As most of you know, QR code stands for quick response code, and it’s a two-dimensional bar code that holds a good deal more information than a traditional bar code. They originated in Japan
at the Toyota factory to track the manufacturing of car parts. Since then, they’ve taken
off in popularity, and you’ll see them everywhere
in consumer advertising. When you scan a QR code,
you’re instantly taken to a variety of tech-based experiences: Could be a text message, could be an audio message, could be a website, could be a video. It’s like magic. The tools to create a QR
code are essentially free, and the tools to interact with the QR code are increasingly easy and common to use. So, we have this great, free, easy tool, but what can we do with it? Teachers have realized
there’s a lot of potential for QR codes in the classroom. Recently, I told my class
we would be learning some new vocabulary words, something we do
two or three times a month. They let out a groan because it’s kind of a boring activity. Then, I passed out QR
codes to all my students and told them we’d be interacting
with them with devices, and that’s how they’d find
their vocabulary list. The attitude in the class
changed completely. They went from groaning and moaning to excited and enthusiastic. I could teach the exact
same lesson using QR codes and not using QR codes and get a completely different attitude. One fun activity to do with QR codes is a scavenger hunt. I create QR codes with tasks
assigned to them. I hide them all around the room. Students go with their devices and scan them and have
to complete the task. Recently, I hosted a technology
event at my school and held a school-wide QR code. Students loved it. In grades K through 6, they were completely engaged and excited, literally running from code to code because they were so excited to see what the next task was going to be. Students who didn’t have devices with them were begging their parents to pull out their smart phones so they could participate as well. It was so refreshing to see that level of enthusiasm
and excitement regarding learning. A creative use for teachers for QR codes is for positive reinforcement. Put up a poster in your classroom with numbered QR codes, each one leading to a different message. When a student needs some feedback, tell him, ‘Go scan number 5.’ ‘Go scan number 22.’ And the message will say, ‘Great job today! I love your enthusiasm.’ ‘Nice work! I can see you’re
working really hard.’ It’s so much more exciting for a student to get out of their seat, scan a code, and interact with something for then the teacher
just to say, ‘Good job!’ It’s much more memorable. Libraries have endless uses for QR codes: scannable book reviews, lists of reading suggestions and book lists on the walls, biographies. Imagine pulling a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. off the shelf, scanning a QR code, and being instantly taken to the “I Have a Dream” speech. It literally makes learning come alive. QR codes can add a nice 21st century twist to a traditional assignment. Each year, I have my class create a poster for a book report, something we’ve all probably done at some point in elementary school. It’s a little bit of a boring assignment. The kids enjoy it okay. This time, I changed it up, and the second step of the assignment was to have them record their voices, recording an audio QR code of themselves giving a book review of the book. They then printed the QR code, attached it to the poster, and gave the poster a hands-on,
interactive quality. We put them in the hallway and kids from all different classrooms were walking by, scanning them, listening to these book reviews. It was so much more fun than just a traditional poster. My class recently had
the privilege of participating in a QR code lesson led by a teacher across the country. If the video chat weren’t exciting enough, the fact that she incorporated
QR codes into the lesson, my students, from their seat, from the comfort of their classroom, could actually scan the codes
on the computer screen, interacting with her QR codes
from 3,000 miles away, was incredibly exciting
and memorable for my students. They did not stop talking
about the lesson for weeks. You just don’t get that kind of memorable, engaging experience using a worksheet or reading from a textbook. QR codes have a possible use in every grade level, with every subject area. Kindergarten teachers
can have their students scan a QR code that leads
to a phonics lesson. The music teacher can
create audio QR codes of their students playing
instruments or singing. PE teachera can post
real-time race results or athletic event results, all attached to a QR code. The student council
or the PTO can advertise upcoming school events
all around the school and send home on flyers via QR code. The possibilities with this
free and easy tool are endless. If used properly, QR
codes have the potential to awaken a student, transform a lesson, and bring down the walls
of your classroom, creating the ultimate 21st
century learning opportunity.