Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Using QR Codes in the Classroom

*If you need to know the QR code "basics," visit this blog post. 

I recently posed a question on my Teacher Garden Facebook fan page, asking for ideas of how to use QR codes in the classroom. While I was unable to obtain any more ideas, Lori over at Conversations in Literacy asked for some of my ideas, so I was propelled to do some more research over QR codes in the classroom. I was surprised by what I found!

I originally posted that I was still unsure of their uses, and I could only find a few ways to use them in the classroom. Well, gone are those days! :) After using Pinterest and Google to help, I have collected a fairly wide variety of ways to use QR codes in the classroom, both for elementary- and secondary-classroom use. Here is a list of ways I've found so far. If I found the idea elsewhere, I've linked up to it, so just click the idea to be taken to the original source!
  1. Manage library materials. The Technology Tips blog connected QR codes to a Google doc, printed the codes on stickers, and attached them to library materials. Students could then check out/in materials by scanning the code.
  2. Excite students about upcoming material. Scott Sibberson blogged about connecting a QR code to the "picture of the week" and using it as sort-of an anticipatory set to get students thinking about upcoming information.
  3. Writing prompts: connect a QR code to a writing prompt (text or picture...I've heard of people using National Geographic's picture of the day as a daily bellringer writing prompt!) and ask students to scan it upon entering the room. They could then use the text/picture they receive as "writing fuel."
  4. Assess. Scott Sibberson also blogged about connecting QR codes to quiz websites (like QuizStar) and asking students to take the quizzes either inside or outside of class.
  5. Allow absent students to catch up. Mr. Sibberson also suggested linking QR codes to the assessment/assignment of the day and posting each individual QR code on a large class calendar. Absent students could scan the QR code to have immediate access to information they missed. Since you can link a QR code to pretty much anything, you could show kids the Prezi presentation you made, a YouTube clip that enhanced learning, a PDF-version of the assignment, a picture slideshow of their classmates completing physical/social activity...whatever!
  6. Report bullying. I really love this idea, captured on livinglocurto's Instagram: use a QR code to connect to a Bully-reporting website or hotline! I'm not sure how practical it is -- I know a lot of kids wouldn't want to be caught scanning that code, but maybe the QR code would make it so "cool" that everyone would be scanning it, just to have something to scan. (Remember, part of the fun of QR codes is the novelty of it at this point!)
  7. Link to counseling/medical websites/assessments. Counselors (or teachers) could generate QR codes to suicide hotlines, informational websites about ADD or ADHD, etc. and post them around the school or in their office. School counselors could generate a QR code to a questionnaire about cetain disorders. For instance, if a student wanted to get a quick-read about whether or not she was depressed (to know if it was something she needs talk to an adult about), this student could scan a QR code to a quick checklist of attributes that a depressed person usually has. If she checked positive for x number of the attributes, she would know to talk to an adult about what could potentially be clinical depression. This might be great for junior high and high school students, where a quick scan of a QR code is all you need to get the information. A lot of times, those students are too embarrassed to stand and study information on a poster like that, so the ability to scan and read on the go would be invaluable.
  8. Get directions. Attach a QR code to a Mapquest or Google Maps link and put it on fliers for Open Houses or seminars, particularly if you have a large school district. People could scan the code and be given directions as to how to get to an event.
  9. Give more info about school events. Attach addresses/contact information to QR codes and put them on things like basketball schedules or StuCo meeting signs!
  10. Present. When giving a presentation in class, instead of handing out paper copies of your presentation to everyone, maybe you just hand them a QR code to scan and view while you explain. (Or eliminate paper completely by posting the QR code on your IWB.)
  11. Flip your classroom. Create a QR code to a video or presentation you've made for each topic. Hand out the code before class ends and let the students watch the presentations at home.
  12. Make text interactive. For textbooks or novels, create a QR code that links to a Wallwisher or specific Twitter hashtag. Give copies of the code to all students and ask them to participate in a discussion on that text. 
  13. Find something interesting to read. Ask students to review books in the classroom library on some type of website (Shelfari?). Afterwards, generate a QR code, print it onto a sticker, and stick it to the back of the library book. I love that students can get instant access to classmates' reviews -- those reviews are so powerful!
  14. Go on a treasure hunt. Primary Bits and Bytes says teachers could create a treasure hunt for students using QR codes. Each QR code would have to take students to a clue -- text, graphic, video, podcast of you speaking a riddle...whatever! -- that they would use to find the next clue in the hunt.
  15. Go on a textbook/novel hunt. My instructor during a Great Expectations course for secondary students detailed how to do a textbook hunt (basically asking students to get "the big picture" by way of a competitive worksheet activity), but I know there's got to be a way to incorporate QR codes! I'm still working on developing this one... when I figure it out, I'll let ya know. :)
  16. Student-made explanation videos. Primary Bits and Bytes suggests asking students to make YouTube videos to explain how they reached the end of math problems. Instead of just writing the answer, students make the videos and attach them to the book or answer sheet for you to watch/grade.
  17. Homework help: generate a QR code to a homework help website, a helpful YouTube explanation video, etc. on the top of homework. If students struggle at home with the assignment, they could review extra explanations instantly. You could also link to a special Twitter hashtag that would act as a forum for students to discuss the homework.
  18. Feedback: Primary Bits and Bytes sticks a code on the front of a student's binder/folder/journal and uses it as a way to add feedback. You could also do this for homework.
  19. Student-parent-teacher message system: what if we made a private blog page/Wallwisher wall for each student in the class? We could generate QR codes and give them to each student and parent. Throughout the year, that could be used as on-going feedback to evaluate not only assignments, but behavior and social growth, as well. I suppose it could also be used as sort of an instant messager system to relay information like absences or transportation changes!
  20. E-portfolios: students could link up to their Dropbox or LiveBinder accounts, and teachers could use the codes to quickly access progress or give final grades.
  21. Link to "virtual 'fridge." I like to use a "virtual 'fridge" to display wonderful work on my classroom website, but if I generate a QR code to that "'fridge," everyone -- not just visitors to my website -- could see the outstanding work done by my students.
  22. Hallway decor: use QR codes in hallway decor for Open House or conference nights. You could display students' pictures (or self-portraits) on the bulletin board, and attach a QR code to their latest and greatest achievement right next to each student. Parents could get a "quick response" on what positive things have been happening for that kid lately! This would be easy to update as the year went on, since you'd just change the content of the webpage (not the actual QR code). {Read this blog post for more information about this idea.}
  23.  Spice up test reviews. {This Pinterest picture was my inspiration for this suggestion.} Create QR codes to questions or material you'd like students to review prior to the test. 
  24. Teacher contact info: as mentioned in my original post about QR codes, you could always put your contact information in the form of a QR code on a class syllabus or even at the bottom of your class newsletter! Parents/students could scan the code and automatically have their phones call or text you for help/information.
  25. Take attendance/lunch count. Using Google docs or Survey Monkey, create a warm-up question for the day. Generate a code for it, and post the code by the door or the front of the room. Take attendance by seeing who responded to the warm-up. The warm-up could be a multiple-choice review...or you could "quiz" elementary students over what kind of lunch they'd like for the day -- attendance and lunch count, all in one!
  26. Keep kids safe on a field trip. Prior to a field trip with younger students, you could link contact information for the school to a QR code, and print the codes onto square stickers. Each student could be required to wear the sticker all day long. It's more subtle than student name tags (which can be dangerous) and less expensive than matching t-shirts! ...If you planned on doing this often, you could always print your QR code onto something more heavy-duty, like a bracelet or necklace, and hand those out to the kids prior to the trip. Their ticket off the bus and to their home is to give you back the QR coded accessory. :)
  27. Let students self-check homework. As per Classroom in the Cloud: for daily homework or a study guide, link a QR code to the answers, and place the code at the bottom or on the backside of the handout. Allow students to check their own answers.
  28. Meet the teacher...at Open House. Also from  Classroom in the Cloud: Have each teacher create a picture slideshow or video that tells about themselves and post the QR codes to those shows on the classroom door. Parents/students can scan the codes to "meet" teachers.
  29. Meet the teacher...early. Attach "Meet the Teacher" QR codes (discussed in number twenty-eight) to every kid's schedule or "welcome back" newsletter when it is mailed/given out prior to the beginning of the school year?
  30. Meet the teacher...even when he/she is absent. Also spinning off of number twenty-eight, if you had to leave during conference night or Open House  night, perhaps you could post an introductory/explanatory video (in the form of a QR code) on your door so that everyone could still "talk" to you, even though you couldn't be there! Make sure to state your contact information or post another QR code that links to it so that parents could have another opportunity to speak with you.
  31. Host a chat. Link a QR code to a Twitter hashtag or special chatroom so that parents and students could chat with you.
  32. Give a bus tour on a field trip. Also via Classroom in the Cloud: create a series of graphic/video QR codes prior to a field trip. Pass out the codes and tell kids when to scan them. It's like a personal tour without you having to yell it over the roar of the bus! 
  33. Assess a field trip. Along the same lines as number thirty-one: on the way home from a field trip, you could pass out a QR code that's linked to a quiz or writing prompt and allow students to work on the assessment on the way back to school.
  34. Give ELL students extra help. Twitter user @duckinwales suggested attaching audio files to QR codes and giving them to ELL students so they could listen to the correct pronunciation.
  35. Give instructions. Attach an audio file of yourself giving instructions (say, at centers). Students could scan the code when/if they need help or an extra reminder.
  36. Model reading. Teachers of early readers could attach audio files (podcasts) of themselves reading a book. Imagine having a whole library of books with QR codes inside the covers that attach to podcasts of modeled reading!
  37. Link to needed textbooks. Michael Bromby suggests linking an Amazon search for your class's needed reading material for the semester/year onto a QR code. Students will have instant access to the title/author/ISBN of each book needed and can order directly from their smartphone! 
  38. Link to a school supply list or wishlist. Post the code(s) on the classroom website or "back to school" newsletter.
  39. Link to your own website. Twitter user @LRDow suggested generating QR codes for each page of your class website and placing those codes directly on the page it links to. To share information with classmates, students only have to pass on the QR codes -- not the entire link.
  40. Give credit to artwork: For art teachers who display students' artwork in your galleries: post a QR code with the child's name and mugshot right next to it so that students are credited with the work without defacing their art with unecessary writing. 
  41. Let visitors listen to a musical performance. Music teachers could link to a video/audio recording of the choir singing or a grade level performance. 
  42. Link to lesson plans. Upload your lesson plans to your class website and then post a QR code outside your classroom with a link to the lesson plans. Admin only has to scan your code to figure out what your students are learning at that very moment.
  43. Spice up a yearbook. Place QR codes in yearbooks that link to audio and video of students!
  44. Connect with classmates. I use a homework buddy system with my older students: at the beginning of the semester, I ask them to find 4 classmates they think they can trust and to exhange contact information with them. When someone is absent, students don't come to me to find out what they missed; instead, they ask a homework buddy (or check our class website). Twitter user @raganmd suggests asking students to fill out contact information (phone numbers, email addresses, personal website URLS) on a website called Jump Scan, and then generating the QR code for each Jump Scan profile. I could easily see this working with my homework buddies program; the information auomatically ends up in your phone!
  45. Explain a model. Twitter user @mrrobbo suggests attaching QR codes to physical models. For instance, on a classroom skeleton, attach QR codes with informational videos/links about each part of the body.
  46. "Choose your own adventure" stories: Twitter user @mrrobbo also suggests creating an exciting sentence for a story, and then ask readers to make a decision. If they choose option 1, scan code #1. If they choose option #2, scan code #2. 
  47. Create an on-going class story. Start the class with an exciting sentence or paragraph, generate a QR code to it, and post it on the wall. Students can then write the next portion of the story, generate a QR code to their portion, and add it to the wall. 
  48. Link to audio files. Twitter user @NigelKirkham said he an audio file in his public Dropbox folder and created a QR code for the public folder's link. Scanning the code enabled users to listen to the file. You could also link to podcasts.
*Ideas #35, 39, 40, 41, and 42 were found on @TomBarrett's Google docs presentation on ways to use QR codes in the classroom.

These are all the ideas I've been able to find so far, but I think it's an excellent starting point! If you have any other ideas for using QR codes in the classroom, I would love it if you left them in a comment! You could also scan this QR code and leave a comment on The Teacher Garden Facebook fan page. :)
Happy QR-ing!



P.S. There's a great website I just found out about (courtesy of commenter #1, Matt) that is centered around using QR codes in the classroom! Here's the link in case you'd like to check it out!

P.P.S. I'm linking this post up to Ms. Fultz's Mystery QR Code Blog Hop:

Be sure to check it out!

20 comments:

  1. Great post. I've added it to the Ideas for Use are on the QR Codes in Education site - http://www.qrcodesineducation.com

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  2. Thank you! I'll edit the post to direct more traffic your way!

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  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
    I have "liked" your FB page, but I don't see anywhere to join your blog. ?? Perhaps you can let me know or I'll at least follow you on Twitter?
    Thanks for joining my blog today!
    Regards,
    Ann Marie
    Innovative Connections

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  4. Thank you sooo much (again) for all of these ideas! You have been very busy today compiling all of these. Thank you also for putting a link to me in your post! That was very kind of you. I did a shout out to you and your ideas and a link to you on my post!

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Ann Marie: Thanks! :) Oh, dear. If there's no way to follow the blog, that would explain why I haven't gotten very many followers yet! lol. I'm not sure how to add a way for people to follow me! :-/ I have the "subscribe by e-mail" button in the right-hand column, and then the Google-powered "follow" dashboard up at the very top. What else can I add? I'm so sorry for the inconvenience!

    Lori: You're welcome! I had a blast learning all this stuff today. :) Thanks for the shout out!

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  7. Not an inconvenience....I just wanted you to know I would have followed you the day I visited your blog! :) However, I see the networked blogs now and have joined it! Have a great week!
    Ann Marie (Innovative Connections)

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  8. Awesome post! Your blog is really nice. I have found lots of helpful information here!
    Thank you for the post.

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  9. You're welcome! I'm glad you found it helpful!

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  10. I am checking out all of the blogs in the QR Mystery Blog Hop. Mine is in grades 3-6. I love all your ideas for using QR codes!

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  11. Great post. Love, love, love all the ideas! Thanks for linking up, too.

    Christi ツ
    Ms. Fultz’s Corner

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  12. Are they safe to use? What about the URL that is created "behind" the code. Can it be traced to a student? Or can you erase the URL when you are finished?

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    1. Hi Kathy,

      I'm not sure what you mean. As far as I know, you cannot detect who linked a website to a QR code. The URL must stay intact for else the QR code does not work. I definitely still would not put anything on the Internet that you aren't okay with the world seeing! Please feel free to e-mail me if you need to clarify your question, and I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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  13. I am using a QR Code linked to a Google Form for my classroom sign-in/out procedure when students need to leave class for water, bathroom, locker, etc.

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    1. I do this to let students sign in to my recycling club, so great minds must think alike. :) I love it because I only have the kids write their first and last name, so it's super-quick, but everything is time stamped so I have details about attendance, just in case. :)

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    2. How do you link the google form to a QR code?

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