Archive for January, 2014

QR Codes in the Classroom

Posted on: January 2nd, 2014 by Chris Loat

QR codes are becoming more prevalent in our society and can be used in a classroom in a variety of ways. They are popping up in our schools, and teachers are finding many different ways to use them.

Example of a QR Code

QR codes are those square shaped codes that contain different types of information and are used to direct people to some type of digital information. QR stands for quick response, referring to the quickness of accessing information once the code is scanned. QR codes, like the one to the right, are scanned using an app on a mobile device. I use the app Qrafter to scan QR codes, and there are many other that can be found in the app store. After scanning the code, your device will display some type of information, be it a url (website link), a text message, a photo, an email address, a voice message, or any type of information that could be made digitally.

There are a variety of ways to create QR Codes. Various websites offer free service to create them, including qrstuff, goqr, and qr code generator. I have downloaded a Safari extension that allows me to quickly make a qr code while browsing the web in Safari. Here is a quick video tutorial of how to install Safari’s qr code extension. There are also many free apps that can be used on your mobile device that also allow you to create qr codes, including qr code maker, qr code creator, fancyqr,  or qr scanner. is a website that allows the user to type in up to 100 characters and the site will create a voice message and corresponding qr code. Lastly, some of these sites will ask if you want to make a static or dynamic QR code. Static codes are one link for one code, whereas dynamic codes allow you to change the linked information after creating/printing the QR code. Dynamic codes are good for teachers who want to use the same code for a long period of time but have different information from day to day or week to week.

So how are teachers using these codes in their classrooms?
1) One easy use is to create a qr code for your class blog / website and paste it into the students’ agenda or home/school communication book. This gives both students and parents quick access to your class blog / website and prevents the ‘I didn’t know the url’ excuse.

2) Christy Rollo and Joanna Fournier at Cook Elementary here in Richmond used QR codes to record student reflections about their art. Students’ art was put up in the hallway and their reflection was posted as a qr code beside their art work. While parents were waiting in the hallway, they could check out the art and scan the qr code to listen to their child’s reflection about the art they did.

3) Kevin Vines at Dixon Elementary created a scavenger hunt using QR codes. During a family teams activity in September, he posted QR codes around the school. Each family team had an iPad and they scanned each code to lead them to the next one. The students worked together and got to know the different parts of the school, which was a beneficial for the younger students and new students at the beginning of the school year.

4) During a research project, students can be directed to specific websites via QR codes posted around the classroom. Although there is value in having students find and assess websites for reliability and validity, sometimes it is worthwhile to point them to certain sites and using a QR code makes this easier.

5) Teachers can post QR codes on their website to provide additional support for lessons taught in class that day. These can be videos of the teacher doing the lesson or links to other sites (e.g. Khan Academy) that provide a different explanation of a concept.

6) Schools can create a virtual tour of the school by posting QR codes in different areas of the school. In the library, a QR code posted there could show a video of kids using the library’s various resources. At the front entrance, a QR code could provide information about the school’s vision, philosophy, etc…

7) If part of a student project is performance based (e.g. a demonstration of a Science concept), a video of this can be linked to a QR code that is attached to the written/hardcopy part of the project.

8) Give students a virtual tour of another city/country by linking a QR code to a youtube video.

9) Send home a QR code that is linked to a class newsletter. This saves clicks on the photocopier as you can print off 30 qr codes on 2 pages.

10) Link a QR code to some type of exit slip and have students give feedback before leaving the classroom.

11) Students can create a podcast of themselves reading their written work (personal write, poem, story) and the qr code linking this podcast can be attached to their written piece (ideally posted on a bulletin board in the hallway).

There are many other ways of using QR codes in the classroom. Sites such as Schrockguide or Educator’s Technology have loads of information on using QR codes.