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25 Fun Ways to use QR Codes for Teaching and Learning

by Kelly Walsh on December 7, 2014

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So Many Fun Ways to use QR Codes in the Classroom!

I’ve culled a bunch of ideas from different teachers who have shared their approaches to using this simple but powerful construct in the classroom. Once your students are equipped with a device that can read QR codes and they know how to scan them, you’re ready to use ideas like these in your classroom!

QR-code-cc-example

If you’re not already familiar with it, scroll down to the bottom of the article to learn how to easily create QR codes, and find QR Code readers.

Ideas, Ideas, and More Ideas!

The article, Ways to use QR Codes in the Elementary Classroom and Using Google Docs to Create Them, by Jill Thompson, offers these uses:

  • Library Book Add-On: Put QR codes on classroom library books, linking out to information about the author and or book. “You can also have students create ‘book trailers’ and turn them into QR codes using iMovie!”
  • Scavenger Hunts: “Create scavenger hunts and/or webquests for your students that get them moving around the room. Scanning a QR code makes is easier for the younger students so they don’t have to type the long urls.”
  • Inform Parents: “Place QR codes around the school informing parents … about different places around the school.”
  • Access Help: Add QR codes to homework sheets that link out to sources of help. “For example, if the student forgets how to solve a math problem or gets stuck, they can scan the QR code for help. The QR codes can be linked to a ‘how to video’ such as a Khan Academy  video or a ShowMe video you created yourself. “
  • QR Stations for self-directed learning: “… have the students become self-directed learners by creating QR stations. The students scan the QR code to reveal the task and the students must work together to get the task complete. This builds on the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration and critical thinking.”
  • Cite Sources: Have students use QR to link out to sources they use for research for paper writing, etc.

These ideas come from the web page QR Codes – What are they and how can I use them in my classroom? by Greg O’Connor.

  • Assistive Technology: “Provide an alternative access format for students who need additional support in reading and writing.” Students can quickly access information while using their own literacy support apps or software.
  • Classroom Hot Spots! “Provide information ‘hot spots’ throughout the classroom to access online videos, websites, text that is related to curriculum and instructional material.”
  • Interactive Classroom Calendar: “Attach QR Codes to the classroom calendar / timetable to point to information about upcoming class events, assessment reminders, etc.”
  • Website access from IWB: “Take students to a website you are browsing on an interactive whiteboard. Using the Mobile Barcoder add-on for the Firefox web browser, quickly generate a QR Code and have students scan with their own hand held device.”

These idea were published by Diana Rees in QR Codes: Augmenting Augmented Reality.

  • Link handouts to resources: Turn a handout into a “dynamic, interactive resources by linking them to interactive update-able websites”.
  • Link to the Campus Map
  • Add information to artwork:  “To link artwork … to information about the artwork, the artist, the historical period, etc.”
  • Nutritional Information: “To link nutritional objects to calorie counters (and other health applications)”
  • Online Manuals: “link equipment to online how-to-manuals”

I found these sources on this Pinterest page from Elizabeth Mills. These are geared towards younger elementary grade students.

  • Easy Audiobook Access: This web page discusses 75 Story Time Read Aloud Picture Books with QR Codes Cards, an app that could be purchased and placed on a shared iPad, enabling students to scan a QR code and then listen as popular children’s books are read aloud!
  • Check Work: Create QR codes that students can use to check their work
  • Award Prizes! Use a QR code to award a prize for good work or good behavior! The code can simply link to web page or image that informs them what their reward is (a new pencil o marker, a cool eraser, etc.).

Next we have a set of ideas from Edutopia, via Andrew Miller.

  • Provide a Service: “If students helped create awareness around spreading germs, for example, they might put the [QR] codes around the school or in a parent newsletter.”
  • Go Green! Rather than giving students the time-worn paper handout, provide a QR code that accesses instructions, announcements, or assignments. Use one page of QR codes to displace multiple handouts, or use codes on-screen to eliminate paper entirely!
  • Provide Optional Activities for those “Go-Getters”: “A great way to provide optional activities for students who want to excel is to simply put the code on the class assignment and let them follow it to the extension activity or question.”
  • Vote: “QR codes can be a great voting tool allowing students to vote by simply scanning the code as they enter or exit the classroom.”

Finally, here’s a few other fun ideas that I came across that are worth sharing:

Creating and Reading QR Codes

Creating QR codes is super easy when you have a web tool that works well for it. The hardest part is really having appropriate content to access. The idea of the QR code is that it is a simple a way to access a URL (i.e. a web address). A QR code is an image file (it can be a png, jpg, etc.) that when scanned by a QR Code reader will access the URL it links to, which typically means it will open a web page.

Once you have found content you want to share, or created content and made it available online, you just use a site like “QRstuff” to create a QR code that works for the URL you created. Open QRstuff, paste in a URL (under “2 Content”) and the site provides a QR code image (on the right side of the screen, under “QR Code Preview”) that you download, save, and use however you want.

As for QR Code Readers, they are typically free. This site offers good ones for popular Operating Systems.

So go for it – create your first code, just to familiarize your self with the process, then scan the dozens of ideas above and come up with some creative approaches to use these in your classroom!

 

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded EmergingEdTech.com. He frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, regularly running Flipped Class Workshops online. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Walsh became the Community Administrator for the Flipped Learning Network in June of 2016. In his "spare time" he also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by kwalshmusic.com and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Walsh October 26, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Thanks for sharing Jay!

Jay Ashcroft October 26, 2015 at 3:42 am

Great article!

I’ve just put the finishing touches on my own. It takes the classroom teacher through the basics (QR readers) right through to the more advanced uses (Aurasma). You can check it out here

http://learnmaker.co.uk/blog/qr-codes-in-the-classroom

Swapnil Jain May 5, 2015 at 2:29 am

Hi Kelly, Awesome article. I really like the one where you create a QR Code Dice. The more I think, the more I can figure out the ways of using it in classrooms.

Instead of using static QR Code for the dice, if Dynamic QR Codes are used, it opens an endless possibility of changing the content anytime. So the same Dice can be used for a Math activity or a Science activity or in terms of kind of activity, an activity of identifying pictures or a synonyms activity for english. This is amazing!

James April 24, 2015 at 2:53 am

I am trying to devise a way to use QR codes to improve student participation in class, while also allowing me to have a better way to keep track of who has participated. I have the idea of making “credit cards”, which will simply be a card that contains the student’s name embedded in a QR code (okay, I will also decorate the card a bit so it looks a bit more legitimate). The idea is that when a student contributes to a discussion then I will scan their “credit card” with my phone. At this point I would like to be able to setup a “bank” that keeps track of who can been scanned and how many times. After class I would like to be able to access that data in tabulated form so that I can add it to a running total of participation credits. Do you have any suggestions on how I can construct said “bank”? Please let me know if anything above was unclear.

Lawonia March 12, 2015 at 9:26 am

great site!

Antonio Cañas January 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Another application: call the roll in class using QR codes and SWADroid https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=es.ugr.swad.swadroid&hl=en

Daniel Sullivan December 19, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Inside the top ten of the favorite content pieces, thanks!

Emerald December 17, 2014 at 9:38 am

Christie, QR codes can be linked to whatever you want, videos, photos, articles, websites, anything. If you have a specific project in mind and don’t know how to carry it out, I suggest you contact the QR code generator companies and see what they can do for you, or if they have another idea that could help you. I’ve used QR codes many times for projects, now, and the generator company that worked the best for me was http://uqr.me/
I hope it can be of use for you too!

Kelly Walsh December 8, 2014 at 8:15 am

Thanks John – very interesting!

Sorry Christie – the QR codes need to access some sort of link. It is possible that the link could be internal to your network though. You may want to explore approaches with your tech support folks (or just set up a free page on something like Weebly or Wikispaces, etc.).

Johnnme December 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Just want to highlight that you could also use “visual” QR codes to add some life to the boring B&W QR codes. On top of my head, I could think of 2 QR generators , http://www.ounchtag.com and http://www.visualead.com. Do check them out, I am sure with some creative applications, the kids would surely love it. :)

Christie Wyman December 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I am wondering what tool I could use to generate QR codes for sight words. I’d love for kids to scan a code and have a sight word pop up for them to read and write for “Write the Room.” I know how to generate a code. It’s just what the URL would be that I’m not sure about, as we won’t really be going to an actual website.

Thanks for any help anyone can provide!

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