QR Codes

qrcodeWhat is a QR Code?

It’s a kind of bar code that encodes information in a square like the one you see to the left, which is a QR Code for this website. “QR” stands for “Quick Response.” You can learn more about these codes at Wikipedia.

How can I read them?

These codes can be read by cell phones, so you will need an application. I found a list of QR Readers here, and if you have an iPhone or an Android, you can search their app stores for QR Code Readers. I use an app called Red Laser (iTunes link) to read QR Codes.

What can you do with QR Codes?

I’ve been learning about them for a couple of months, and while I can’t claim I have an exhaustive list of ideas for how to use them, I have a few.

  1. Put them on handouts or make stickers for textbooks. Students can scan the codes to learn more information about any topic. You can embed links to any website. Yes, you can also include the URL, but the QR Code will allow students to scan the code and go directly to the site.
  2. Put them on displays and signs around the school so students can learn more. Example: A scholarship contest sign could have contact information or a link to the website embedded. Students can quickly scan the code, and take the information with them more easily and quickly.
  3. Put them next to student work in the hallways and link them to text that tells viewers more about the artist and the work. Sure, you can display a block of text, too, but you have more options with QR Codes (links to other media, etc.). For example, you could include a link to a video in which the student is interviewed about their work, which is harder to do with a bit of text on the wall.
  4. Add them to large maps. Students can scan them and be directed to Wikipedia articles or other websites where they can learn more about the area. For example, putting a QR Code on a map of Georgia next to Milledgeville could bring up a list of writers from that town. You could also link to GoogleMaps so students could zoom around and explore the area in more detail or to images of people or events in the area. Videos, too.
  5. Encode answers to the assignment so students can check their work when they’re done. Perhaps the extra step of decoding the QR Code will be enough for students to try it out first before checking.
  6. Use them in scavenger hunts. Students can be directed to different websites and complete different tasks.
  7. Have students use them to turn in work. It would be great for multimedia projects incorporating video, audio, blogs, and images.

Jeff Utecht also has some great ideas for using QR Codes. I love the idea he shares about putting QR Codes on books. Students can be directed to reviews. QR stickers on books might be a fun way of sharing an assignment, such as a literature circle role.

Check out this great LiveBinder on QR Codes.

I have to admit, it’s kind of fun to take images of QR Codes and see what will pop up. Which also means they can be used by students for more nefarious purposes, so you should be aware of them for that reason, too.

How can you make them?

Kaywa has a great QR Code generator. Give it a try.

What if you don’t have mobile devices, or what if they’re banned in your school?


10 thoughts on “QR Codes”

  1. You are awesome. I have been wanting an app for QR Codes…problem is it's hard to find one (or even learn about them) if you don't know what they're called…I was getting nowhere on Google…then I must have seen something shiny and I was off to something else…I already had Red Laser and didn't realize it would work.

    Thanks, Dana!

    1. You're welcome, Ryan. I think Steve actually figured out that you could use Red Laser, which we both had. There are quite a few others, and I was set to download one when he told me I already had one. I guess you all see them a lot. They are supposed to be everywhere in Japan.

    1. I showed it to several teachers at my school, and so far, the response seems to be the same as yours. I'm thinking about doing an activity—a scavenger hunt—for my colleagues. I need to get time, permission, etc. though.

  2. Nice article! 2011 is going to be the year of the QR Code as more Code generators are developed for mass adoption. I recently launched http://www.SocialQRCode.com, it’s designed for small to large sized businesses to promote their Facebook fan pages and Twitter profiles.

    Please give it a try and let me know what you think! @socialqrcode on twitter!

  3. I was wondering if you were able to track when the QR codes were being used as opposed to someone just clicking on your link?

  4. In L.A. and Spain there is a new company called Vínculo which is providing a service called Qr Workshop.

    These Workshop product let you put a requirement for an artwork-qr for been used on your campaign. So, they give you analytics, link switch, and they make all necessary tests on the new funny and shinny Qr-Code to be sure that it is going to work right and could be read well.

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