QR Codes In Education?

Well I’ve just arrived home from an excellent holiday to Surfers Paradise Australia were I certainly let my hair down after an extremely busy first year of teaching in 2008. I think it was a really positive thing to have two weeks were I honestly forgot I was a teacher, it dawned on me as the plane landed back in Melbourne that I had some serious work to do to get prepared for the 2009 school year. Anyway while I was up in the super busy place of Surfer’s Paradise with its incredible amount of advertising, I kept running into QR (Quick Response) codes.

So whats a QR code? Basically it works much like a bar code in that it can be scanned and linked to a data set. Unlike bar codes which only contain information from left to right a QR code can contain information from left to right or up and down. As a result QR codes can pack much more information into a smaller space. Now obviously we don’t walk around with mobile scanners to read these codes….or do we…?

Now the truly exciting part is that we do have mobile scanners in our pockets in the form of our mobile phones. Most phones today include a digital camera as standard which is all you require to make your phone read and access the information contained within a QR code. The second requirement is a free program that utilises your phones mobile camera to read the codes. These programs are starting to come as standard on most phones but can be easily download here.

Basically this is how it works

1 – Run the program

2 – It will enable the phones camera 

3 – You then position the camera above the QR code you want to scan and make sure the entire code fits within the screen (i.e. don’t be too close or too far away)

4 – The code will be read and will redirect you to the appropriate URL or information contained within the QR code

So how do I see this being used in a classroom? Well with a site like http://qrcode.kaywa.com/  or Winksite you can generate your own QR codes in a matter of seconds. The site allows you to generate a code that can contain a URL, Text, Phone Numbers and RSS feed or an SMS and then allows you to save it as a JPEG image or embed it on a website. My mind is racing with ideas for such a  groovy easy to use application of technology that most of our students already have their hands on.

So here are a few ideas about how I might use the power of QR codes in my classes:

– Create a treasure hunt in the city of the bush that have QR codes stuck onto them that link students with questions or information that is important to that place they have actually arrived at. Below is an example of a QR code I created for my hometown, Scan it to see how it works. Have you been to my hometown?


– Create a Multiple Choice test that has QR codes in the place of answers with the students required to scan their answers for automatic correction of test results. http://www.semapedia.com/ generates your codes into a PDF document.

– Have the students create their own QR codes or submit an assignment as a QR code

– Include QR codes on printed worksheets to allow students to link to further reading online

For a really comprehensive guide on QR codes in a classroom have a read below, really exciting stuff

Getting Started with QR Codes – Andy Ramsden

Overall I think this is fantastic and a great way to link the physical world with the online world in a truly meaningful way. So what do you think? How else might this be used?

18 thoughts on “QR Codes In Education?”

  1. Interesting application of the technology here – I must say that’s what I enjoy about your posts – not just the tools, but how they might be used. I’ll definitely need to think about this more. Out os interest, how were they being used at Surfers?

  2. Given that you are an PE teacher, the first thought I had was hey he should use these QR’s for an orienteering activity. When the students scan the code it gives them the directions for the next point. But that is a fairly similar idea to your tresure hunt idea.

    My phone does not have a camera, and it’s not got internet capabilities either so I can’t unravel your QR which means I can’t win your chocolates. 🙁 but I’m surprised to hear a PE teacher uses chocolate to motivate his audience. I thought that was something you guys just did not do!

  3. I agree that the implications for this in education are amazing – it could totally revamp the humble school excurision 🙂 There was an article about QR codes in the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/qr-codes-are-coming/2008/06/13/1213321620646.html that inspired me! Mind you I have been to busy to try it out …. well may be next year.

    And yes I stayed in your hometown only a couple of weeks ago – the kidstown playground was a huge hit with my two boys 🙂

  4. I just came across your amazing blog from a column I posted at mediashift.org.

    I’m a retired printer and a full time blogger in the States.

    The short story is that I’m on a bit of tear to replace high school textbooks in the States with print on demand paper documents with QR codes. I still have to go through your blog to see if what I’m looking for has emerged in Australia. My thought is thought is that a non-textbook could be tfilled with images that could replicate in the classrom what you’ve done in the outside world.

    What may not be well known in the world of teachers is that the print technology exists to relatively easily make this and many other kinds of teaching tools available.

    At any rate, thank you for doing this blog.

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