QR: It’s Code for Engaging Students
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You’ve probably seen QR (quick response) codes in ads and on billboards. What you might not
be as familiar with are the educational
applications for these handy scannable bar codes. The potential for this
application is exciting and might be
a “killer app” for getting cell phones
more readily accepted in education.
For those who aren’t familiar with
QR codes, they are 2D matrix barcodes
that you can scan using a variety of
devices, particularly smartphones.
You can encode them with data such
as URLs, text, or vCards (virtual business cards), and they can even act as
prompts to send a text message or
generate a tweet. They’re free of any
proprietary license and can be encoded
with more data than older types of
To use a QR code, you need a device that can read them, such as a cell
phone or iPod with a camera, and QR
reading software. I-nigma is one maker of scanning software that works on
To generate your own QR codes,
you need software. If you already
use Goo.gl or Bit.ly to shorten URLs,
you’ll find that they now both include
a QR code as part of their output.
There are also more full-featured QR
code generators, such as QR Code and
2D Code Generator and Kaywa QR
Code Generator, which allow you to
encode not only a URL but also a text
or a vCard.
There are many great educational
applications for QR codes. Here are
just a few:
• Post codes for homework, extra
help, etc., on the board.
• Use codes to provide easy access to
different types of content at learning
• Differentiate instruction by providing
codes linking to various types of remediation or enrichment (or multiple
styles of resources, such as video, text,
and audio) for homework.
• Implement clicker-type applications,
such as polls, by projecting a screen
with multiple-choice QR codes.
• Provide multimedia content via
print by using codes to link to videos or interactive content on a textbook page or in a handout.
• Post a code on the door with an
embedded text file containing
homework assignments, spelling or
vocabulary lists, or writing prompts.
Students can scan it on the way out
the door so they are less likely to
lose track of the information.
Instead of banning student cell phones in
By Karen Fasimpaur