I love QR codes. I realize that can be an unpopular opinion; there are many people out there who think they are overused, or exclude people who don’t have smartphones and other devices to read QR codes, or just don’t really serve a purpose. As a former teacher, though, I can vouch for the fact that my students LOVED activities involving QR codes, and for that reason, I will continue to believe they are a valuable educational tool.
When I was teaching, I created several QR code scavenger hunts in my classroom to allow students to practice new skills or discover new information. This worked well for several reasons. Our school library had a class set of iPod touch devices that we could check out, so each student (or pair of students) had a device to use. Activities like this got students up out of their seats and moving around, which is important when you’re teaching a bunch of 10-year-olds who really can’t sit still for extended periods of time. Students were becoming more skilled in using a new technology as they completed these activities. They were also able to view information in a variety of different formats (websites, videos, etc) while completing these activities.
QR codes aren’t just good for classroom activities, however; they definitely have a place in the library as well. The librarian at the school I worked at helped several upper elementary school students create audio reviews of books they had read; they then made QR codes linking to the reviews, and placed the QR codes on the books, so that students thinking about checking out those books could hear another student’s opinion about the book. Other librarians have placed QR codes on books linking to supplemental information on the same topic, so that students who are interested in the topic could not only read the book, but also have another place to find information as well.
It would certainly be difficult to incorporate QR codes into an educational setting if the school didn’t have the resources to provide students with devices to read the codes, or didn’t allow students to use their own devices during school hours. I think schools should make an effort to incorporate QR codes, though, because they can be used in a wide variety of ways, they can motivate students, and they are a valuable part of an educator’s toolkit.
Just for fun, here is a QR code I made, which links to this blog:
I really like the idea of using a QR code on business cards instead of a blog url, so I might do this the next time I order business cards!