between classes and even other schools just as they do with football, basketball, debating, and other activities. The sky is the limit for this online learning tool and what it can accomplish.
You can start playing at Freerice.com.
Article first published as On Digital Learning Day, Think FreeRice on Blogcritics.