A QR code dilemma ... how do YOU use them?

A QR code dilemma ... how do YOU use them?

How do you use QR codes in your classroom? I have only recently heard about QR codes and using them has been even more recent. I am now faced with a dilemma in relation to my use of this tool.

Before I become vulnerable and share some of my practice…. some of you might be asking what is a QR code?  Well, I am glad you asked! 🙂 Check out Selena Woodward’s blog post on them here (also with some great videos about how other teachers are using them!) To briefly explain, they are simply a bar code which teachers are using to link to Youtube clips, websites or graphics. These bar codes can be placed on worksheets or posters and students scan them and it sends the students to some extra content, video or website to help, inspire, motivate. The best things about QR codes, is they are FREE to create. I personally use: http://www.qrstuff.com/ because I like the fact that its easy to use and understand!

Here is an example of a QR code – go ahead, scan it using a reader such as I-nigma and have a look at where it takes you – it will set the scene and the mood for my upcoming dilemma! 🙂 hehe

Okay… so now that you kind-of-know what a QR code is …. here is how I’ve been using them:

I don’t know about you but I am a little tired of some of my pre-service teachers arriving to class without the require texts that are foundational to the lesson which is about to unfold! One would think that bringing the correct books and materials to class would be an expectation – although it IS expected and students MUST do the readings- some don’t and even more don’t even bring the book with them (ggrrrrr)!

After giving constant reminders to bring the books and do the readings (to no avail) I discovered the irony that many students “couldn’t carry a textbook in their bags” or “forgot to bring it” or…. in reality choose not to bring it AND also choose not to read the required readings BUT they could easily bring their laptop, Ipad and Iphone without a second thought and read Facebook and Twitter updates without a worry haha! (in your mind insert dramatic music here)

It seems this is very “normal” for the generation coming through the university system – so…. I thought to myself – “How can I use these devices to connect the content to my students”. Helooo… QR codes!

Instead of asking students to turn to page… whatever… to look at a diagram and discuss it in groups – recently, I have taken a picture of a small text except, a diagram or maths problem, posted it to Twitter (to spark discussion among my PLN) and then created a QR code to use with students. In class, I ask them to scan the QR code and bingo – they have the except of text, diagram or maths problem on their smart phone, Ipad or laptop! This is almost quicker than getting the textbook out. Students can then engage further with the reading and have a copy of it for future reference on their portable devices! Not only are students enjoying reading the content electronically, but they think that scanning the info into their smart devices and actually being allowed to use this technology in class is “awesome” 🙂

To be honest, I began trying QR codes out of curiosity but lately I have found that they may have helped me overcome a road block I was encountering in most of my classes …. or perhaps in reality my use of QR codes is setting up another road block?!!

You see, I’ve seen some good engagement when using QR codes but I am unsure as to the overall message I seem to be sending!   It seems these codes are changing the way my students learn – changing it in a good way???… Maybe??… Or is it encouraging laziness and reinforcing the fact they don’t have to bring the materials?! Hmmm… interesting thought – one which I am still wrestling with!

Also, I wonder if I am breaking copyright by taking pictures of the diagrams etc….. ??? I don’t know… (please tell me if I am)….

So… how do YOU use QR codes in the classroom? Please do tell!