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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

QR Codes in Education

You may have set your eyes on a poster, bus stop, real estate sign or some other form of media and noticed a strange looking diagram something like this:

This is a QR-Code, or Quick Response Code. This code works much like a barcode, yet your smartphone is the scanner. With a QR-Code scanner/reader app, your phone can scan this code, recognise it instantly and direct you to the code's intended location. This could be a link to a website, a phone number, VCard or SMS. The best part is that it is fast and easy to set one up. Here's how:

1. Go to a QR-Code Generator website like Kaywa and select what you want the phone to do when it scans your code.

The next step is to either paste the URL of the website, or write the phone number or text message, select the size you want the code to be and hit "generate". Thats it! Then you can save the image of the barcode, send it electronically or print it. Anybody who downloads a QR-Code scanner is able to use the camera within the app to scan your code and access the content.

So how can this be used in education?? Anything that is web accessible can now be on the screen of a student's phone instantly. In music, i'm starting to encourage students to find useful Youtube tutorials on how to use the studio equipment and then sticking a QR-Code on the equipment itself that directs them to this video on their phone. Students may wish to create a QR-Code as an assignment that links to an online blog, journal, photography flickr page with their assignment images, a podcast they produced on Youtube. They can be printed on newsletters to parents that link to the school website, blog or Youtube channel.
QR-Code scavenger hunts are quite popular now also, where a QR would navigate your phone to a google maps location.

The only thing to consider is whether all your students have a smart phone. If they don't have access to one, you may have to ensure that those students can access the same content and not be disadvantaged.

It takes a few minutes to set up, but with a little brainstorming you can create something engaging, all the while enabling students to use their phones properly. Have fun!

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