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!
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:
- Skills Posts for PE: Create Skills Posters
- Create QR Code Dice! Roll The Dice on QR Codes
- Rhyming Words: Rhyming Words QR Code Fun
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!