I recently read an informative and interesting post about using QR codes in the classroom QR Codes: The nuts and bolts, an excellent introduction to QR codes and how they might be used in the classroom.
If you’ve never heard of QR codes before, I’m guessing you’ve probably seen them. QR is the abbreviation for “Quick Response,” and this code does exactly that. By simply scanning the code using your mobile phone’s camera, you are provided with information contained in that code. QR codes can direct you to a web site, enable you to check in to your flight, make purchases, redeem coupons, download and display files, send an email or text message, call a telephone number, add vcard information to your contact list, or display just about anything you can think of.
In fact, just as I’m writing this, a realtor dropped off a postcard with information on a house for sale right next door. On that card was a QR code, which links to a mobile tour of the house! Using QR codes to market real estate is big business.
Finding the Right QR Code Reader for your Mobile Device
To scan the code, you will need a mobile device with a camera and scanning software installed. There are many QR code readers for mobile devices. Just do a search in your mobile apps store for “QR Reader” and install some free ones. My current QR Code Scanner for the iPhone is Qrafter: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/qrafter-the-ultimate-qr-code/id416098700?mt=8
Scanning with Your Mobile Phone and QR Code Reader
Next, try scanning the image below, which should direct you to the English Wikipedia Mobile main page:
Okay, that was fun, but your next question is probably, “How do I create a QR code?”
QR Code Generators
Again, it’s easy. You will need to decide just what you want your QR code to deliver to the person scanning it, but there are many QR code generators freely available to use online. Here is a list of QR code generator websites: http://2d-code.co.uk/qr-code-generators/
My current favorite is Kerem Erkan’s site http://keremerkan.net/qr-code-and-2d-code-generator/ which easily allows you to create all sorts of QR codes. You just need to make sure you test your code once it’s generated, to make sure it provides the content you want. QR readers will know what to do with the data depending upon the format.
For instance, a QR code can display plain text on your mobile device, a phone number which the user can dial, contact details the user can import into her/his address book, create and send a text message, display the URL of a web address, or make and complete a purchase transaction.
10 Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom
There are many, many ways you can creatively use QR codes in your classroom. Once you understand how they work and the types of information they can provide, you will be unstoppable! Also, you should know that mobile phone cameras with QR code readers can scan QR codes projected on a screen as well as printed QR codes. However, many of the applications of QR codes work really well when used with print media.
- Vcard: For starters, you might consider updating your business cards to include a QR code, which would upload your contact information directly into another person’s contact list. Hand your cards out to parents at back to school night and show them how to add you to their address book if they have a mobile device. Here’s an example of the QR code I am putting on my new business card (try it out and see how my contact information will display on your mobile device):
- Interactive Back to School Night: Post QR codes throughout the classroom, with titles about various student work. QR codes could access student videos, projects, blogs, and many other ideas only teachers can envision. Hand out devices (iPod Touches, for instance) to parents who don’t have a mobile device and show them how to read the QR code and access the materials.
- Resource links on class handouts: Include QR codes that link to online resources, your contact information, articles, YouTube channel/playlists, your email, phone, SMS, Facebook link, Twitter, and any other resources students will need to access. Remember to include the URLs and text-based information as well, for those students who might not have a mobile device.
- Mobile Assignment Reminders: As your students leave the classroom, post a QR code on the door, with the title “Assignments for this Week.” Students could quickly scan the QR code and have that information instantly visible on their mobile devices. They won’t lose this as easily as a piece of paper.
- Self-Assessment: Create flashcards with the QR codes on the back, which would provide the answers. You could get very creative with this and incorporate links to websites that would provide additional information about the questions.
- Guided Tours: Students could create a guided tour of their school, a historical site, museum, or public building–researching the site, creating mobile webpages, videos, audio files, or any other type of appropriate media to provide more information–creating and posting the QR codes to the various locations.
- Mobile Class Newsletters: Include a QR code along with the printed URL that would direct parents to a mobile version of your class newsletter. Make sure you include directions on what the QR code is and how it can be read by a mobile phone.
- School News: Have students create weekly videos on school activities, publishing them to their school Intranet or other private location, then post QR codes that link to these updates with the notice “What’s Happening in School This Week!”
- Code Quest: Create a cooperative learning “Code Quest” by posting QR codes at various locations. Each QR code will ask a question that will require the retrieval of an object. Once the object is found, another QR code will send students to another location, to locate yet another object. This Code Quest involves teamwork, cooperation, thinking, and moving around!
- Instant Surveys or Quizzes: Create a survey or quiz using a Google Docs Form and create a QR code link to that form. Students, parents, whoever, can easily access and complete the survey or quiz on the mobile device.
So, this is just a start into thinking of ways teachers can use QR codes in the classroom. What are some of your ideas? Please write your comments below and as always, thanks for reading.