QR (quick response) Codes are popping up all over the place (even tattoos!). Originally used in advertising only, they are really gaining in popularity in education. That's because QR Codes can give almost any type of information. I thought today I'd write a tutorial on how to make them. You'll be totally impressed with how easy it is.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com
I wrote about using QR Codes in education a while ago (scan code at left to access or click here). Let's make a link to a website that you want your students to use. In another tab, open the website and then highlight the address. Right click "copy" to save the address. Then go to my favorite QR Code creating website, which is goQR.me. It's easy, fast and free - what more could you ask? Click the box in the first position, which will enable you to make a QR Code that takes you to a website. In the box labelled #2, right click and paste the address of the website you want the code to take you. Then press enter. The QR Code is now displayed for you at the right. You can click "Download" to save it to your computer, but I usually just right click on it and select copy. Then I open a document (say, Word or Publisher) and right click paste, and there's the QR Code. Ready to be printed out on a worksheet! That's how easy it is! Another option, depending on how you're using the QR Code, is to right click the code and select "save as." Then you can project your QR Code at a later date using your LCD projector. Using their iPads or other devices, your students can all scan the code at the same time and there they go - to the website of your choice!
Let's say you don't want the QR Code to take you to a website. You want to use it to give a text message. I like putting QR Codes on worksheets so that students can self-correct. Click here for an example. Here's how to do that. Go back to goQR.me. This time select the second box, which is labelled "Type." Type your message into the box beside it and press enter. That's it! Easy peasy. Note that the more text you have in a QR Code, the more dense the code will be. Some scanners and/or devices (especially older ones) have trouble reading dense codes, so if you have lots of text you want your students to read, use several QR Codes. You'll notice that there are other options for types of QR Codes at this site, including making a phone call, sending email, adding an event to a calendar, etc, but I tend to use just websites and text so far.
Photo credit: www.flcikr.com
Another site I've used is qrvoice.net. With this site, you can have your QR Code talk to you! Here's how to do it. Go to qrvoice and type your message in the box at the top of the page. Press enter on your keyboard. Copy and paste. That's it. So simple. This would be great for giving reminders about instructions, or clues for a scavenger hunt. It's especially useful for students who have trouble reading.
There are many, many QR Code creating websites out there. Another good one that I have used is Kaywa. You do need to create an account in order to use this site, but it's free. You can also choose between static and dynamic codes. Static codes give the information the same way each time it is scanned. If you choose dynamic however (you get 5 free with an account, after that you have to pay), the QR Code can be changed on the website so that the next time the QR Code is scanned, it gives different information. Kinda cool, but I have never used a dynamic code.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com
Another good site is qrstuff. This site also requires an account, but it's free too. This is the site you would want to use when you want to be technofancy (is that a word?). It has no fewer than 21 different options (it can even make a Skype call for you!), and you can add color and logos to your QR Code. I can see why advertising firms would use this site, but it's a bit too fancy for me.
The last site I would like to mention is Bingo Baker. With this site you can create your own Bingo games with QR Codes that would be so much fun to play with your students. It's very easy to use - just follow the instructions on the site. I would use it to practice math facts, vocabulary terms and/or sight words. Lots of fun!
Another option teachers might like to use is to have the QR Code display a picture of something. To do that, you must have the picture saved online somewhere, since QR Codes are all about the internet. I save my photos to DropBox or Google Drive. In Google Drive, click on the picture you want to use in the QR Code. Then click the "Share" button. A link is displayed for you. Simply right click to copy the link, and then paste the link into a URL code creator, as mentioned in the first example. Again, very easy. DropBox works much the same.
I forgot to mention the scanner app I use. i-nigma is the app I prefer. It's easy and fast, and free! These are a few of my favourite things!
Problems with QR Codes
I would be remiss if I didn't mention some problems with QR Codes.
Have fun with your QR Codes! If you have a site that you like, PLEASE mention it in the comments below! Thanks!
Travelling Curriculum Support Teacher