Many of us use QR codes every day in our teaching – here’s how can we get creative and take it up a notch.
Quick Response, or QR Codes are 2 dimensional barcodes which hold encoded information which can be quickly and reliably read by machines. In the classroom, this of course means we can use digital cameras (whether they be web cams, iPads, iPhone or any other Smart Device) to send information to the student.
I’ve used QR codes a lot since I’ve worked in iPad settings and have really seen the benefits of using them to do so many useful things quickly and easily:
- Visit websites (no more emailing links or typing in long URLs)
- Access specific video content
- Treasure hunts around school
- Encoding answers to questions on task cards.
The app I prefer to use on student iPads is Qrafter. Not only is this app free, but it has several benefits over other QR readers in the app store including: batch scan mode, security check & using Safari as the default browser. I blogged about why it is in My top 10 apps for a primary ipad here.
I was motivated to write this blog post as there are so many other amazing uses for QR codes! We just need to get a little creative!
Use QR Codes to link to the cloud
Don’t just use QR codes simply to direct students to videos, text messages or websites. Get a little more creative and direct your students straight to files in your Office 365 account, PDFs in your dropbox or to a Excel Online Survey.
Add some SWAG to your codes
When creating QR codes, I tend to use a TinyURL extension to shorten my address and then copy it into http://qrdroid.com/generate/. This is a very light QR maker which is quick and reliable. Another alternative is to download thePEGeek Chrome Extension ‘QR Codify’ this means codes can be made for your current site with one click! There are hundreds of different methods to create QR codes, it is purely personal choice. I would definitely recommend shortening your URL first though. It makes the difference between:
To make QR codes a little more interesting, there are some more sophisticated options. Checkout http://www.visualead.com/, create an account and create some visual QR codes. These are visually appealing, scan faster and can even include animations!
Check these out!
Amazing right! These can also be set to ‘Dynamic’ QR codes which means the URL they direct to changes each time it is scanned. Perfect if you have an Excel Online or Google Sheet with activities for further exploration.
Test the percentages
Did you know that QR codes have built in error prevention. Up to 30% of the image can be damaged (excluding the main outer markings) and it can still be read. There are some really incredible things that QR codes can go through and still be scanable. It would definitely be worth including in some kind of investigation. “How far can you damage a QR code until it is unreadable?”
Visit QR Voice.net and add any text you wish to create a QR code that when scanned plays a voice. This could be used to provide verbal instruction to pre-readers or pronunciation help for ESL students
QR Codes as a Voting System
When you create a QR Code you can view the analytics behind the code. This shows how many people have scanned each code, when and from where.
Why not have 3 QR codes on your door representing traffic lights – how did they feel about the lesson?
There are so many uses for QR codes as new useful webtools keep cropping up which, with a little creativity, can have impact in the classroom.
Share any ideas you have in the comments!