I recently attended a conference in Singapore called Learning Roundtable which was essentially how to effectively use iPads in classrooms and schools. One of the most interesting workshops was by John Wolfe and using QR codes as learning tools. I really liked it as I could immediately see the educational value of QR codes as it helps link the real world to the digital world and also takes advantage of mobile devices. I had seen QR codes around but really didn’t understand what they were or how they were being used.
So what are QR codes?
QR codes are a lot like bar codes that on food products. The difference is that they use both horizontal and vertical lines of axis so can hold much more information. By using a QR reader on your phone, you can scan it and it takes you to a digital link.
What possible educational value do they hold?
I think there are so many. Students love codes and there is a certain amount of mystery surrounding codes. Here are some ideas:
Literacy-There are ton of possibilities. John Wolfe mentioned a few ideas on his site but one effective way that he had used them was he had students create 60 second book talks using Photobooth, created a QR code for it and then printed out the code and put it on the inside of the cover of books. What a fantastic way to link print to digital media!
PE-I thought there would be lots of possibilities if you already have iPod touches in your school as you can download a free QR reader and you could use it in PE for orienteering. Have students find the codes around a field which give you clues and directions to the next location.
Social Studies/Humanities- For field trips, students could go to actual locations and using mobile devices, they could record a video or text about what they learned about particular works of art. Then, create QR codes to link this information for other students.
Math- John mentioned that he has seen teachers create QR codes which link to online videos for Math textbooks. What a fantastic way of making textbooks more engaging!
If you would like to start creating your own QR codes, you can set up a free account on Snap Vu which allows you to edit the content but maintain the same code (so you don’t have to keep printing out new codes). It also tracks how many people have actually used your code. The one little glitch is that when you put in your URL sites, make sure they are already shortened by a site like bit.ly as I tried to copy and paste a long URL from my google site (see above) and it didn’t work.
Are you using QR codes? Leave a comment with your idea!