Currently viewing the category: "QR Codes"

My curiosity about how to use QR codes in the classroom is well documented. I’ve blogged about it several times, and I love reading about how other educators are using them with students. Two articles that have inspired me lately are QR Code Quest: A Library Scavenger Hunt (and its sequel) by teacher librarian Gwyneth Jones, and Transliteracy: QR Codes and Art by Silvia Tolisano.

Gwyneth’s posts are epic and amazing. Inspirational and awe-inspiring. I aspire to her level of brilliance. But as a huge fan of art and cross-curricular projects (and a relative QR newbie), it was the latter post by Silvia that really got me thinking about a specific project.

I shared Silvia’s post with our art teacher and we decided we wanted to collaborate on an art/research/writing/technology project that would be shared during the annual school art show. Here’s what we did…

In art class, students explored the work of several different artists and analyzed their work. Then, they chose an artist and created a painting inspired by their work. After that, they did a little bit of research on their artist’s life and wrote a script for a video. Their script had to include both biographical information and their opinion and analysis of the artist’s work. Students chose whether to create a narrated slideshow or a green screen video.

For last night’s art show, the students’ paintings were hanging on the wall and below them were QR Codes. Scanning each code with a handheld device would take you to that student’s slideshow or video. (We had instructions posted for parents who weren’t familiar with scanning codes, too.) It all worked out splendidly. An interactive art show!

Running at the same time as the art show was our annual Poetry Cafe, featuring an “open mic” for students to read their favorite poems, or poems they had written themselves. In addition to mood lighting and soft jazz, I had my students locate poems that they love on the website of the American Academy of Poets. They used Google’s URL shortener to create QR Codes that linked to these poems. (See either of the aforementioned posts by Gwyneth and Silvia for help creating QR codes.) We then made little slips with the codes on them for people to scan while visiting the Poetry Cafe.

And just to show you how adorable the young poets were…

An impressive and interactive night to be sure. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration here, and in the posts that inspired me.

Student work and images appear with parent permission.

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If you’re a regular reader, you know all about my interest in figuring out ways to use QR Codes to enhance learning and engage students. In this last post of From the Classroom Week, I wanted to share a recent project from my reading workshop.

It started with my objective…I wanted students to “get inside the head” of the characters in the book we were reading, Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. In this dystopian novel, the government limits the number of children per family to 2. 3rd children, called Shadow Children, live illegally and secretly in some places. I wanted students to think about what life is like for these Shadow Children.

So, I asked them to make “video diaries,” pretending they were speaking as Shadow Children. Then they created propaganda posters, the kind that the government in the novel might have produced. THEN, they created a QR code that, when scanned, links to their video. They glued these QR codes onto their posters. Take a look…



Here’s one of the video diaries that I really liked:

Were the QR codes integral to this project? Not necessarily. But I think they provide a fresh and unique twist to a project the kids enjoyed a lot and learned a lot from.

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The site Tales of Things is new to us and it looks pretty intriguing. Tales of Things allows you to connect objects (or, more accurately, pictures of objects) to a “tale” of their origin, history, or anything else that tells the object’s “story.” Tales of Things then generates a QR Code that, when scanned, opens the object’s story.

I could see this as a great way for students to practice writing and digital story telling. The QR codes would add some excitement, too. I could also see it as an option for classes looking to connect across state and national borders, as well. You could swap Tales with a partner class.

I think Tales of Things definitely has potential. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

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I read a lot. Not “normal” a lot, more like “insane” a lot. One of the things I’ve been reading about lately have been QR Codes. As I’ve documented before, I’m constantly searching for ways to use them in my classroom. I’m also still trying to figure out if they are valuable learning tools, or something more from the “gimmick” category. There are so many blog posts and articles out there about teachers doing awesome things with these little squares that I’m leaning toward “valuable.”

If QR Codes are something you’d like to learn more about, check out some of the things I’ve been reading lately…

Transliteracy: QR Codes and Art from Langwitches

Tales of Things: Using QR Codes in Education by Mark Brumley

QR Codes, Prezi, and Angry Birds (Oh My!)  from the Library Girl Blog

Using QR Codes in the Classroom from Edutopia

Lee Colbert on QR Codes in Education from The Huffington Post

No Projector? Use QR Codes to Share Your Presentation from Social Times

QR Code Implementation Guide by The Cool Cat Teacher

Another Good Reason for Cell Phones in the Classroom: QR Codes from Hack Education

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to QR Code-related information that’s out there. Want more? Check out our Diigo bookmarks tagged “QR Codes.” And if you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to our blog.

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My curiosity (some call it an obsession) about QR Codes, those square-shaped bar codes that are popping up all over the place, continues to grow. I’ve blogged about it a few times (read those posts here) and will continue to do so in the future as I report on my quest to figure out how to best use them in the classroom.

Today I want to share with you two resources that could very well be the tipping point for a lot of you. These resources allow you to scan QR Codes using a webcam on a Mac or PC. That’s right, you don’t need a handheld device or smart phone to scan QR Codes! For someone like me that doesn’t have access to these things for my students, this is HUGE!

Here are some notes on the 3 tools I’ve found for making this happen…

QReader–QReader is a download for your computer that runs on Adobe AIR (which means you’ll have to download AIR, too). Grant it access to your webcam and start scanning! You can read a great post on how to use and install QReader here, and you can download it here.

QuickMark QR Code Reader–QuickMark is an app that you download. It is available in Mac and PC versions. One thing I like about QuickMark is that you can install it as an extension for your Google Chrome browser. When you find a QR Code on the web, the extension allows you to simply right click (or CTRL-click) and provides the option to “decode.” The extension also allows you to create QR Codes directly from Chrome. Check out the QuickMark downloads page here.

We’ve had great success incorporating QR Codes into our teaching. They are highly engaging for kids. And with these two tools, they’re easier than ever for you to incorporate, too.

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On my list of things to figure out how to incorporate into my classroom are QR Codes. Those tiny square bar codes are popping up everywhere, it seems. There are codes on the ketchup bottle in my fridge as well as on the pizza box that was delivered last week. As QR Codes become more ubiquitous, I become more and more convinced that I want to use them with students.

They are educators out there doing awesome things with them. The Daring Librarian, Gwynyth Jones, has them on her business card (one of which I scored at ISTE11…yay! You’re awesome, Gwynyth) and she also has been using them in her library to great success. (See her at-a-glance tutorial for QR Codes here and her amazing QR Code Scavenger hunt here.) I aspire to her level of greatness, so I asked her a couple of questions:

Why did you start using them in your library?

Cause they’re cool, easy to modify, instantly engaging, visually stimulating, utilizes mobile media,  and did I mention they were cool?

How have students responded?

THEY love them! In my latest QR blog post one of my kids sent me an email with an attached QR code message about our school tech team! I think that proves they are into them! 

New codes may come along like NFC tags (Google ditched QR codes in favour of NCF) which are more expensive to create than QR codes which are free – Google usually wins…..but I like my QR codes! They make great MOO cards!

Did I mention Gwynyth is awesome? If I wasn’t sold on them before, I’m sold now. I have dabbled a bit in the QR Code business in the past. My students made signs featuring QR Codes  for the tables at our Poetry Cafe last year. I even have this sign outside my door:

I also have a code in my letterhead that I use for notes home to parents. I’m looking forward to finding new ways to engage students through the use of these codes. I’ll be chewing on it in the coming weeks, with some ideas hopefully ready to share with students (and blog readers) soon.

If you’re using QR Codes in an exciting way and you want to share with the masses, please leave a comment!

Surging Forward is our series dedicated to our educational goals. Surge forward with us by activating a free subscription to our blog today!

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My obsession with QR codes is well documented. My brain churns continuously as it attempts to figure out how to best integrate them into the workings of my classroom. And not just as fluff. I want to try to figure out how to use them in meaningful ways.

I heard about JumpScan (not sure from where, but if you’ve blogged about it before, thank you!) a few weeks ago. JumpScan allows you to create a custom QR code. Embedded into this code is all the pertinent info about yourself that you want to provide: name, phone number, social media feeds, websites, biography, and more. When you scan a JumpScan code, you “jump” to a page that provides this info. JumpScan essentially allows you to create a digital business card that eliminates the need for typing in numbers or email addresses in order to save them. As they say themselves, “Point. Click. Connect.”

A few educational uses come to mind, but I’m sure there are others. How about  a 21st century icebreaker during the first week of school during which kids scan each other’s Jumpscan codes to learn more about their new classmates? Older students might need their own business cards during college interviews, projects or internships and this would be an impressive option. Or you could even pack a Jumpscan code with links to students’ projects, providing easy access to their electronic portfolios.

And remember, as we discovered in our own classrooms, if you don’t have handhelds, you can still scan codes with any computer that has a webcam using QReader, a very nifty app. So whether it’s with Jumpscan or other web apps, how are you planning on using the ever-more ubiquitous QR Code in your classroom?

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Our second monthly newsletter is hot off the presses. This month is even better than last month’s…it features 100 percent new content, including an overview of our Amazing Race project using QR Codes and the launch of our Summer Film Series in cooperation with Snag Learning.

Enjoy and let us know what you think…

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I’ve kind of been on the fence about QR codes. They seem cool and there’s a lot of educational potential there. But, in a school without handheld devices like ours, are they worth the time and energy it would take to integrate them into a lesson? Or is it possible that these little black and white squares could be something that would really engage students and lead to meaningful learning experiences? Yesterday I decided to try and find out.

Last night was Young Authors’ Night at our school and one of the featured activities was a “Poetry Cafe.” We had tea and coffee and little desserts. We had jazz music and an open mic for students and parents to read poetry. Oh, and we had QR codes.

On each table was a different flyer created by one of my fourth grade students:

The code, when scanned, links to a poem they chose from the vast collection of The Poetry Foundation. Since I wasn’t sure how familiar with QR codes the audience would be, I made a little “guide:”

A couple of people knew what to do. A couple more were able to download the correct app. Everyone, though, seemed to think it was pretty cool.

But if something is “cool” does that make it a valuable learning tool? Absolutely not. However, I will say this–as I taught my students what QR codes are and as I walked them through the process of making them (I’ll share the steps I used below), they were riveted. We weren’t doing anything you’d call higher-order, just finding poems we like, but their level of engagement led me to believe that, yes, QR codes might be worth integrating into other projects.

On top of the engagement benefit, there’s also the fact that sometimes it’s nice to have something extra in your ed tech toolkit, something stashed away that you bring out to add some “wow factor.” This sort of thing comes in especially handy at the end of the school year, when everyone’s attention (teacher’s included) begins to wander.

It was also pretty easy. Once the kids found their poems, they copied and pasted the URL into Google’s URL Shortener. Once you shorten a URL with this site, clicking on “Details” gives you a QR Code. The kids just copied and pasted the code into a Google Doc. Pretty simple.

So now I’ll be looking for more ways to incorporate QR Codes. There seem to be a growing number of educators out there that are giving them a try. And I will be, too. Stay tuned because we’ll be sharing QR Code resources, ideas, and results along the way.

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