Wednesday, January 25, 2012

QR Codes and Student Engagement

I recently learned more about QR Codes - what they are and how they can be used in an educational setting.

"A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to traditional UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background." ("

Here is a QR code that I generated off of the internet using (

Go ahead and scan it with your smart phone to access the website that I have embedded within it!
I want to take a moment to share my recent experience with some Intermediate students. There are a group of grade 7 & 8 students who regularly communicate with me about technology and 21st century learning. I had just finished playing around with some of the QR code generators that I found online and was pretty excited to share my learning. Strangely enough, this small group of students did not really understand what QR codes were or what they were used for even though they had QR code readers installed on their smart phones!

After explaining to them what I had just learned, they told their friends and before I knew it I had a bunch of kids standing around me with their smart phones out and ready to scan QR codes! Realizing that I had just engaged a bunch of students that wouldn't normally notice that I am around I decided to take full advantage of the opportunity and connect the learning they just experienced to ways that we could use this technology in a school environment. They were quick to point out that they could include QR codes in their assignments in order to refer to websites quickly in a "cool" way. They were also pretty excited that one day down the road they would be able to use their smart phones in class so that they could scan codes that may be in the texts that they use at school in order to further their learning about a variety of subjects.

There was a lot more that they spoke about and referred to - I just wanted to give you a flavour of their learning and excitement. The short time I spent talking to them about QR code technology and the possibilities it may offer them as learners is probably one of the best lunch duties I have experienced with an age group of students that I don't normally spend my time with.

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