Like me, you may have seen these codes in newspapers and magazines, on promotional material, in the corner of posters and wondered what they were all about. A square that consists of black and white squares that looks like an out of focus pixilated image? What’s all that about? Well, while it may not have been the initial intent of this technology, QR Codes have unlimited potential in the classroom of the 21st century learner.
First, watch this short, fun video from a primary class in Queensland to get an idea of how QR Codes are being used in the classroom, and then keep reading.
QR Codes can provide an alternative access format for students who need additional support in reading and writing. Using handheld devices e.g. iPad, Smartphone, or a computer students are able to quickly gain access to information while also incorporating the use of their own literacy support apps or software. For example, having trouble typing in a long, complicated URL – use a QR Code to navigate to the website instantly without typing. Or, need a read the instructions for a task set by the teacher – scan the QR Code created for these instructions using your iPad and use your text-to-speech app.
The way QR Codes can be used in the classroom is only limited by our own and our students’ imagination. A couple of ways to use QR Codes include:
- Take students to websites without the need to type in an URL.
- Provide information ‘hot spots’ throughout the classroom to access online videos, websites, text that is related to curriculum and instructional material.
- Adapt text/books by including QR Codes – providing additional information via text, video and audio
- Adapt text/books by including QR Codes – providing text or audio in an alternative language
- Attach QR Codes to the classroom calendar / timetable to point to information about upcoming class events, assessment reminders, etc.
- Take students to a website you are browsing on an interactive whiteboard. Using the Mobile Barcoder add-on for the Firefox web browser, quickly generate a QR Code and have students scan with their own hand held device.
- QR Code scavenger hunt eg http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=4211
More ideas? Here are a few links that explore the use of QR Codes in the classroom:
QR Codes in the Classroom
QR Codes Improve Web Access
QR Codes in the Classroom from Kathy Schrock
QR Codes as Assistive Technology
Teaching with QR Codes
QR Codes: Learning technology
What do you need to get up and going with QR Codes?
First, a QR Code Generator.
A number of free and relatively inexpensive QR generators are available. Codes can be created to be either printed out or displayed on screen.
Generating a QR Code in a browser
QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project
OK, so you have created QR Codes and now your students need access to them. A QR Code Reader is required if not already included with your QR Code generator. Students can access QR codes using a computer or a mobile device, as long as either has a camera available to scan the code.
QR Reader for iPhone
Start using QR Codes in your classroom and explore the possibilities. If you are already using this technology to support the diverse learners in your classroom, I would love to hear your success stories.