I guess it sounds like a bizarre title… probably even more bizarre if you haven’t heard of QR codes. Even if you don’t know what they are you have probably seen the little boxes in the newspapers and magazines which invite you to see extra bits of information. These are QR (quick response) codes. They work in the same way as bar codes, by using a QR reader to access more information on a particular topic.
To access the code information you need to have a phone or other mobile which can take photos. You have to load a QR code reader application onto your phone, (so it does have to be a bit of a smart phone… mind you my phone is only a bit smart and it works a treat. I use Lynkee however I did have to test out a couple before I found one that worked well for my phone. There are heaps of Android phone or tablet and iPhone/iPod touch/iPad2 QR code reader apps, most of which are free. I have used QR Droid Private on the Acer and Lenovo tablet, and found it reliable and simple to use.
Why use the QR code? Why not just put the information out there in the first place? Many reasons – to engage the learner/audience – a hook with a need to investigate, to put a lot of information into a little space, multimedia content, web address…all without having to type anything into your phone/device… which can be a drag with some longer web addresses in particular.
The information contained in a QR code can be wide and varied – a simple web address as in the newspaper examples above, a v-card (virtual business card, with contact info which can be imported directly into the person’s phone/device contacts, textual information – words, paragraphs, stories, an entire book, etc… email details, images, an event (vCalendar), iTunes link, YouTube link, Googlemaps link and much more. How you can use it in the classroom will only be limited by your imagination.
A quick internet search will produce a ton of QR code generators. I have used
QR Stuff and snap.vu and Kaywa which are simple and straightforward. You simply put in your text, web address, phone number, etc and it is converted into a QR code. You can even change the colour your code is generated into.
I used the QR codes on handouts at our recent VCE Expo night, where the QR code linked to the VCAA website information on my subjects – VCE Design and Technology and VETApplied Fashion. It meant parents and students could “read” the code with their reader, and go directly to the information.
So on to the second part of the title of this post: after discussions about moving from campus to campus and people not feeling confident about finding their way around, I thought it could be fun to post some QR codes around the place with information about who, what where etc. I will be adding challenges as we go, so, started exploring and have some fun, maybe learn a bit about the different campuses. So start with decoding the QR code posted above, and join in the fun.
Some links to other examples of how QR codes are being used follow… how would you use QR codes?