Week 4: QR Codes

You've seen them in magazines, you've seen them on poster advertisements, you've even seen them on product packaging. QR codes are everywhere! QR is short for Quick Response. QR codes weird-looking barcode-like images that can store LOTS of information.

Teachers can create them to provide quick access to text, audio, websites, documents, YouTube videos, and more. Students can use a free QR reader on their phone or mobile device to access this stored information. If you don't have devices in your classroom, be sure to keep reading for a great way to use QR codes in your classroom with your teacher laptop!

The following TED Talk (by 1st & 2nd grade teacher, Karen Mensing) is a great place to start to learn a little more about QR codes and get some ideas going about how you can use them in your classroom.

Creating QR Codes

With most QR creators, like QRStuff.com, you can use a QR code to link to a website URL, YouTube video, map, Social Media page (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), contact info (email address, phone number) or even plain text. My go-to QR creator is QRStuff.

  1. Go to www.qrstuff.com
  2. Select the Data Type (what you're linking to with your QR code)
  3. Add content (the full URL if you're linking to a website, an email address, or your text for a plain text link)
  4. Pick a color (Please, choose a DARK color. I stick with black most of the time!)
  5. Download your QR code. Easy Peasy!

Like most web resources, there's a Paid for subscription available with QRStuff, but I stick with the free codes. Seriously.

QR Readers

Now that you have the codes, your students have to have a way to read the QR codes. My hands-down favorite QR reader app is i-Nigma (App Store | Google Play). It's free and it reads codes lightning-fast!

I considered throwing together some screenshots, but it's just so simple that you won't need them. Open the app, aim it toward the QR code, and BINGO ... it works!

No Mobile Devices? No Problem!

As mentioned, students will need a QR READER to read a QR Code. Not all students will have access to a mobile device, and that's okay. In the past, I've experimented with a few web-based readers, but haven't been that impressed. That was mostly because our teachers only had desktop computers and didn't have webcams. However, this year our teachers have laptops (YAY) with built-in webcams (DOUBLE-YAY!)

The QR Code Scanner at webqr.com isn't necessarily fancy or shmancy, but it does the trick!  

  1. Go to webqr.com
  2. Click Scan
  3. If prompted, click ALLOW (look for a pop up or message at the top of your screen) to allow the website to use your camera.
  4. Hold the QR code in front of the webcam
  5. The site, text, etc. will appear on the page. Easy.

Dynamic QR Codes

Dynamic QR Codes are nifty little fellas. The QR code itself stays the same, but you can go into the creating/managing tools and change the link or content the students will see. You could create one Dynamic code that will link to your classroom online newsletter (like TACKK or SMORE). Every time you create a new newsletter, you can change the destination of the Dynamic QR code to go to the latest news.

*Many sites require a paid subscription to create Dynamic QR codes, but Kaywa and uQR.me will allow you to create them with the FREE account. You will need to sign in to your account in order to change the link for your code.

Classroom Applications

Check out these ideas (and links to OTHER ideas!) for using QR Codes with students!

Honorable Mention QR Creators & Readers

Although I do have my FAVORITES, there are lots of other great sites and extensions that allow you create quickly create and/or read QR codes. Check them out and figure out what your favorite is ...

  • Kaywa - super simple, unlimited free static QR codes; allows up to 5 dynamic QR codes with the free plan
  • uQR.me - free account allows 1 dynamic QR code
  • QR Treasure Hunt Generator - let this site do the work for you! Input your questions and answers, and this site will create a QR code for each question. Place them around the room or school and INSTANT TREASURE HUNT! (No Internet connected required, so this could be done on the playground or away from the wifi!)
  • GoQR.me - very simple way to create static QR codes
  • QR Code Reader by Scan - App store | Google Play

What do you think?

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