QR Codes in the Classroom
You may have seen the square, unusual looking bar codes lately on packaging, in advertisements, and probably in a few of your favorite magazines. These newest technological marvels are known as QR codes. A QR code is a newer form of barcode that can only be read by something called a QR code reader, as well as many newer camera cell phones. Usually, the QR code is a small square, with black smaller squares inside on a white background. Just like regular barcodes, no two QR codes are alike.
While these unique codes seem to be a wonderful way for companies to market their products, movies to announce their newest release date, and television programs to entice the viewer to learn more, they can also be an integral part of the modern day classroom. How you might ask, is this little pixelated code ever to be used as a teaching tool? The answer is simple: a LOT of information can be stored within a QR code. With so many new products like smartphones, iPads, and laptops now being used by students, these codes can be a great way to keep them interested in any number of fascinating activities and learning curriculum.
Perhaps the best thing about QR codes is the fact that getting to the destination via the QR code is fast and easy. Instead of manually typing out a URL or having to email students the web address of something you want to share, you can simply integrate the QR code into their classroom materials. When the students go home to study, they can scan the code and be taken directly to wherever they need to be. Another excellent way these codes can be used to update students on upcoming events with the school or just with your individual class. The QR code can be written to provide updates and announcements for important field trips, tests, paper due dates, and much more. With a simple scan of the code, students will have updated information right at their fingertips. Truly, with these codes, the sky is the limit. You can use your imagination to add them to just about anything, and in almost any context you can imagine.
As a teacher, this new form of technology might seem a little bit intimidating. The good news is there are plenty of excellent QR code generator programs available, as well as tutorial websites that can walk you through the process. Many modern day schools are offering these codes to teachers and have an entire staff dedicated to keeping up the school’s website, as well as any QR codes that need to be written. Overall, the purpose of a QR code is to redirect someone to a website, video, or other material quickly. When you think of it this way, it does not sound quite as intimidating. Many experts in QR codes hold seminars designed to teach companies and educators about the process of creating them.
A really creative way to use these QR codes is for a type of educational scavenger hunt. You can “hide” the QR codes around the classroom or within the curriculum, and have the students scan the codes to find out more about any given subject. The codes can even point students to other places around the school or around the community, encouraging their imaginations and stimulating their determination. The codes can lead them to different museums, other areas of the school, or places around the neighborhood that will enhance the overall learning experience. While on field trips, teachers can place the QR codes around different areas, and have students scan them to learn more about the different things they are studying. For example, a QR code placed near a fish tank at the local aquarium can be scanned, providing lots of information about the various species of fish found there. Students can then utilize the facts they learn in their papers or on a written test later. It is a great way to make learning more fun, more interactive, and certainly more engaging. The possibilities of using QR codes are truly endless, and there is really no limit on what teachers can do.
For more information about QR codes and using them in the classroom, please refer to the following websites:
- QR Codes: The Basics
- Explaining QR Codes
- Learn How A QR Code Works
- Using QR Codes in the Classroom: A Brave New World
- See How California is Using QR Codes
- QR Code Scavenger Hunt
- Barcodes and QR Codes