I am completely obsessed with QR codes. For those playing at home, a QR (or Quick Response Code) is a barcode that is scannable on most devices and holds information, in particular linking to online documents and sources. I spent a decent portion of time trying to figure out the best way to create an online ‘to-do list’ of jobs for my older, very techno-savvy brother, just so I could plaster QR codes linking to said ‘to-do lists’ all over the house in an attempt to trick him in to doing jobs for me. I might add that my brother is a sucker for anything remotely out of the ordinary, so I thought I might fool him in to a QR code treasure hunt, that conveniently leads him all the way to the unloaded dishwasher. I’m yet to implement my wickedly devious plan, but somehow I don’t think he will fall for it, he is 24 years old after all. But it really got me to thinking, how can QR codes be used in the educational setting?
Before I take this any further, let me draw your attention to the AITSL Standards for Teachers
This is just five standards, at graduate level, that I observe to be related to ICT use in the classroom and in the professional capacity. I thought to myself, how can I, in a short space of time, demonstrate this? There are hundreds of students graduating as teachers every year, all competing for the same job roles, from my university alone, not to mention the teachers who are already out there looking for work. How does one show to potential employers in a single snapshot, that they are competent in these standards?
I recently created an About.me online profile and I couldn’t help but think how good it would be if I could make a link to this online business card on my resume, and then I took it a step further and started thinking about how good it would be if I could attach links to my online portfolio, to my twitter account, to a digital copy of my resume, and even to this blog.
It occurred to me – my old friend the QR code.
Smart phones are everywhere, and by making my online presence available to employers at the simple scan of a code, I am demonstrating the forward thinking attitude that AITSL are desperately trying to promote within their standards.
What’s that future employer – You want to go to my blog and check out how I have been developing my PLN and staying in touch with education? You want to see my demonstration of the AITSL standards online? You want to gauge the type of person that I am? You want to read a post all about my love for QR codes? Look no further, here is a QR code linking straight to my professional blog, no messy typing required:
What I want to know, is how can I take this further? How can I use this in the classroom? How can I make my love for QR codes a valuable teaching asset that transforms learning and makes tasks engaging for students?
Some examples I have come across for QR use in the classroom include, questions and answers activities, where students can self-assess work by completing a set of tasks and are then given a QR code linked to the answers, a classroom treasure hunt, in which students can follow a set of QR codes directing them to the next learning task, for setting homework tasks, students can scan a code to discover a task to complete at home, to create digital assignments which extend, expand and exemplify physical assignments such as books and posters, to direct students to specific online sites for activities, to provide different tier groups with differentiated tasks, to attach voice recording to physical projects such as pages of a class book, and to use in displays in a class window which provides those outside the classroom with information such as ‘about this class’.
@tombarrett has put together some really great examples of using QR codes in the classroom here.
@edu_thompson also has some great ideas on her wonderful blog here.
And finally a comprehensive list of ideas by Greg O’Connor with further links here.
And of course, don’t forget Pinterest!
The point I am trying to make here, is that using a digital barcode like the QR code opens a number of avenues, particularly for graduate teachers, both inside and outside the school context. Of course, we also must consider the limitations of using these types of codes in the classroom, including access to devices (such as iPads) that can read these codes. Obviously it is vital that one doesn’t rely on a QR code when producing a resume, as not all employers will have the conceptual understanding of how to use these, or the necessary technologies available.
Personally, I am really excited by the potential these types of ICTs have in my own future classroom. For example, I can visualise a parent-teacher evening or open night, in which each student may have a QR code and password attached to their work area, linking to a series of digital work tasks displayed as an e-portfolio. These types of opportunities really emphasise the digital revolution in transformative education, and allow students to share their work instantly with their families and broader community.
And now, for your amusement: