QR Codes in Education

QR Code for Belk Library mobile site

QR Code example

Ever wonder what those funny-looking barcode type things are? Are you starting to see them around? Once you know to look for them, you start seeing them everywhere.

They are QR codes – QR stands for “quick response” and you can scan a QR code with a free app on any camera-enabled device – tablet, phone, etc. Once you’ve scanned the code with your QR code reader app, you will be directed to the website, YouTube video, or text associated with it. Check out how QR codes in Belk Library are being used – as links to videos on how to use different types of equipment in the library or links to catalog and lists.

In her blog, Tammy’s Tech Tips for Teachers, Tammy Worcester has written a few blog posts/tech tips that provide a good introduction to QR codes:

Your first reaction might be to question whether your students would be able to read them – whether or not they would have devices to do so. In fact, you are going to find mobile devices in more and more K-12 classrooms. You will see schools and programs described as 1:1 (one to one) or BYOD (bring your own device), and in those situations, each student has a device (provided by school and/or brought from home). You will also find schools that have iPad or iPod (or other type of tablet or handheld) carts that can be rolled from room to room; devices can be charged in the cart and synced and loaded with appropriate apps. See a blog post with great links about BYOD, Bring Your Own Device Resources and photos of carts from Apple Learning Labs.

So try your hand at creating QR codes or just reading some with your phone or other device, and also try to get past any skepticism you have about using them in your classroom and start to brainstorm about cool ways you could. Here are a few links to websites with great ideas for how to incorporate QR codes into your teaching and learning once you have your own classroom:

What are some ideas you can think of or cool ones you found from the above links? Share your reactions, thoughts, or ideas about QR codes in education.

This entry was posted in Collaboration, Communication, Handhelds-tablets, Instruction. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to QR Codes in Education

  1. Emily D says:

    I like the idea of using QR codes as a homework reminder to students. Because students have busy schedules and a lot of commitments (especially in high school) using these as reminders can be a real benefit to students. This is also a way to connect students’ outside technology to the classroom which is important to building relationships with students and also to allow students to feel more open to technology use in the classroom.

  2. Anna H. says:

    I always see QR codes around, and even have an app for reading them on my phone, but I honestly never really understood much about them. This post was really helpful in understanding them! I also really like the idea of using them in the classroom. I found that the link to “5 Real Ways to Use QR Codes in Education” was really informative as well in providing extra examples (I especially liked the Periodic Table of Videos to help students better understand the elements). I feel like QR codes could also be very helpful in terms of directing students to sites during class — instead of having to copy the link that the teacher writes out and type it into the browser, they can simply scan to get to the site immediately.

  3. Allie W. says:

    This relates a lot to the blog post I’m working on that debates allowing students to bring their own devices to school. I agree with you in saying this would benefit students and serve as a great reminder. I know that I constantly have my iphone with me and being able to use that to tell me my homework would be great! In a world where technology is everywhere, it most definitely makes sense to teach and take advantage of technology in our classrooms.

  4. Hilary S. says:

    I didn’t know a lot about QR Codes, so I really enjoyed learning about how all ages can use them to make their daily lives easier. I think QR codes could come in very handy when I’m sharing digital resources with my elementary school students. I know that if younger students are trying to copy down links when they’re writing down their homework, they could easily miss a letter, number or symbol…and wouldn’t be able to do the homework! QR codes can be a very important tool in the classroom, I’m glad I had an opportunity to learn more about it.

  5. Hannah D. says:

    I really like the idea of using QR codes in the library. I always see them in Belk Library, and I have actually checked them out before. I think it is cool they even have one for how to use the printer, because that can get tricky sometimes! I like how the link to “5 Real Ways to Use QR Codes in Education” explained a way to use it in the library. I think it’s cool they use them for book reviews, and encouraged students to make their own. After reading this blog, I was able to see that QR codes can be beneficial in education, especially in the library!

  6. Meagan W. says:

    This was a great introduction to QR codes, I have never used them before. It would be fun for students to use QR codes to get to homework assignments or even test study guides. It might be hard to use them in the lower elementary school level, but as technology becomes more prominent I wouldn’t be surprised if QR codes start replacing homework websites. QR codes could be posted in the school library so students can view each others projects and presentation while exploring on their own. This is a great way to integrate technology into the classroom!

  7. Sydney B. says:

    I like the idea of having a QR code to the class website. The idea was to put the QR code in the students’ planners. That way, they can just scan the QR code and be at the website easily! QR codes are a great and new way to get students involved.

  8. Rebecca S. says:

    I, personally, do not have a phone capable of scanning QR codes, but I have noticed them popping up all over the place. Even though I see them a lot, I didn’t really know what their purpose was. After reading this post, I realized how helpful they can be. Instead of having a URL or website written out that someone would have to copy down or type into their computer, they can simply scan the QR code and be taken to a website to learn more information about whatever the topic is. Tammy’s Tip # 96 had a few really good ways to use QR codes in the classroom. My personal favorite was the classroom scavenger hunt using QR codes as a way to get the next clue. This is a great way to incorporate technology into a classroom, however it is most likely not accessible by all students. I would not be able to participate in the activities unless I was given some sort of device that is capable of scanning them. Other than that though, it is a great idea!

    • B. Taylor says:

      Great observations Rebecca. Remember though that many classrooms are going to have devices capable of reading QR codes and put them in the hands of (even very young) students. So not owning a device that can read a QR code would not prevent students from participating if the device were owned by the school!

  9. Erin M. says:

    I think using QR codes in the classroom is a very fun and unique idea. I also wrote about using QR codes in education. My first concern when reading about QR codes was that they would not be useful because I didn’t think that the students would have the technological devices needed to create and scan the codes. Things however have changed even since I have been in elementary school ten years ago. It hadn’t occurred to me that my students will have many technological devices at hand that may not have existed ten years ago. Using QR codes will be very beneficial to students and teachers. One way I can think to use them is by having the students write a letter to themselves about their current lives and give advice to their future self. I would then have them record them reading their letters and send them these QR codes when they graduate high school, so they can hear their seven year old voices giving them advice.

  10. Riley K says:

    I find the way of using QR codes in the library as fresh. The new direction of putting QR codes in the library is a great new path. QR codes can be used to get information on a book quick and efficiently. I like the idea of having to go somewhere quickly and scanning a QR code before I leave the library so I can read about the book later. When I come back to the library I can get the book I want and not have to wait around and read about books. Also, I could use this with students by having them make a QR code that describes and talks about a book.

  11. Holly G. says:

    I like the suggestion that QR codes can be used by students to check their answers to homework assignments or to find out about events going on around the school. I think that it’s a good way to get students involved in the school and more involved in their homework assignments. At the same time, though, I don’t know how much I would use QR codes in my class, partially because I don’t know how much access students would have and I don’t want to leave anyone out. Personally, I do not have any items that would read QR codes, nor am I very fond of the idea of spending a significant amount of money to buy a new item that has access to QR codes, especially when the one I have from 7 years ago works just fine. Still, I see the use of it and how it can help in the classroom. A few years from now when I do have access to QR code readers, I will look more deeply into it to see how I can use it in my History classroom.

    • B. Taylor says:

      Holly – see my earlier reply to Rebecca’s comment – whether you have a device or not – whether your students own personal devices or not, point is schools you will be teaching in will!

  12. Maddy R. says:

    QR codes are a really cool idea to implement technology in the classroom. My first thought was creating a bar code with all of my contact information that can be accessible to both my students and their parents in case they need to reach me. If I happen to be teaching in a classroom in which mobile devices and ipads or ipods are available, then I can also use QR codes to have the students get to a website more easily. I could use them to direct them to web pages with different math tools and games. In creating mathcasts, I could use the QR codes to direct them to a web page that will contain instructions, pictures, and videos on how to make their very own mathcast. QR codes are becoming more and more popular, so by starting in the classroom and getting the students to practice using them in the classroom, we are preparing and teaching them for the growing use of them that will be carried out in the real world and beyond the classroom. We can set them up for success in our increasingly growing technological world and future.

  13. Christiana C. says:

    I never really knew what QR codes were until reading this post and checking out the links to other blogs about it. I love the idea of a little code being able to bring you to a website, text, phone number, etc. This is a tool that is going to be very useful in connecting the classroom to the outside world. QR codes from outside the classroom can be used in lessons and incorporated into whatever we’re learning I’m really excited to find out more about QR codes and the different ways I can use them in my classroom.

  14. K Crouther says:

    I didn’t know that QR codes have been around since 1994, but I think that they’re cool because it’s a way to download information on your smart phone and take it to go! I didn’t really know what they were until this class, but I think it’s useful. I could see QR codes taking the place of fliers and paper handouts. This is a way that would make the earth “more green” as well!

  15. Alex H. says:

    I remember when QR codes first started showing up, and for the longest time, I thought they were still a part of the system that Blackberry phones use to share contacts between phones. I just recently learned that it is more than just sharing contacts, but since then, I have tried to use my phone to scan the codes and it never really works for me. The idea is interesting for commercial and advertising uses, but I actually think there are more uses for education. Students are probably going to be using their phones in class anyway, so why not come up with ways to incorporate them into the lessons?

  16. Kaitlin L. says:

    I like the idea about using QR codes in the classroom, but I feel that it is something that you do when you can, and not something you can pull out and use every year. The unfortunate truth is that not all schools will have communal sets of devices, and even in more affluent schools not all students will own devices compatible with apps. However, I still think that knowing about how to use QR codes in the classroom is important and a cool idea to whip out when applicable.

    • B. Taylor says:

      Things are changing – more and more schools have and will have devices, and often it’s the LESS affluent schools that have them. We will try to skype with one such school later in the semester.

  17. Pingback: QR Codes and Art In the Classroom « Cool Tech Ideas in Teaching & Learning

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