Saturday, 13 June 2015

Using QR codes in the classroom

Do you consider yourself as a ‘tech-savvy’ teacher?  It is such a challenge for teachers now days to stimulate students with paper and pen when they are driven by technology!  Technology is all around them and is very much part of their lives. It is our responsibility as teachers, to bring what students know into their daily teachings.

This might be a daunting task for those who do not have a technological mind. I have found that using QR codes is an easy way for teachers to bridge the ‘technology in the classroom’ gap.  I am sure you have seen the little square shaped barcodes scattered around in your environment.  They are in magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, subways, on food wrappers and information pamphlets, just to name a few.

These codes are making information accessible at the click of a button. Students can use their tablets or Smartphones to download a free QR Code Scanner from their app store.  Once the app is on the device, all that needs to be done is to open the app, hover the device over the code and it will automatically scan it and reveal the ‘hidden’ text.

For you as the teacher, you would need to know how to create the QR code.  I like to use QR stuff.  It is a free QR code generator which offers many options, including inserting different data types and changing the color of the code.

You select the data type you are creating a QR code for,

insert the necessary text

choose a color for your code

and then download the code which has been generated.

So, you are probably wondering how this can be incorporated in your classroom.  Here are a few ideas that you could use and that will hopefully make instruction easier, more varied and more engaging for students.
  • Use them as an instruction. Display a QR code on the whiteboard.  When students enter the classroom, they immediately scan the code and follow the instructions.  Here is an example:

  • Use the code as a method to group students.  They each take a code out of a box (or are handed one) and then scan it to find out which group they are in .  Grab a free version of group cards by clicking on the image below.  There are 6 cards, with the codes revealing numbers from 1 - 6.

  • Use them as a memorandum to make a task self-correcting. I like to use QR codes on task cards and in board games.  This means that the students can complete the task card and then scan the code to check their answer.  They then only need to ask for assistance if they do not understand where the correct answer from.  Find this Long Vowel Sound board game here.
 Long Vowel Board Games

  • Use them as an information carrier. Students need to scan the code to acquire some information needed to complete a task.  The QR code can link to a website with a particular article, video, song, picture etc needed to complete an assignment, question or task.  Below you can see the QR codes used to differentiate Synonyms by offering a definition when scanned, enabling students to select the most appropriate synonym.  Grab it here.

  • Use it as a reward system. Students scan the code to reveal a reward for good behavior or work.

Feel free to visit my store to find some more QR code activities.

I hope I have given you some ideas to incorporate QR codes into your class situation so that you are able to slowly include them in everyday teaching.

How do you use QR codes in the classroom?  I would love to know!  Leave a comment to offer even more ideas to readers.

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