Quick response codes, more often known as QR codes, are becoming a common way of bridging the gap between printed material and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. By scanning the code, a user will be redirected to the appropriate place online or a set task will be undertaken by the device such as adding someone to a contact list or sending an email. Uses for QR codes in the English language classroom include:
- direct links to websites for mobile learning. Students can use their cell phone or tablet to access supplementary material, dictionaries, videos, audio recordings, etc.
- sending emails or text messages to the instructor.
- scavenger hunts.
The main purpose for using QR codes is to make the material easier to access. Students are more likely to scan a QR code than to attempt to type in a long URL, especially if there are language issues such as with lower levels. Give handouts that have QR codes that lead them to videos or pictures to enhance the learning experience. Have students create a visual dictionary that uses QR codes to see what a word means. Extend learning by combining news articles with Ted videos and Google Maps. Imagine reading about the boy who built a windmill and then scan a code to see his Ted talk or see his village on Google Earth or through a Flickr album. This could all be done online, but in a classroom that has limited access to computers, putting QR codes on the reading handout so students could use their iPod Touch or Blackberry to watch the video extends the learning and builds interest in the subject.
I hope this gives you a few ideas on how to take advantage of such a simple technology. In most situations, it is as simple as creating the code, downloading it to your computer, and then inserting it into a Word document. If you have ever inserted an image into a document before, you can certainly do this. Give it try, you might actually find this is a simple way of integrating technology into the learning process without having to make a big leap in learning it yourself. Let me know how it works out for you.
- TagMyDoc : Upload a PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OpenDocument, or image (max 5MB) and the site automatically puts a QR code in the bottom right corner of the first page of the file [Note: it will cover over whatever is in the corner, so prepare your documents accordingly]. You can then download and print or share the document electronically. If someone scans the code, he or she is taken to the online, cloud hosted version of the document which then can view or download online. The unregistered version will only host the document for 14 days
- QR code business cards : Type in your information, choose an online image, and the site will create online business cards that you can download as a PDF file to print on Avery business card paper. People who scan the card will have your information downloaded automatically to their contacts list.
- QRickit QR Codes : Create QR codes that will perform up to 18 different tasks including add a contact, sending an email or SMS message, go to a Google map location, or even send a Tweet! You have the option of choosing the code and background colours and including an image in the code. Download the image as a JPEG or PNG file.
- ZXing Decoder Online : Decode QR codes online without a dedicated app. The QR code can be uploaded or found online.
- Kl1p : Create or upload documents or images to your Kl1p (folder of items) and share via a custom QR code. Here is a QR code to a sample document created on Kl1p of this article:
Feel free to add links or ideas in the comment field below or send me a tweet @nathanghall. I always enjoy hearing from others. It helps me know if I am providing a valued service. My main purpose for doing this is to help others integrate technology tools into the classroom. If you have any thoughts or ideas that can help me help others, let me know. I don’t make a cent doing this and I plan on doing that as long as I can, but only if it is needed. Thanks!