Thursday, September 3, 2015

QR Codes: Implications in the Classroom

I hadn't really thought about QR code use in educational settings until my recent exposure and personal experience with a new app. EDU +, released by Casio to support their Classwiz scientific calculator. It got me interested in how QR codes are being utilized in classroom settings.

In my research I have found some interesting suggestions for using QR codes in education. Steven.Anderson has some great postings and links about QR coding ,which led me to several articles and resources. One in particular, Tom Barrett's slide show on "40 Interesting Ways to use QR Codes in the Classroom" gave me insight into the possibilities of QR codes for teaching and learning. I particularly liked idea #7 of adding QR codes to word documents for students to check their answers. He has 40, so it's worth a look!

Basically, QR codes are information - up to 4000 characters. QR codes can be used to link students to more information (reviews, pictures, graphs). Embedding QR codes into web pages, documents, and other resources allows students to access additional facts about what they are seeing/reading.  For example, placing QR codes on books in the library can allow students to link to reviews of books. There are multiple uses simply by scanning a QR code. I think of it as a short cut to more information, allowing students to quickly expand on their learning.

I can give an example of this 'more information'  from my brief, personal experience last week in Japan at the Global Teachers Meeting at Casio R&D working with the Classwiz scientific calculator. This calculator has the ability to create a QR code directly within the calculator function (example, a QR code of a table of values). Using the EDU+ app from either an iPhone or iPad, the QR code is scanned directly from the calculator and creates the link, which can then be embedded on webpages, documents, emails and other places for students to access. Clicking this link brings up a graph of the data, allowing students to see and change graphical display of their data. (Here is an example of the QR code link I created while I was hands-on learning with the calculator and my iPhone).

http://wes.casio.com/class/JZ5W-OFs5-ZMNd-riqr
I realize this begs the question, why not just use a graphing calculator? I think accessibility to graphing calculators is one reason - scientific calculators are more prevalent in elementary and middle grades, even lower grades in high school.  I think another reason  is diversity - a QR code can be used in many places so students can visually see data graphically, whether they have the calculator or not, The teacher can use QR codes to show things on tests, websites, emails, allowing access to information/pictures that  may be limited normally. Lots of possibilities.

QR Codes on books
My example is just one specific use of QR codes, in a math setting. There are many examples of using QR codes for different subjects and purposes,  such as enhancing class projects or communicating with parents. If you are interested in exploring QR codes further, here are some suggested links:
LiveBinder/Steve.Anderson , 12 Ideas for Teaching with QR Codes, QR Codes in the Classroom (this one by Kathy Schrock is great - lists QR readers, and has tons of links), 50 QR Codes for the Classroom,

For me, what I have gleaned from my hands-on experience and research on QR codes, is you do not have to be limited by your space or devices. QR codes provide an ability to post information in multiple ways and places, allowing additional information to reach students in a variety of ways. Obviously, there is the limitation of needing a device that can read QR codes, but with the availability and prevalence of smartphones and apps, I think QR codes might show up much more frequently in educational settings.

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