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An invasion of QR codes?

Everywhere I look, I seem to be running into these odd, boxy, hieroglyphic-looking images.  I’ve seen them in magazines, at the grocery store, and even in a conference presentation or two.  But what are they?  Those images are called QR codes.  QR stands for “quick response” and they’re sort of like UPC symbols on steriods.  Unlike a traditional UPC which only relays information through one dimensional coding, QR codes transmit information through two dimensional coding and can send more complex data.  QR codes work with smart phones allowing people to quickly scan the code and visit a website, watch a YouTube video, send a text message, add a contact or so much else.  The great part about QR Codes is that they’re really easy to create.  There are a bunch of websites where someone can create a QR code for free.  I used QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project to create the adjacent QR code (which will link you to the 8 Blog!).

So, besides being neat aesthetically, what can an educator do with QR codes?  One idea is adding QR codes to course syllabi to give students easy access to a website or a blog.  Adding QR codes to equipment that students use could provide quick access to online tutorials.  An educator organizing a field trip could have students access QR codes at different geographical locations to get further information or participate in an onsite assessment.  QR codes could also be used for an academic scavenger hunt where students navigate around campus via information relayed through QR codes at different locations.  With smart phones and mobile devices becoming more prevalent in schools, we should all expect to see more widespread use of QR codes academically.

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5 Responses

  1. Yes, QR codes can be a really powerful tool to enhance teaching and learning. We have many educators on http://uqr.me right using their recyclable QRs in classes and courses. Have you gotten yours yet?

  2. I’m currently using http://uqr.me, a nice, easy to use site that offer free qr code generation with analytics, gradient colors and ronded colors..

  3. Full disclosure, I don’t have a smart phone and I’m a Gen Xer – so that means I have to be skeptical about everything, right?

    I find the concept of QR codes clunky. So first I have to find a QR app and install it. Then when I come across one of these out in the wild, I have to start an app on my phone, then scan/snap a pic of the code, and all I get is a website url. That’s just not intuitive. Thanks, but just give me the url, I already have a browser right?

    Really bad of me to shoot something down just because I don’t use it. Sorry. Just offering a counterpoint. Hopefully I don’t come off as a jerk

    BTW, Hilarious video here: http://youtu.be/x9NEhxuJ6MQ

    “Dude, what are you Amish!”

  4. Contrary to my negative comments earlier, I’ve just printed a QR code that I placed on my office door. All it does is open my research help page. I hope all those Amish kids bring their smart phones. :)

  5. […] regular readers of the 8 Blog, you may remember that I discussed how to create QR codes a few months ago and provided some ideas for using QR codes educationally.  With TagMyDoc, however, QR codes are […]

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