QR Codes: A Beginner’s Guide

What are QR codes?

QR codes are quick response 2D bar codes. They hold  a lot of information in one code, and can be scanned with a variety of devices such as Smartphones, iPod Touches, iPads, laptops with webcams, etc. When scanned they provide marketing information about products and companies, coupons, etc.

How are QR codes used in the classroom?

QR codes are being used in classrooms to engage students in learning with activities such as QR code worksheets that allow students to create a specific picture when all of their answers are correct; QR codes that link to instructional videos, and QR code hunts. During a QR code hunt, which is a type of digital scavenger hunt, students use one of the devices listed above to scan and read codes created by their teachers to find information and answer questions. Generally, the first team to reach a goal of finding correct answers or information wins. QR codes can also be used to create learning stations, and links to portfolios and student created projects. Voice QR codes can also be created and posted next to student art displays to provide an explanation of the piece, and for many other activities using QR Voice. QR code activities are also a great way to keep students engaged in meaningful activities while teachers conference with other students or groups. Other ways to use QR codes in the classroom are to provide access to rewards such as Internet links, coupons for activities, and access to extra information, and much more.

What tools do you need and where do you find them?

1. You need  a device to scan and read the QR code. A variety of devices such as Smartphones, iPod Touches, iPads, and laptops with webcams can scan and interpret the code.

2. Internet access, and a website or blog with a place for the QR codes to go.

3. A  QR codes generator

4. Content, lesson standards, questions, and answers for activities that you will create the codes for.

QR Codes Resources

Code Generators

ClassTools.net QR Generator (This tool generates codes in text, so no Internet access is needed to read the codes when scanned)




QR Voice

Note: If you don’t have a smartphone or device that reads codes, download the Desktop QR code generator, and Adobe Air onto a desktop or laptop with a webcam. More information can be found on this site: http://www.dansl.net/blog/2010/desktop-qr-code-reader/

How do you implement lessons that use QR codes? The resources below will help you.


The Ultimate Educators Guide to QR Codes: http://www.edlio.com/blog/2011/08/the-ultimate-educators-guide-to-qr-codes/


Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/QR-codes-teaching-andrew-miller

Free Technology 4 Teachers: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2011/04/qr-codes-in-classroom.html

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  1. Nancy Sharoff said:

    Hi Monique,

    Although I’m not a fan of QR codes (that whole ‘you need a device to read it’ and it should probably be connected to the internet), especially at the elementary level, but I’m always curious about how others are using them in education.

    Here’s a link you might want to check out: http://www.qrhacker.com/
    This website will actually allow you to embed an image into your QR code to make it a little more interesting.

    Oh, and another interesting tidbit: Your device only needs to be able to read 30% of the QR code in order for it connect.



  2. René said:

    Hi Monique,

    thanks for your nice article. I also made a plugin for wordpress to create qr codes and a nice little site to create qr codes.
    You find it at http://www.free-qr-code.net

    If you want to try out i would be glad 🙂

    All the best to you

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