Sunday, June 24, 2012

Teachers Guide on The Use of QR Codes in The Classroom

QR codes are gaining momentum in todays technology. They are popping up everywhere and across all the business and social landscape. QR stands for quick response. They have been around  for more than 15 yeras now and are found mainly on billboards, magazines, on TV, and even textbooks. You might probably  be asking yourself " what these codes have to do with education ? "Well that is what this article is trying to answer.

QR Codes in education

Outline of this article :

  1. What are QR Codes
  2. What Do I need to Start Using QR Codes ?
  3. Why QR Codes in Education ?
  4. Ways to Use QR Codes in Education ?
  5. List of QR Codes Generators for Teachers
  6. List of QR Code Readers
  7. Webliography

What are QR codes ?

I know some freak out on hearing the term codes, but please bear with me; this is not as super geeky as it sounds. According to Wikipedia, a QR code is  " a specific matrix bar code ( or two-dimensional code ), readable by dedicated QR bar code readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL, or other data."

Not clear yet and still did not grasp what QR code are all about ? Here are some video tutorials to help you understand it all :
Video tutorial : Introduction to QR Codes
Video Tutorial 2 : Why Use QR Codes
Video Tutorial 3 : How to Use QR Codes

What do I need to start  using a QR code ?

To view or scan a QR code you will need :

  • A phone with a camera or a Smart phone ( iPhone, Android phone, Windows phone 7etc ). Most Smartphones will have a barcode scanner as an app which will read QR codes
  • A program that lets you scan them ( check the list of such programs below. they are free )
  • You must have access to internet when you are to scan a QR code.
  • If you don't have a phone you can use your desktop or netbook provided it has a webcam to read the codes

QR codes were initailly used just for commercial and advertising purposes but over the past three years teachers and educators have been talking about them as cool effective learning tools to be used in the classroom. Let us now try to  explore together the potential of these tools in education.

Why QR codes in education ?

You might be probably sharing with me this same question. QR codes are gaining momentum in education as learning tools because of many considerations most important of them all are :

  • Their easy accessibility
  • The information load they can communicate independently of geographical locations or time
  • They are very simple and easy to create and the web is full of free tools to help you create your own QR codes and embed any kind of information on them to share with others ( check for some free tools below to start with )
  • Many of the QR readers are free and can be easily found on the web
  • Scanning a QR code  and decoding its content is a task that any dummy can easily do
  • Our students are excessively using mobile devices and so having access to QR codes wont be an issue

How can I use QR codes as a learning tool ?

Here are some ideas to consider when trying to integrate QR Codes in your classroom :

  • Teachers can create their  specific QR codes for students to scan. These QR codes can , for instance, contain a review of a certain book, web link for more additional information on a certain topic. Students upon scanning these codes will instantly learn more about the book about to read or have access to the different web links to help them with their assignments or projects.
  • Teachers can stick a code into their pupils Math, Physics, science...etc, books to let them watch a video tutorial about a difficult concept.
  • QR codes can be used to tell a story or stimulate a story
  • Students follow a code treasure trail where each code contains a clue as to where the next can be found ( the clue could be video, pictorial, audio or text ). These treasure trials could be created by pupils to be used by others.
  • Create a QR code to promote a school event. For example, print small notes with the title : "what is happening in school this week ??? Scan this code with your mobile device to find out" Tape them in the bathroom stalls, mirrors, or areas where mobile devices are allowed at your school.
  • Create contests and spice up your classroom with some educational fun by pinning up a variety of QR codes on your classroom walls . These codes can have jokes, puzzles, games, proverbs, and many more
  • Create a QR code that details class code of ethics, general instructions,...ect and tape it on the wall.
  • Use QR codes on your classroom blog or website to communicate information and reminders
  • Use QR code to give access to a mobile site with important information
  • Create an " Easter egg/scavenger hunt ". The students must seek out the QR codes that are posted in a given area. Use the codes to go to information to answer a question and or find a clue. Then on to finding the code.
  • Add QR codes with a link to your online grade book site on your handouts
  • Use a QR code to poll students on a certain topic
  • Add QR codes to the school magazine to lead people to a gallery of all the artwork that was submitted

There are many other ways of how to use QR codes in your classroom. Check out the links included in the webliography below to learn more.

QR Code generators

Here is a list of some of the best free QR codes generators that teachers can use to easily create QR codes containing all kinds of information.

1- Kaywa

This is one of my favourites . It lets you generate codes fron text, URL, phone number and SM.


This one here lets you generate codes from URLs and has an option for tracking usage of the code.

3- Delivr
QR Codes in education

 This service allows you to shorten a URL and generate QR code from all kinds of URLs.

4- Sparqcode
QR Codes in education

This tool helps users generate QR codes from phone numbers.

5- Qurify

This one generates  QR code from text.

QR Codes in education

This is known for shortening URLs but it also generates QR codes ( click on info page or add ".qrcode" to the end of a shortened URL to get QR code ).

This is another famous service for shortening URLs and it also generates QR Codes by clicking details or add ".qr" to the end of a shortened URL to get QR code.

8- Creater qr codes
QR Codes in education

This service lets you generate codes from text.

9- Invx

This one too does the same thing: generates codes from text.

10- Go QR Me

QR Codes in education

This tool lets you generate QR codes from text, URL,calling a phone number, SMS, Vcard.

11-Qreate and track

QR Codes in education

This one generates QR code from URL, email, phone, text, business card, schedule event.

12-QR Stuff

This one has more options. It generates codes from Text, URL, phone number, SMS, email message,iTunes, Google maps, YouTube,social networks and many more.

13- Snap Maze
QR Codes in education

It generates QR code from URL, text, phone number, SMS, Vcard.


It generates QR codes from email address, geolocation, phone number, sms and more.

15- Esponce

QR Codes in education

This one generates QR code from text, URL, vCard, email address, oline number, sms and more.

16- Jump Scan

QR Codes in education

It heps users create a code that contains all contact information and social media information.

This one here generates code from text, URL, vCar, maps

QR Codes readers

Because of space considerations I will not be able to cite the QR Code Readers here because  the article will be too long so instead I refer you to this post where you can get free access to a plethora of awesome tools to download QR code software. Using these readers you will be able to scan and read mobile barcodes.

Webliography :

1- Why QR Code are Here to Stay
2- Code and Chips Please
3- QR Codes and Education
4- What The Heck is A QR Code ?
5- QR Codes in Education
6- Fifty Ways to Use QR Codes for Learning
7- Using QR Codes on A Laptop
8- QR Codes Samples
9- How to Use QR Codes in Student Projects
10- How Do I Use QR Codes in The Classroom ?
11- How to Make QR Codes using Google
12- QR Codes: In The Classroom
13- QR Codes in Education
14- A Great QR Code Livebinder

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