For anyone who´s using tablets or cell phones in education QR-codes are valuable tools to use. They are easy to create, easy to use and can be used in many different ways, making them suitable for most (all?) school subjects.
Example of how QR-codes can look:
A traditional black QR-code.
A QR-code in a different colour. It´s easier to read a QR code in dark colours on white background, so don´t use to light a color.
A QR-code in several colours.
You can create QR codes with a logo embedded.
Creating a QR code
There are many different tools online for creating QR codes. Most are pretty similar. Here are examples of a couple that I use:
QR Code generator Easy to use. Free version (no registration) and Pro-version (requires registration). Most common is to link to a website (or YouTube clip), but you can link to contact info (vCard), a text you wrote (for instance an instruction), send email/sms, link to facebook, link to a pdf, or play mp3 (music or soundfile).
Write or paste the URL you want to link to and click Create QR code. The code appears on the right side and you choose what format to save the code in (jpg/esp or svg). JPG works fine for most needs. Your code i saves as a zip file, so just unpack it and you have your QR code. Use it digitally or print it on paper. If you´re going to use it a lot, laminate it before you start using it.
A general tip: If you save a lot of codes on your computer it´s hard to know which one that links to what, so make sure you name them so that you know just from looking at the name!
Unitags QR code generator If you want QR codes with color or with a logo in the middle.
Write or paste the URL you want to link to under 1 and choose confirm. Under 2 there are customization possibilities with different colours and more. When you are satisfied with the look you choose ”download the QR code”. Click next in the pop-up window and then download QR code (or copy the link if you want to embed it).
There are apps for creating QR codes. QR Creator is one such app.
You can use services connected to QR codes. One example is QR voice where you can get text read by a voice.
Scanning a QR code
You need a QR reader. The best (fastest at reading a QR code) is I-nigma, but there are many free apps, for instance QR Reader that works like a charm. Just open the app and point it to the QR code (make sure the 4 corners match). If you´re using I-nigma you have to click ”Go online” after scanning the code to reach the destination (URL). Of course you need Wi-Fi to get to the URL: This is why schools now start building wi-Fi that covers the outdoor area, so the digital tools can be used outdoors as well.
A couple of uses for QR codes
Only your imagination is a limit, but here are a couple of examples on how to use QR codes:
Record a movie with instructions. Post the video on YouTube (as unlisted) and link the URL to a QR code. Laminate the QR code and put in on the wall in your classroom. This works really well when working with different stations. The students can scan the code and get your instructions even though you´re in another part of the classroom. If you don´t have the possibility to record movies yourself you can link to movies that others have made.
If a student have read a book he or she can record a movie where they talk about their opinions of the book. Connect that to a QR code and attach it on the back of a book. Another student can scan the code to get the students review about the book.
Post a QR code connected to a schedule online or a schedule for booking the room. This way you can always access the latest version of the schedule.
Create a treasure hunt with QR codes. Each code can be a hint to the next one.
Students can record presentations, for instance if they make a poster/infographic they can talk and describe their work and add a QR code on the poster/Infographic. Other students get more information than meets the eye from scanning the code.
If you have a keynote you can hand out QR codes to direct the audience to your website where you have materials, contact information and more.
Conect the QR code to Google forms (or similar services). Ask questions that you want the students to answer and have them scan the code. It can for instanced be a couple of questions about what they learned (or didn´t learn) today.
Good luck creating and using QR codes. Don´t hesitate to try to find new areas of use for QR codes!