Teacher StratEdgy: More on QR codes

We have talked quite a bit about QR codes on the EdCeptional Podcast and the crew and I thought it would be good to elaborate more on them.  Quick Response (QR codes) were developed originally for the car industry as a high speed way to track inventory.  They’ve taken off recently for many reasons (easier to read by camera phones & their free!).  Think of them as a way to connect the physical world with the digital.

There are 4 types of QR Codes, a code can contain one of the following – a URL, a block of text, a phone number, or a SMS message.  Any QR Code reader on a smartphone can read and display the text embedded in a QR code.  Some of the most popular QR code readers are Red Laser or i-nigma.  Both of these are available for iOS devices and Andoid devices.

It’s also easy to create QR codes.  There are many sites that you can use to create them.  One of the easiest is Kaywa.  Just pick the type of code you want to make, fill in the boxes and click generate.  The code is created and you can save it to your computer.  If you are looking just to have a QR code for a URL you can use a shortener like Bit.ly or Goo.gl.  After you shorten a link they create the QR code for you that you can save.

So how can you use QR codes?  Why would you want to?  One reason is that it removes the keyboard from the equation.  Allowing students with difficulty typing to gain access to the computer.  Here are just a few ideas for using QR codes:

  • Sam Fecich shared how she created a QR Code easter egg hunt.  Kids scanned codes and followed the clues embedded in them to find an easter egg hidden in the school.
  • I’ve been creating QR codes that link to specific YouTube playlists so students can access them during leisure time.  You can read QR codes using any laptop/computer webcam using a free program called Desktop QR Code Reader
  • Have kids read books into the computer, post those files on a school website, then create a QR code linking to the file, and when a student checks out the book, they can use the QR code to hear the book read to them.
  • Instead of assigning homework, assign the students to check out a code which leads them to a YouTube video about a topic being studied
  • Chris Bugaj shared a great idea for students/adults working in job sites.  Create videos about a job including directions and safety information, then students can scan the code and see the information before they start working on the job
  • Many students have difficulty or are unable to give their vital information in an emergency.  Instead of expecting them to be able to share, they could be taught to share a card with a QR code on it.  One side would read “Please help me, use your smartphone and a QR reader, like Red Laser, to scan this code and it will text my parents”.  Create a QR Code (using Kaywa) with a parent cell phone number and simple message.  This way student information is not just on them, but they can still get help.

These are just a few ways to use QR codes, and I know there are more.  Take a moment and share your ideas for using QR Codes in your classroom.


What do you think?

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  1. I like reading the book, but what about having your students review the book, and other students can listen to decide if they want to read the book or not.  I have also been using them to connect to youtube videos I have made myself teaching a short lesson.  One last way I’ll share is it’s a good way to show parents their students virtual work, and make your weekly/monthly newsletters full of media.