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My colleague Kim Lightle forwarded me an article about Quick Response (QR) codes. This was the first I'd heard about QRs. Thank you, Kim!

As often happens with these kinds of articles, I followed my interests and found some fascinating and entrepreneurial ways that QR codes are currently being used. For example...

  • Japan uses QR codes to provide information on food items (where something was grown, who harvested, what/if any pesticides were used, source of seed). Having just been at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) Conference this weekend, I was fascinated by this application of QR codes. Maybe that kind of information would shake up our lazy consumer behaviors. After all, there would have to be a LOT of QR codes on the average, American-produced, packaged "food" item!
  • Realtors can add QR codes that allow an interested party to find out more information about a house right from the "For Sale" sign.
  • Dayton, OH ran a "ScanVenger Hunt" to introduce participants to businesses and vendors in the city.

Check out the article and follow your own interest nose.

But...within the context of MSP2 and education, I wonder: "So, what is the implication for education with QR codes? What are the possibilities? Opportunities?" AND "Is anyone using QR codes in a school setting or specifically for educational purposes?"

Here are some off the top ideas/thoughts of mine:

  • QRs are embedded in books or print resources and go to digital resources that supplement the text (examples, videos, short lectures that elaborate the material, check-for-understanding activities)
  • Print maps are embedded with QR's that go to digital information about the location
  • Report cards include QR's that link to student's electronic portfolio
  • Course on ethics, intrusion, and the ubiquity of digital data

Or...is this another reminder that learning is/does not have to be confined to the traditional classroom of 20-30 students sitting at tables or desks, inside a room, and meet 5 times/week for 50 minutes?

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Tags: QR, classroom, digital, tools


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Comment by Kim Lightle on April 19, 2011 at 3:51pm

Here is a post from Free Technology for Teachers from April 16, 2011 - QR Codes in the Classroom
Comment by Mary Henton on April 19, 2011 at 2:39pm
At the 2011 National Service Learning Conference in Atlanta, a student group embedded a QR code on their exhibit that went out to the group's web site.
Comment by Mary Henton on March 23, 2011 at 8:54am

Steven Anderson wrote a blogpost about QR codes with some thoughts on application for the classroom, "QR Huh?" 

I agree with you, Ron, we'll be seeing QR codes more and more. I'd bet that within a year, they will become prevalent and close to "norm." Wouldn't it be wonderful if they became the norm in education that quickly (provided there are sound reasons to use them for teaching and learning)?


Comment by Mary Henton on February 24, 2011 at 11:27am

Thanks for sharing, Ron. I love the ideas you've listed. Wonder who, out there, is doing any of these things right now?

Agree that even though a minority of your students have the capacity currently to take advantage of QR codes, they (QR codes) or some adaptation will be the norm very soon. Wouldn't it be nice if education practice was ahead of the curve??

Comment by Ron on February 23, 2011 at 9:24pm

I recently read an educational blog about QR codes in the classroom (will try to find the link) along with a link to a QR Code generator (http://keremerkan.net/qr-code-and-2d-code-generator/). Here are a few of the suggestions (and some of my own):

  • Embedding contact info for students & parents (phone, email, FB, Twitter, etc.)
  • Homework assignments (added to student's digital calendar)
  • Links to online material in support of classroom content
  • Yearbook - linking to additional images/video from the school year
  • Advertising school events (online & in hallways)
  • Highlighting historical school information around campus
  • Math Trail (my favorite) - reducing paper usage by embedding instructions/clues from checkpoint to checkpoint, integrating discounts at local businesses, highlighting local customs/laws, etc.
  • E-Cards (if you have the time) to send special messages to students/coding comments to specific students

There are many other great uses for QR codes in the classroom, but I think it is still such a new concept that it will take time to have any kind of impact.  When I polled my students, approximately 80% had a cell phone, 40% had a smartphone, and only 20% had the capacity to download the needed app to read the codes.  That doesn't mean that I won't keep it in front of students...after all, our local newspaper prints a QR code (for iPhones only) daily that links local businesses (promotions) to it's readers.  It leads me to think that in another year or two QR codes will be the norm.



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