- They can save us time.
- They can save paper.
- They provide a link to mobile devices that help students do their homework and follow along.
Back in March, we discussed QR codes in our Lesson in Simple Augmented Reality. We used them extensively in our eighth grade portfolios this year and it has cut assessment time in half. Many of you have asked that this post be written to help you on your journey.
This PostThis blog post is divided into three parts. First, you have to be ready to use QR Codes, then you have to teach the students. Finally, we learn seven ways QR codes are being used in the classroom RIGHT NOW.
Preparing the Teacher to Use QR Codes
First select the type of information you want to encode. Then, type that information in the box. You can right click on the barcode and copy it onto your computer as I did in my lesson, or you can embed the QR code using the HTML code.
You are ready. Be prepared for typical problems as you prepare your assignments.
Problem: Glare from light on a shiny page protector or front of notebook, particularly on webcam-based qr codes is a problem.
Solution: Sometimes you have to take the qr code out of a shiny sleeve.
Problem: While grading in the den with a spotlight while the family was watching a movie, I had a problem with shadows.
Solution: Adjust lighting or move your head out of the way so the barcode can be evenly lit.
Problem: PC Readers are not as fast as readers or loaders of content as mobile readers.
Solution: Use the PC when you need to go to full websites that will take a while to load anyway. If you're just checking links use the mobile version.
Solution: Look at the bottom of the page for the "view the regular version of this website" link. I recommend this if you're on an ipad, in particular.
Folded or crumpled code
Solution: Flatten it with your finger but consider teaching students how to have them be part of the printed document.
Problem: When screenshots are used, or when a code is placed too close to the edge of a paper and the printer will not print it - the readers will not scan the code. The whole code must be there.
Solution: Students should test their codes. This is part of doing a good job. If it is unreadable it is unusable
Step 1: Homework Assignment
Include some funny videos, the phone number for the school, a text message that says something like "You Rock Because You Can Read This" and an SMS pretending to be from someone like Justin Beiber.
"QR Codes are barcodes for information. Using your free QR code reader I want you to figure out what kind. You have 7 minutes to figure out what is encoded in these secret messages taped up on the wall. Go!" Step 4: Learning to Use QR CodesI then have the students go back to their computers and pull up their last blog post. I teach them to take a screenshot of the post and paste it into Microsoft Word. (We include their four best blog posts in their printed portfolio.)
Then, we use Kaywa's Free Free QR Code generator to create the code and insert it in their document. We test it. Because it links to our private Ning, it will take them to a username and password screen which they enter. Then, they can see their post.
I have my students write one summary blog post including hyperlinks to everything they have done for that period of time. For the eighth grade portfolio, we do have printed copies of many items that they save to use as reference during high school. (A sample MLA paper, instructions on creating MLA papers, proofreaders marks, etc. as well as their best of work.)
Their cover page has a QR Code on it. I can snap a picture on whatever device I need and have their summary post up on my screen in less than a second. The summary post includes hyperlinks to everything they have done online.
If I've written a blog post assignment, this is simple as I just encode the URL, they snap the picture and can mark it on their mobile device.