QR Code: What is it, and how can it help you help students?

So, what is it?

Alright, so maybe you haven’t heard of QR Code, but chances are you soon will. With the proliferation of smartphones and pad technologies (all now including auto-focusing cameras), you will begin to see QR codes everywhere. So, what is it? The quick answer is that QR (or Quick Response) code is a two-dimensional code that was developed by Denso-Wave (a subsidiary of Toyota) back in 1994. The code was originally developed to track auto parts in vehicle manufacturing. Today, QR codes are used for a variety of things. You can use QR codes to display text, share website links, share vCards (i.e. virtual business cards), open programs to send emails or text messages, and much more.

Why should you care?

Because there are a variety of FREE QR code generators on the net, and there are also a variety of FREE QR code readers to download to smartphones and other devices. QR code is a great tool in every teacher’s bag of tricks. As you develop content for students, you can save the content on the web; you can then develop QR codes that take students directly to your content. For example, imagine you have made a handout for class, but because of budget cuts at your school, you can’t afford to get copies of the handout for the students in your classes. What do you do???

1. Save your content online (e.g. upload documents to Google Drive for FREE; set share settings to share with everyone on the web.)

2. Copy URL link to the online content

3. Create a QR code linking to it with a FREE generator (e.g. http://www.qrstuff.com/)

4. Have others download a free QR reader (e.g. i-nigma – a fast QR Reader from 3GVision LTD.)

4. Project the code on the wall with an overhead or computer projector or print it out to post somewhere and have others capture it with their newly downloaded QR readers on their devices.  For demonstration sake, here is an example of what QR Code looks like (This code actually takes you to a copy of this document. Feel free to share it with others. If they have a QR reader, this code will take them to this document.)

5. That’s it! Everyone has your content.

Now What???

That’s it! Go try it! Go play! Make learning fun, have a QR content scavenger hunt on your campus. Show your students a cool video in class and give them the QR code linking to it. Read a cool article on the web and share the QR code with your students. Go to a conference and share your ideas with QR code. When you run out of business cards and handouts, let others scan your QR code. Once you learn this trick, you are only limited by your imagination. Have fun!

If you don’t have a QR reader yet, here is a link to a PDF of this post.

Make Your Own QR CodesClick here to go to a FREE QR Code Generator

8 thoughts on “QR Code: What is it, and how can it help you help students?

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  4. One other problem you really don’t want to change the locators (those square target like areas) too much. If you can directly download an image where the pixels are perfect there won’t be a problem but if you photographs, they need the finders and alignment patterns to figure out where the square boundaries are.

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  6. Dr. May

    Thank you for sharing your exciting work at the NISOD conference. I have been playing around with Google Docs and QR Code for the first time.

    I created a document and created a QR Code, but when I try to scan it with my IPAD I get this message:

    “Cannot Open Page Safari cannot open the page because the server cannot be found”

    Any suggestions?

    Best,
    Jason Hedden
    Gulf Coast State College

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  8. Was the wifi connected? Sounds like it was looking for the site, but that your device couldn’t connect

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