Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quick Response Codes

Quick Response Codes were invented for use in the manufacturing world in Tokyo, Japan. The inventor holds the patent, but chooses not to exercise those rights. I wonder if he or she ever dreamed how those 2-dimensional codes would infiltrate the educational world in two short years.

What are QR Codes?

You can learn more about the codes by downloading a QR Scanner on your mobile device and scanning the blue code picture above. My favorite website for creating my own QR Codes is QR Stuff because I can make codes using a wide array of colors. Scan the purple code below to visit their site. Scan the military green code to view more information about QR Utilities in the iTunes app store. This app is by far my favorite for many reasons: you can scan codes, create codes, and this app will even manage/bookmark codes you have scanned. This is a great tool for workshops and inquiry lessons where the learner needs to access multiple online resources.
QR Stuff

QR Utilities
How can QR Codes be used in education?

QR Codes can be used to provide someone quick access to a website or video you'd like them to read or view. I have seen educators create QR Code scavenger hunts. When students scan the code, they are provided a clue, requiring them to think critically in order to continue on to the next code. 

My friend, Bethany, is an instructional technologist at the university level. All the professors in her department (college of ed.) created videos introducing themselves to incoming freshmen students and printed the codes for students to scan as an introduction to the program. 

Math teachers create codes linked to multi-step problems. Students work independently or in groups to solve the one problem/code they've been given. Teachers can differentiate according to learner needs, and no one student is singled out as being different. Math teachers can hand out QR Code homework to students as they leave the classroom for the day. Students can scan the code, later at home, or even in the car with mom's phone. 

Schools can send reminders for upcoming events home with students via QR Code.

Teachers can create business cards for themselves to pass out at conferences and other educational gatherings, showcasing their websites, blogs, research, or even their students' digital portfolios.

Students create book reviews in the form of podcasts -- or movie trailers, publish them online and create  codes that are then affixed to books in the school's library. When other students visit the library, they can pick up an iPod or use their smartphones and ear buds to view and/or listen to another student's review of the book.

Students can present information by making it digital and embedding presentations each on a unique page in the class wiki.  Instead of each student presenting a Power Point to the class, taking up two days of class time, the teacher can print one or two codes for each student's online work, mix them up, and hand them out to random students for viewing, allowing peer to peer feedback in the form of comenting on the wiki -- as well as teacher feedback, teaching students critical evaluation skills and how to think like a teacher. 

QR Codes are one of the most useful and accessable technological advances in the modern American classroom. Give them a try and share your own creative ideas with colleagues!

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