QR Codes and Art In the Classroom

For those of you who need a reminder QR stands for “quick response” and is a code that can be scanned to direct you to the website you are trying to access. To read more in depth about QR codes you can also reread B.Taylor’s post on QR Codes in Education. This specific post however will be focused on one fun way you can use these QR codes in your classroom. I found this idea from a post called Transliterary- QR Codes and Art in a great educational blog I follow called Langwitches Blog written by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano. The post is about a fourth grade teacher, named Mrs. Teitelbaum, who collaborated with the Art teacher, Mrs. Gutterman, at her school to use QR codes to connect Art and Literacy in the classroom.

Students first drew a portrait in Art class. Their assignment was to draw Vincent Van Gogh’s chairs and make the drawing unique by adding things in the background that were important to them, ie a blanket, toys, music, picture frames, etc. After drawing their pictures, students spent time in Language Arts class writing a script about their work to explain what everything was, how they adapted it to show things that are important to them, and why those things are important.

After creating a picture and a script the students can then record their voices reading their scripts out loud. There are many ways to do this depending on what devices you have at your disposal. In the blog the students used an application on the iPad to record their voices.  The next step was to create the QR code of the audio files by inserting the URL codes of the files into Google Url Shortener. This website also has an option of details on the file which provides the QR code for it. Enlarge the image below (click on it) to see the URL shortener.

Google Shortener Details

After obtaining all of the QR codes for the students’ script the teacher then printed them all out and had the students glue their specific QR code to their artwork. They then hung all of the work on the wall outside their classroom. Students where given the opportunity to use available devices like smart phones and iPads to walk around and hear their classmates’ reasonings and thoughts behind their artwork. The pictures were kept up for parents’ night also giving parents and any other spectators who walk by the opportunity to scan the codes and hear the students’ scripts.

I did my own trial of this using another online tool called Vocaroo to record a student reading a narrative of her own art work of a diorama she did in art class. I followed the other steps from the blog and got this product. You can scan the code and hear what she has to say about her work by enlarging the image below (by clicking on it)! If you do not have a device at hand to scan the code you can also go directly to the page with the Vocaroo voice recording to hear this student talk about her artwork.

QR codes and Art

A student's diorama and QR coded script

This usage of QR codes in this way to integrate Art and Language Arts is very beneficial to the students. It gives their work meaning and value. By changing their audience from solely one teacher they are very comfortable with to peers, parents, and any other adult that walks gives them more motivation to put all their effort into the assignment. This would include making sure that their pictures reveal their best and most meaningful artwork and that their scripts are edited to reflect their best writing free from grammar and syntax errors. The exhibit of their artwork and QR codes also gives students an opportunity to show off their hard work and feel pride. Overall through this one method, out of many methods of how to use QR codes in a classroom, teachers can provide students with a new and fun way to put meaning and pride into a relatively simply assignment.

If you have found this lesson intriguing and would like to learn more exciting ways to use QR codes in more classroom lesson plans  there are many other blogs you can visit. Some websites and blogs include

Thanks for reading my post, I hope you found this tool and project as interesting as I have. Comment on this page to let me know what you think about this idea. Browse these websites and other educational blogs. Can you come up with any other useful ways to on how use QR codes in the classroom? If you were a student how would having these codes attached to your work change your attitude about the assignment?

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

10 Responses to QR Codes and Art In the Classroom

  1. Elizabeth L. says:

    Erin, I never really knew how to use QR codes or what they were specifically but after reading your post I can see how useful they can be in the classroom. You talked about how students used QR codes to explain their reasoning behind their art work and I think this is a very unique way of having students prove what they know and giving them a sense of pride in their work. If I were a student I definitely think the opportunity to use QR codes would have given me more freedom to try something new and then explain my idea to my classmates. This will allow students to think more creatively and let teachers tap into the different passions of their students. Good job!

  2. Sydney B. says:

    The idea of QR codes is very new to me. I never knew what they were used for until this class let alone how to use them in the classroom. I never would have thought to use them for an art display. It is cool that it is like an art museum where people can walk around and listen to the piece of art. This way students can learn about museums as well as their artwork and technology! Also, I loved the idea of having the parents experience this. It’s true, students will spend more time on projects if they know their peers or parents will see it and not just their teacher. Great job, Erin! I’m excited to see how else QR codes can be used in the classroom!

  3. Allie W. says:

    Loved this blog post! I learned a lot about QR codes, which I knew very little about. I liked how that teacher used the QR codes to personalize the students projects for parents night. Allowing parents to hear what their child researched and thought about when they were creating a project was a great idea and really added a nice personal touch. This is a piece of technology that I definitely plan to use in my classroom, especially after learning how easy it is to create these. Thanks Erin!

  4. Kyle W. says:

    I was initially very opposed to the concept of QR codes–I thought they were for lazy people! However, after reading your post and attending the NCTIES conference, I have a new vision of them. I really like using them to connect art and literacy, like you mentioned in your post. I also heard about a teacher using them as extra credit “scavenger hunts” around her school. She hid QR codes in random places around the school (in the cafeteria, in the library, in a random hallway) that linked to bonus questions. If students found the codes, scanned them, and recorded their answers, they got extra credit! Cool stuff, right?

  5. Anna H. says:

    Erin, I really enjoyed this post. I feel like nowadays especially, with lots of arts programs coming close to the chopping block, it’s important to incorporate arts integration into the classroom, and being able to link this to current technology is even better! I really like the idea of using QR codes, especially as iPods and other scanning devices are becoming more prevalent in the classroom, and this is a great way to do it! Having the students mix hands-on activities with creating their own technological piece of it is a great idea. And I love the scavenger hunt idea that Kyle mentioned too!

  6. Meagan W. says:

    I love this idea Erin! I shared your post with my roommate, whose sister is an elementary school art teacher, who passed this idea on. Her sister thought this was a great idea and was going to look into it! I have never used QR codes before but am seeing them everywhere. I think connecting children’s voices with their art word is great at the elementary level especially because sometimes their art well, needs a little explaining! This will also allow the parents to get more involved. If they could pull up a QR code from their child’s art work or even assignments, it would be easier for them to do it on the go! It would be interesting to see if you could use QR codes in the classroom for center like activities. Students would have to scan their QR code to find out what center or group they are in for projects. I am curious to see the use of QR codes in the classroom when we are teachers!

  7. Alex H. says:

    This is a great tool. Like you said, I think that this will encourage students to take more pride in their work, because they have the opportunity to explain it. It also can get them thinking more critically about the process of creating. For things like parent teacher conferences or open houses, this adds a whole new level to how you can show students exactly how and what their students are learning.

  8. Hannah D. says:

    This is a really cool tool, Erin! I honestly had no idea what the letters in QR stood for, so reading this blog post was definitely very informative for me! I like how you talked about the different audiences the students can reach with this technique. It changes it from just the teacher to anyone. And I agree that it will allow them to have more pride in their work. I could definitely hear it in the voice of the student whose recording was in your post. This is a unique way to present a students work and I definitely want to keep it in mind for the future!

  9. Riley K says:

    I think this tool is a refreshing new way to write descriptions in the classroom for pictures and other school projects that require descriptions. By allowing students to connect this to multiple areas of the classroom such as art it provides a bigger learning environment for the students. It allows for students to also interact with each other in a different way. By hearing each other and scanning the QR codes themselves, it allows the students more control over choosing which person they want to listen to and what topics interest them. This is an interesting new concept that i hope gets more play in the classroom.

  10. Anna K. says:

    This tool seems great! The idea of having the students create a script for their drawing is an amazing idea. I’m sure the parents loved being able to walk around and not only see their child’s artwork but also hear what they thought of it and everything they did leading up to drawing that specific picture. This would also definitely boost the students’ confidence because if someone does not understand their painting they get the opportunity to explain it and more detail and have people see it more clearly. The QR codes could be used for many things in the classroom and is a tool that should be used more, I think Kyle’s scavenger hunt idea is a great way to use it! Great job Erin!

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