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QR Codes in the classroom and school

QR codes are ubiquitous; you can see them in supermarkets, on posters, and in newspapers and magazines.  This means students will be familiar with them but are highly unlikely to have actually used one.  What are they and how can we use them in class?

QR is an abbreviation for Quick Response, and allows smartphone and tablet users to quickly access and view a various range of multimedia – texts, audio, images, animation, videos and interactive content.Using the school’s iPads and the QR code reader, students can quickly scan a QR code and access material that you have chosen for exploitation in class.  It often saves time compared to typing in long URL addresses.

There are many free QR code readers on line which can be used to create your own QR codes: kaywa.com, QRcodegenerator.com, mobile-barcodes.com, webqr.com or beetagg.com.

I have adapted a present continuous picture quiz which a colleague created last year.  Using a free online QR code generator, I created codes which when scanned displayed questions relating to the pictures displayed on the first floor waiting area.

Here are three good reasons for using QR codes:

  • QR codes can hold over 4000 characters of information. Instead of printing out a long web article to your students, QR codes could give them direct and instantaneous access to the same resource in class. You save time and you save paper simultaneously.
  • They are very easy to generate. To create a QR code, you only need to copy and paste the address of a web page into your QR generating software. Once you have produced your code, you can then transfer it to your teaching resource, or simply leave it on the interactive whiteboard for students to scan in class.
  • QR codes can be printed on almost anything: paper, textile or walls (not sure you should try that!).  Some schools use them in the reception area to provide extra information about school events to students, parents and visitors.

This app offers simplicity and efficiency.  We often don’t have time to ‘play around’ with complicated software and other educational gadgets. QR codes are becoming a popular tool in education as they combine speed, ease and novelty with the capacity to hold a large amount of data. They can actually do a lot to enrich your lessons. If you try out QR codes, please share the experience.