QR codes in the classroom

For this post I will move away from badges (don’t worry badgers I plan to return to that topic again) and look at an easy application of technology in the classroom.

Most students in secondary schools have an extremely powerful device in their pocket called a smart phone. There are a number of interesting things you can do with these devices in the classroom. Today I will look at the use of QR codes.

About QR codes

Those of you with smart phones will know about QR (quick response) codes. They are the little pixel boxes you can scan with your phone to link you directly to information.

The codes are scanned using the built in camera on the device and a free app. There are numerous apps available from the app stores including:
* For an iPhone an app can be downloaded form the iTunes store at https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/qr-reader-for-iphone/id368494609?mt=8
* For an android device the app is at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.tapmedia.qrreader
* Windows phones can read the codes by tapping the search button, and then the ‘eye’ button. There is a free app at http://www.windowsphone.com/en-au/store/app/qr-code-reader/e21dee2d-9c1c-4f25-916f-c93d25da8768 which provides improved funtionality

Using QR codes in class

These codes can be added into assignment sheets etc. to link students directly to resources, or just provide hints. You could perhaps provide sample solutions to questions ‘hidden’ behind the QR code.

As an example take this question from a computer graphics exam:

The design principles of “Balance”, “Emphasis”, “Unity”, “Contrast”, and “Rhythm” are important in communicating a message or feeling to a viewer. Choose two of these and describe how a designer might use them to convey a feeling.

Now scan this code on the screen to get a sample solution (no need to print it out):


In another example this code links to a sample exam paper for students to download:


For each question there is a QR code which either gives a sample solution, or links to a web resource to assist with answering the question. This is much more efficient than printing off sample solutions, and the students enjoy the element of discovery.

Fun idea

Colleagues of mine used QR codes to help new students to become familiar with the school buildings. They set up a mystery tour with QR codes. The codes were posted on walls around the building, and each code provided a hint to the next location. The kids loved it, running around the buildings finding the library, gym, toilets etc.

Creating your own QR codes

This widget will quickly generate QR codes.




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