Quick Response codes also known as QR codes are similar to barcodes. When you scan QR codes using apps such as i-nigma or scan with your smartphone, iPad and computer (if you have a web camera) it links information to you. The information can be text, videos or websites etc. I see QR codes becoming more popular in the classroom because they can be read on many devices and it is a real world application. Here are some ways you can use QR codes in the classroom.
2. You can create scavenger hunts and/or webquests for your students that get them moving around the room. Scanning a QR code makes is easier for the younger students so they don’t have to type the long urls. You can also place QR codes around the school informing parents and/or students about different places around the school.
3. Add QR codes to homework sheets that are helpful hints. For example, if the student forgets how to solve a math problem or gets stuck, they can scan the QR code for help. You can put them at the bottom of the page or right next to the problem. The QR codes can be linked to a ‘how to video’ such as a Khan Academy video or a ShowMe video you created yourself. You could also link the code to text such as the math notes that were given that day.
4. You can have the students become self-directed learners by creating QR stations. The students scan the QR code to reveal the task and the students must work together to get the task complete. This builds on the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration and critical thinking. In a science classroom, the QR stations could have codes stating how to do an experiment or it could explain a task that the students had to complete. For example, using the materials in front of you, you must design an experiment in thirty minutes that demonstrates all three of Newton’s Laws and must use at least one simple machine. QR stations can work in Physical Activity (GYM), Art, Music or any classroom!
5. A fellow teacher and virtual friend, @MrLemere, had his kids use QR codes to create work-cited pages for their research. What a great idea! He was able to check for copyright/paraphrasing issues on the spot and show the kids who copied word for word, and why it was wrong!
6. QR Voice Reader allows students to record themselves and turn the audio into a synthesized voice. This is a great way to have students practice oral reading or read their poems.
7. Make QR codes games. My students hated doing word problems so I made a QR circuit with word problems. The students were moving around the room, using their devices and practicing solving word problems. How I did it was by creating several word problems using QR codes and put the answers around the room. Once they solved the word problem, the answer directed them to the next word problem, creating a fun circuit.
8. Print your QR codes in color or do it the cheap way and print the QR codes on colored paper. Why color? This is a great way to differentiate instruction or use for jigsaw activities. You can have the low students scan the red codes, the middle can be blue and high can be purple; this way the students are all doing the same activity, but reading on their level.
To start putting some of these great ideas into practice in your classroom, you can use QR creators such as Kaywa, QRStuff if you just want to create one QR code but I like using Google docs when creating multiple QR codes quickly. I adapted the below directions from Tammy Worcester’s tech tip.
1. Log into Google and go to Google Drive.
2. Click on the create button to the left hand side and click on spreadsheet.
3. Label column ‘A’ Information. This is where you will put the information you want the QR code to have, for example your text, video, url etc.
4. Label column ‘B’ QR Code. (Eventually your QR code will appear here)
5. Resize the columns and rows so they are approximately 2 inches by 2 inches. You want them big enough to be able to scan easily.
6. Copy and paste this formula in cell B2, then click enter. (If it doesn’t work the first time, sometimes you need to manually type it in)
7. A QR code will appear! *If doesn’t work on the first try, it could be because you had a space after the A2) so delete the space and try again. The row will change to green and that is how you know it will work. Ex. A2.
8. Click the tiny blue square in the bottom-right corner of the cell and drag down to fill the formula in that column. QR codes should appear for all the information you filled in each row. If you didn’t fill in each row and you see QR codes then you can go back and put in information and those QR codes will change to add the new information.
9. Print them out, cut them up and place where you want them in your classroom.
Jill Thompson is an Instructional Technology Specialist in the district. She was previously a Math and Science facilitator for a year and taught in the classroom for 8 years prior to that. A graduate of Salem State College in Salem, Massachusetts, she has obtained a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Bachelor of Arts in English. She has also obtained her AIG (Academically or Intellectually Gifted) licensure at UNCC and earned her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Winthrop University! Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at UNCC and teaches Instructional Design and the Use of Technology with Elementary School Learners.