I've used QR codes in a few different ways in my curriculum, and I'll share them with you in future posts, but for now, let's just ease into it. I promise you, they are WAY fun!
If you're thinking of introducing QR codes into a lesson, I suggest you first show them this video from Century Link as a way for students to start brainstorming ways we could use QR codes in the grocery store, the movie theater, museums, etc. Next, take a look at an easy QR code generator, so that students can practice creating their own QR codes with links to maps, websites, videos...again, you get the picture.
Play with the QR code generator yourself a few times to get the hang of it, but also don't be afraid to let the digital natives help you out. It gives them a sense of ownership of their learning, and, honestly, most kids I know enjoy collaborating with their teachers--especially when technology is involved.
I recently used QR codes for Valentine's Day with my 7th graders, so feel free to take a look at Lesson #22 on my class website to view an example of QR codes in the classroom.
With that said, here are some very simple and small ways to start adding QR codes to your classroom tomorrow.
1. Make a bulletin board a virtual museum. Choose a theme (dinosaurs, Women's History month, Picasso). Have students generate their own QR codes with links to websites, videos, etc.
2. Students can make bookmarks for their favorite books. The QR code could link to info and videos related to the author and/or the book.
3. I wish I had come up with this brilliant idea: The Periodic Table of Videos. Each chemical element on the Periodic Table is replaced with a QR code that links to a video with more information about that element. Still, taking a concept like fractions or types of verbs and linking them to explanatory videos with QR codes is an idea worthy of merit.
4. Add QR codes to take-home study guides, with links to video tutorials.
5. Post homework assignments as QR codes for students to scan before leaving class.
These ideas are small-scale ones, designed to get your feet wet with this new technology. If you're interested in trying any of these ideas and need some help, please contact me! If you do try out some of these ideas, let me know how it worked. I guarantee students will generate more than just QR codes; they'll generate some great ideas on their own.
And by the way, the QR code in the photo above? It's from my classroom and links to my class website. Students and parents just scan and go!
Since I wrote this original post, I've discovered another idea for using QR codes in the classroom, but specific for math classes.
Geoffery Slack is a math teacher and the creator of Slackmath, a website with loads of algebra and geometry problems, each in a PDF worksheet. Each worksheet has a QR code, and when students complete the math problem, they scan the QR code to check their work and to view a video explanation of the solution. As Mr. Slack states, students "practice and get immediate feedback while studying on their own or in a classroom setting geared towards the individual learner."
Last year, I tried something similar to this idea with my 6th grade technology students. Each student was assigned a math concept (s)he had learned that year. Students created their own original problem worksheet and added a QR code with a link to a video tutorial of the concept. We then compiled it all into our own resource book the next year's sixth grade class. The screen shot below is an example of that performance-based task.