App #6: QR Codes (or Quick Response codes) are everywhere – in magazines, on professional cards, on billboards, websites, newsletters all because those little squares can be packed with information. You can even find them at the grocery store gracing the fruit section (giving you additional details of the grower). Teachers have used them to create scavenger hunts using code readers apps on ipads or ipods, library book talks hidden in between the shelves, research extensions on student blogs, or bulletin board information for parents. All you need to translate the code is a QR code reader, most downloadable for free on smart phones or idevices. Online QR code generators abound everywhere; my favourites include those that have a little added bling.
Unitag offers a free qr code generator. You follow the 1-2-3 step directions to get a QR code with
- Type: text, weblink, geolocation, calendar, card, email lists
- Customization: template shapes, colour, logo image;
- Sharing options
Try the code reader: i-Nigma reader (for idevices, android, windows) to find out what is in this QR code?
Beautiful QR Codes uses colour to add spice to its coding blocks. Use a code reader to decipher this content.
QR Voice uses voice audio to share its message. You can type in the content or you can use a microphone to record your thoughts. The site allows for multiple languages. Check out the voice in this QR code.
Where can you use QR codes to enhance your curriculum?
You’ve prepared your lesson well, details carefully thought out. While the iPad or iPod/Touches can be used as pickup-and-go device, having a workflow in mind gives a stronger experience. Imagine my “oops” after handing out 25 iPod/Touches, I forgot to set the website URL on the devices so my students could easily launch the site I wanted. You’re thinking – easy – just write the crazy long URL on the board and have them type it in. I can hear it now: “It didn’t work… I can’t see…Is that an O or a number?…”. I can feel the tension rise.
No Problem! I had just downloaded the app, Chirp to all the devices. This app uses sound waves (reaching above the pitch of classroom buzz) to send out information (links, images, notes) to all launched Chirp devices in the general vicinity. (Recently it was used in London’s Topshop to send out backstage Fashion experiences to other chirpers. I digress.) So I launched my Chirp app, quickly typed in the URL and sent it out (my fingers were crossed). I was absolutely amazed when I heard ping, ping, ping across the room as each device connected and automatically launched the website. Two devices didn’t work so I cranked up the volume on my iPod/Touch and sent it again. Success! Right away, my brain went to how this little app would save me precious time so that I move ahead with curricular activities.
Have you used Chirp? And what did you do with it? I’d love some real live examples of what happened.
Some news that I’ve been waiting for from Learning A-Z, which will offer increased flexibility – Raz-Kids has launched their app for ipad! Students can now access our Raz-Kids accounts from the ipad. Using a headset will give you a better experience [the speaker jack from your headset goes into the jack on the top of the ipad]. The recordings can be done with the ipad mic, rather than the mic attached to the headset. Consider using the program in a quiet spot as sound will travel. Our test run produced very good results. What was interesting – it was still easier for teachers to manage activities and report documentation through the computer. More information on the program can be found on our site – click here.
If you are interested in accessing Raz-Kids, please email our Learning Technologies team. If you have previous experience with Raz-Kids and would like to be a part of our journey in supporting students in Tier 1-2, please apply here.
There are moments when an image tells a better story than having a bunch of words on a page (actually that’s most of the time). However when that image has a level of interactivity such that it delivers even more information, then you have a perfect marriage of visual and linguistic.
On any given year, we have many projects and Learning Series on the go. Our blog houses ongoing information with specific instructions, workflows and lesson plan ideas. They are meant as guides to facilitate the journey of integrating technologies in the learning environment. I’ve used a tool called Thinglink to capture some of these project details. Hover over the various buttons on the image and you will find popups with weblinks or additional pieces of information.
How would I use this?
Thinglink comes as a website and as an ipad app, giving you great flexibility cross-platform. Consider having students use this much like Glogster to share their knowledge of a unit of study. Each button connects to layered information. How about a class newsletter using captured images of student work? Or as a sharing piece to parents. There are so many possibilities to bring dynamic learning to your audience.