When beginning to write this post I asked Tim, one of our Instructional Technology Specialists, what he likes about QR Codes in the classroom. He said, “QR Codes are so easy to use. I can get my students to a specific set of content without them having to type anything. They just start the app with a touch, point the camera at the code and Bam!” I took that “bam” to mean the students can view a website, see a message, see a map, etc. Tim brings up a good point. A student can be directed to exactly what the teacher desires with minimal difficulty on the student’s part. So I asked myself, “How do I take advantage of QR Codes in the classroom?” It seems to boil down to three things:
1. What is the learning goal?
2. Have devices that can read a QR Code.
3. Create the QR Codes.
I’ll break those three things down more fully but first, a little back-story…
I can’t remember when I saw my first QR Code. I am pretty sure it was on the box of a toy we bought for our children. At the time, I remember thinking that it was just some weird bar code. Which it kinda is, but better. QR Codes have been used to track assembly line parts in industry since 1994 because manufacturers needed something that could store more information than a mere bar code could convey. Where did you see a QR Code for the first time?
1. I want my kids to be able to create an informative product about an animal that may not live in the immediate area. I’ve been thinking that QR Codes would be a perfect tool for an upcoming field trip to the zoo. I plan to create a QR code for many sites around the zoo. Some of the QR Codes will be a link to the internet with more info about an animal. Other QR Codes will be a plain text message to get the students thinking about and discussing the animal they are watching. The plan is to place QR Codes at the information displays around the zoo.
2. We need devices that can read a QR Code. There are many apps for smartphones, tablets and even laptops or desktops with a webcam. You can search your device’s app store for free ones. Here are a few that we have found useful:
3. We need to create the codes that the students will be scanning. If we do a search for “qr generator” we will find many sites that create bar codes. Here are a few that we have found useful:
If you use goo.gl or bitly.com you can track the number of times your links have been “clicked” or scanned. Would you find that bit of data helpful?
There are a good deal of ways that educators are using QR Codes in instruction. Check out these ideas:
- Twelve Ideas for Teaching QR Codes – Edutopia
- QR Codes in the Classroom – THE Journal
- Google Doc: 46 Ways to Use QR Codes in The Classroom
- Ways to use QR codes… – Inside the classroom, outside the box!
- QR Quilt
Now, the next question is… How are you going to use QR Codes in your instruction? Please share your thoughts in the comment area.