Tuesday, November 15, 2011

QR codes

Innovation is exciting.  I love when creativity becomes something tangible. Innovation is defined as the introduction of something new. When I think of innovators, I immediately think of Steve Jobs and the many new devices and ways of thinking he introduced to us.  Classroom teachers who innovate on a daily basis also inspire me.  Technology is innovation and it seems that every time we turn around there’s a new device, a new way to communicate and share, a new way to create and a new way to be new! A fairly recent technology has been fascinating me for the last few months and I thought it would be great fun to share it with you in this week’s “tuesdays.” You’ve seen them popping up all over and they have surely peaked curiosity. Now that I know what they are and what they can do, I want to encourage teachers to think about their classroom capabilities.

A creative website

QR codes are a two-dimensional barcode designed originally the DENSO WAVE company in 1994, but it wasn’t until the Japanese began experimenting with communicating with QR codes did they reach their tipping point. Basically, QR codes are barcodes on steroids!  They are popping up on billboards, magazines, websites, TV and more.  They are typically used in business, but they are incredible possibilities for the classroom.  For a super graphic and simple explanation of QR codes, check out the Common Craft video explanation. To get an idea how a teacher in New Zealand is using QR codes with their student check out this classroom video and notice that SMART phones aren’t even necessary.The little girl does an outstanding job demonstrating QR codes!  I had a small PLC session about QR codes yesterday and knew that I had to share this info. A pdf. of some great links and images is available on my website. Feel free to share and please let me know if you are using QR codes in the classroom.

An image to share

There’s a tasty treat waiting for you!

A proverb
“An innovation is one of those things that society looks at and says, if we make this part of the way we live and work, it will change the way we live and work.”

Dean Kamen

An encouragement

I would really like to encourage you to think about classroom use of QR codes.  To date, teachers have told me that they use them for Open House and post the code in their classroom window for parents to scan and have all the information about the upcoming year right on their phone.  Others have created QR codes for art shows that display the artist’s name and background information. Some are embedded the codes in worksheets with a message or even the teacher’s contact information. How do you think they can be used? I am not saying that SMARTphones need to be in the classroom for this experiment, but instead QR codes could be used as follow-up to classroom instruction from home.  Oh, the possibilities!

How do you do that?

How do you get started with QR codes? First, download a SMART phone app.  I recommend RedLaser or QRafter. Next, practice scanning QR codes and then try to make your own. You have the option of linking your QR codes to a website, a video, a text , Google Map, email address, your contact information and even social networking websites.  You can create QR codes from the app or use an online generator.  There are tons of them! (Scan the image above for four online generators). One of the best pieces of advice I received when I went to my first presentation on QR codes was to make sure you put a label or hint on each code because over time, you will forget which is which and after the novelty wears off, a label with help the scanner. Most of all, experiment ideas for classroom use and share, share, share.  I love when FREE innovations are also so simple.

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

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