Monday, August 22, 2011

QR Codes at School?

Over the summer, I met a good number of teachers in workshops that have already been preparing to use QR codes in their classroom.  QR codes are the square bar codes that webcams (with certain software) can read and direct the user to a website, send a text, or perform various other functions.  I posted last year, and felt called to post again, about using the small netbooks that are on every campus, to read and use these special codes.

Creating a QR code is pretty easy.  The are various sites that will do this for you; http://goo.gl and http://qrcode.kaywa.com/   are two good starting points.  You simply type the website address (URL) into the box and click the button to generate the square code. (Goo.gl makes you click the details button afterward to see the code.)

What can you do with codes? Akins High School librarian, Bonnie Hauser, shared a Livebinder collection of links all about QR codes.  I saw a couple of middle schools this summer using QRs scavenger hunt or building tour signs to engage the incoming sixth graders during summer camp.  One of my favorite online resources is an Englishman named Tom Barrett, who encourages teachers to share ideas in Google Docs, (his 28 Ways to Use QR Codes is now up to 40!) Students can support the community by posting codes for informative purposes in public places.

Great ideas, but you still have to have a camera device to read them.  I found that teachers can download and install QuickMark for PC onto the small netbooks that each campus received last year. After installing the software, students can turn it on and point their computer at a QR code. The netbook will read it and preform the action stored within the code.

The following video, despite my repeated reference to Q codes ;( , shows how a large projected QR code can be seen across the room and direct student netbooks to a webpage.
video

QR codes can provide a functional tool that mobile devices and webcams can use to access data and preform some functions without typing complicated web addresses.

How have you used QR codes? What is another way that a QR code could play a unique in the classroom?

Oh, and you can have artistic fun with them as well!  ;)

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