Seriously, what the heck are these?

qr code  An introduction to QR codes

QR stands for “quick response,” and if you use them correctly, that’s what you can give to your students.  Just as a bar code at the grocery store immediately sends a product’s information to the cash register, a QR code can send information to your smartphone or iPad.  So for those of you who are looking for an interesting way to use these devices, this is for you.

How can you use this in your classroom?  Put QR codes in your PowerPoint slides to link to pictures of historical figures, molecules, exotic locations…  Post QR codes around the room to serve as a Content Scavenger Hunt that gets students out of their seats.  Use them like flashcards, where students can scan the code beneath a question to visit a website that will help them answer it.  Link the code to a YouTube video reviewing how to work a particular math problem or use a piece of equipment.

Most of these strategies have low-tech alternatives that you might already use, but QR technology can make it happen faster and can deliver more information for the students.  Take advantage of the mobility of so much resource material and the ability to send it to students exactly when they need it.

Getting started:  For one thing, you don’t have to create anything.  Googling “QR code education” will give you a ton of results.  If you do make your own codes, I recommend the Azon Media Code Generator.  It is simple to use, and it lets you personalize your code, even putting a picture or logo in the middle of it.

Make sure you test your codes before you deploy them.  I use the “Scan” app for my iPad and “Upcode” for my Droid phone.

If you have a cool QR code activity, I’d love to hear about it.

Additional Resources:

  • Lots of ideas for using QR codes in the classroom
  • Way too many resources for QR codes
  • Shorten your URL and track its use.  I use snipurl.com because you can change the source URL later (like if you change your website address) and won’t have to start your tracking from scratch.  Snipurl will make a QR code, or you can use any other online QR generator with your snipurl URL.
  • Use a Google Doc to automatically create and organize QR codes.
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