I first came across QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) a few months ago and since then, I have seen the use of them grow and grow, and not just in education. The other day I was walking out of a Manchester Metrolink station and saw an advert for MI5 with a code to scan.
What is a QR Code then? It is, in essence, a type of bar code, which is quite easy to make using a QR code generator such as the one on QRstuff.com. The code is then scanned, using a scanner such as i-nigma, which I have on my iPhone and is also available for Android and BlackBerry (for free). There are, of course, other very good QR code readers available. A variety of information can be hidden in the code, such as website links and text.
So, how can this be used effectively in education? I have read many useful blog posts on the different ways that teachers are coming up with using these codes, many of which you will find in @tombarrett‘s Interesting Ways series.
In September, my department and I will use QR codes to try to inspire our Year 7 Spanish pupils to become confident learners of a language. The lesson plan involves encouraging pupils to come up with ways of being a confident learner in languages and then encouraging the pupils to use these key skills in the lesson. For me, a confident language learner is one who is willing to try, willing to take risks, and willing to speak in the target language. The lesson incorporates QR codes as pupils are going to have to find out 6 different Spanish words for locations around the school. These locations will have a QR code stuck on the door to the entrance. When pupils find the codes they will scan them and get both the English and the Spanish word appear on their screens. QR codes will further be used to give pupils useful revision websites (great for early finishers!) and also to direct them to an online dictionary. I’ll let you know in a few weeks if it works!