QR Codes in the Classroom by Zach Glowik
A QR code is an image that links a smart device to a website, image, or even bank account, with the help of an app. These codes were originally made to track vehicles during manufacture in the automotive industry, but have since become popular due to its versatility and its ease of scanning. QR codes, unlike barcodes, do not have to be scanned by a beam of light, but can be scanned using a camera and a mobile app. Another reason these have become popular is how easy it is to make one. There are dozens of free websites that anyone can access to make one of these codes.
Now, this is all well and good, but how is this code able to be used to enhance a student’s learning experience? Well, for one thing, it allows teachers to not have to post long and sometimes irritating URLs on their web pages. For example, if one wanted to direct a student to a specific news article by CNN, say one of the mayor of Denver dancing, it would look something like this:
Needless to say, this takes up a lot of unnecessary space. A QR code of the same link looks like this:
This clearly saves a lot of space when linking students to a web page. Another way to incorporate these codes into a classroom enviroment is by putting these codes on tests. A teacher could very well put one of these codes on a test to link the student to a video clip and have them answer a question about said video clip. These codes could also be used to easily link students to an entire online test or survey without having to go through the trouble of copying a URL character by character.
QR codes have great potential for enhancing learning for students. These codes basically connect the physical with the virtual. There is an enormous potentiality for these codes to do so much more than what they were originally made for, and immerse the student in their learning experience. Easy to use QR code generators can be found everywhere. My personal favorite is http://www.qrstuff.com. This website allows you to link a number of websites and services in a QR code, as well as change the color to make the code itself more visually appealing. This site even allows you to put the code on a t-shirt!
A lesson plan for an interested English teacher can be found here:
If you use Firefox browser, there is a plugin called “Mobile Barcoder”. This app makes it easy to generate a QR code for the web page you are on, or any link on the page, or any text you select on the page. How could you use this? If you are giving a presentation, and using Firefox, and the screen is being projected for your class or audience, you could easily generate a QR code to share the info. *You don’t have to create and save a QR image in advance. It is generated “on the fly”.