21 Things – Engaging Students/Parents with QR Codes

QR Codes (Quick Response) codes provide a great way to get connected to parents and students so you can open lines of communication, engage participants, and provide unique learning experiences. QR Codes can be created for any number of purposes, but usually take the user to a Web site.

To utilize QR Codes, the user needs a QR Code reader. They are available from the App Store. Many are free. I have found Qrafter to be the best of the different ones I have downloaded since getting a smart phone. Qrafter allows you to read QR codes and create QR codes. Qrafter uses your camera to read QR codes. It can also scan QR codes on pictures stored in your device.

Here is a screenshot of Qrafter in action. This QR code takes the user to a slideshare document titled, “40 interesting ways to use QR Codes in the classroom” by Brendan Jones.  

Qrafter in Use

In addition to reading QR code, Qrafter creates QR codes. You input the URL for that you want to the QR code to take the user to, and it generates a unique QR code for that site. You can also create QR codes by going to a QR Code generator Web site, like QR Stuff.

I used Qrafter to create QR codes for three different purposes. Here is a screenshot for the first QR Code. It takes you to the home page for my Web site, www.marcdaly.com. 

QR Code for MarcDaly.com
The second screenshot of a QR Code takes you to a YouTube video about my family vacation that I have created for the 21 Things 4 iPads class I am completing.


QR Code for My Summer Vacation video
The QR Code in the next screenshot takes you to a map for the new East Jackson Elementary School, where I work. Since the site is new, it does not open by name. If it does show a name on the site it may say East Jackson Middle School, as this is where I attended Middle School. However, it closed in 2010. It will reopen, in September 2015, as a newly remodeled building with additional space for K-6.  

QR Code for EJES
QR codes can be created to show the correct answer for a math problem. I have subbed in a classroom where the teacher had QR codes for the students to determine whether they had answered he problem correctly. QR codes can be created to connect students to your class Web site so they do not need the Web address. Forms for field trips could be completed by parents electronically by including the QR code on the field trip permission sliip sent home. A virtual scavenger hunt could be created, like the Amazing Race where students use QR codes to find clues. When they answer the clue they figure out where to find the next QR code. 
Potential roadblocks for student use of QR codes is access to devices that read QR codes, sites being blocked on the school network or guest network, and a lack of connectivity in the school which causes problems when are students are connected. Lack of access to devices can be overcome by having students bring their own devices or students sharing devices. Sites that are block would require conversations with the IT coordinator or department to see if sites can be unblocked. Issues with bandwidth and connectivity  may not be able to be overcome in the short term. They would require communicating the value of connectivity for student learning to the administration with the hope they can afford to increase available bandwidth.

Please provide your experiences, ideas and feedback about using QR codes in the classroom in the comments or email me – marc@marcdaly.com.