QR Codes in Schools

What is this thing?What are QR codes? It’s a QR (Quick Response) code.  This image actually links to a page that explains what QR codes are.  You can also print this out and scan it (take a picture) using a smartphone and it becomes a link to a website or some embedded text.  There are several things you can embed into a QR code like a URL, telephone number, SMS message, email address or email message just to name a few. QR technology is most effectively used in situations where you want to add a dynamic component to communication that would otherwise be non-interactive. QRstuff let’s you create your own QR codes.  Give it a try.

In a great article by Cheri Dobbs, in a recent issue of LMC,  she describe several ways that she uses QR codes in her library and I’m going to elaborate on some of those ideas. I can imagine a variety of scavenger hunt type activities that can be done both in the library/classroom and in the a larger school grounds area. Directions for the next goal can be included within a QR code on a little sticker or maybe even a large poster. Taking this even further, I can imagine a situation where students engage in a geo-caching activity where is QR codes contains the a set of coordinates or clues to find the next objective.QR codes are natural fit for any kind of school promotional activities like a newsletter or postcards that go home to parents. Interesting things to include may be lists of new items that are currently available for students, sports schedules or current events. Teachers can include them on a printout for more information for homework assignments. Remember that many different types of information can be going to the code including links to website but also paragraphs of text.

Another interesting idea might be to create an audio tour. At the high school I worked previously, Honors art students were given the opportunity to exhibit works in certain hallways of the school. QR codes could have been used near each piece to add an audio tour or artist statement to the exhibit. You could apply this concept to a variety of activities happening around the school

This technology is not only useful for promotional activities, it can be used in the classroom as well.  The interesting power here opens up when students are able to use their own devices interact with school activities. Students need little or no training on their own devices, which allow them to quickly access to the Internet.

Many of these ideas are from an article by Cheri Dobbs in the Library Media Collection (Volume 30 #1) –  and by QR Codes in the Classroom By Bridget McCrea