Last week I had the pleasure of presenting a session at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo & Conference (PETE&C) about using QR codes in education. I had a fantastic time in my session…the audience was eager to learn, which lead to some great questions, comments, and ideas about using QR codes. I wanted to make my resources available to others that might read this blog and were unable to attend the conference. The following link contains my slide deck and my LiveBinder of links and resources.
Not Using QR Codes?…Are You Qrazy?
Short URL: goo.gl/vLs0O
I am happy to report that our QR project continues to progress and morph as we learn and share more. If you haven’t been following our story, you’ll want to check out the previous posts QR Codes…The Beginning and QR Codes…The Next Step. Our students currently have limited access to mobile devices, so we needed to find a way for them to use our current technology to scan the QR codes in school.
Our solution was to find a desktop application to read QR codes and a MacBook running 10.6 (Snow Leopard). The application we use is called QRreader and can be downloaded here. This application can be installed on the Mac, Windows, or Linux platform. You do need to install Adobe Air in order of this to work, so since we’re a Mac district I needed a computer with Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Our MacBooks have a built-in camera, so if you’re using a Windows computer you’ll need a web cam also. Here is a look at our station…
Students are now able to scan the QR codes and listen to the book reviews their peers have created before deciding if they want to check out the book and read it. It has been a long but enjoyable ride. I am glad to continue working with dedicated administrators, teachers, staff, and students. The next step is building the density of books in our library with codes to scan and promoting the awesome work being done in our building. And I have a plan for that too…
In my previous post, QR Codes…the beginning, I outlined how we began using QR codes in one of our elementary schools. The posters were up for scanning and we seemed to have worked out some of the bugs. We were now ready to begin using QR codes to link to student-created content.
It has been a vision of mine since my time as a middle school language arts teacher to have students create book reviews that other students could access to determine if they might be interested in reading it. Using this premise, I approached one of our elementary school librarians (Mrs. Bingaman) that I knew was interested in using technology and would be willing to dedicate some time to this endeavor. She was totally on board and eager to begin working with the students. We decided to elicit the help of the gifted education teacher (Mrs. Manley) as well. A graphic organizer was developed for students, which provided students a guideline to follow for their book reviews. Students then wrote and recorded their reviews using GarageBand.
Once we had student content ready to go, we used our district WordPress server to create a blog to host the reviews. Our blog site is called Red Mill’s Digital Dolphins. From this point, we just needed to create a QR code for the URL of each of the book reviews. When you code URL’s, the shorter the URL, the cleaner QR code you get. With that in mind, we decided to use Google’s URL shortening site named goo.gl. Goo.gl has its advantages because when you sign in with your Google account it will keep a history of the URL’s you’ve shortened, as well as some statistics. These statistics include number of clicks, browsers, platform, and country for the day, week, month, and all time.
Our final step was to place the QR codes in a place where people could access them. We received permission from our District Library Instructional Advisor to place the QR codes on the actual book the student reviewed. Now there is a book review attached to each library book that has a code on it. Students can now listen to a book review of the book before checking it out or listen to the review at home on a mobile device.
Thoughts/feedback/questions are welcome.
Book Talk Graphic Organizer
Our school district is experiencing many economic challenges like so many other districts across the country. The technology department has taken an especially hard hit over the last two years. As an instructional technology specialist, I feel as though it’s part of my job to find ways to overcome this shortage and continue to innovate using free resources, tools, and technologies. So as this school year started, I set a goal to use an emerging technology with students. As I continued to observe the emergence QR codes , I decided to go in that direction. It was important to me that I use them in a meaningful way instead of just another “trick”, so this is the first post in a series that will chronicle our use of QR codes…
I began by doing some research on QR codes and observing how they were being used. After getting comfortable with the idea of using them in what I thought was an effective manner, I wanted to start by posting some codes in the lobby area of the school where parents picked up their children. These posters would include a code that linked them to the home page of school and the events calendar. My thought was that parents could scan the code to see what events were occurring at the school while waiting for their children. However, I didn’t just want to post codes without at least some explanation of what they were in case parents were not familiar with them. Without any explanation at all, they would most likely go unnoticed and unused. I lack even the most basic graphic design ability, so I sought the expertise of our district’s graphic artist to produce a small poster that included the QR code, a brief explanation of what it was, how to use it, and possible apps to use. Here is what she came up with:
Feedback and/or questions welcome!