7 Days Until School Begins ;) QR Codes for the Beginner

What are those crazy little black square anyway? Now you see them in magazines, newspapers, grocery stores and even on a billboard! Quick Response Codes were created for the auto industry in Japan, and have bee adopted by many businesses as a new means of communication. The blocks are much like the bar code we commonly see on packaging and hides information that can be a photo, video, image or audio message.

Why to we need them? More information can be stored in this type of image than a simple bar code. For example:

  • Create a welcome video of yourself, put it on a wiki. Create a QRCode (more info below) that will go right to that video when the code is scanned! Great for “Sneak-a-Peak” or Open House for parent to learn a bit about you.
  • A QRCode can be on a book as a book review for others to see a video or text that students or teachers have created.
  • Science teachers have made QRCodes for each station of a lab. Students scan the code to see the directions.
  • In a magazine a company places a QRCode with a celebrity endorsement of the product and  a link to a coupon!
  • QRCodes in a grocery store can be scanned for recipe information, nutritional information or cookbook of ideas how to prepare the food.
  • Museums are using QRCodes at different exhibits to add an audio file so you can listen to someone telling more about the items on display.
  • Create a scavenger hunt around your classroom or school with the QRCodes scaning to videos that students have made or posters about your content.

The real first step begins by creating the content you want people to see when they scan the code. Decide what the code will reveal. Will it be a text document to download, an audio recording that will play when scanned, you get to chose. Take a look at this site as a qrcode generator: http://www.qrstuff.com/ On the left side of the page you can select what type of data will be revealed when you scan the code you create. There are so many choices from websites, to a PayPal purchase link! This site takes you through the process step by step.
So let’s create one together.

  1. Here is a video about how to cut a mango: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvLdPjpELyU That will be our target. Copy the URL.
  2. Go to http://www.qrstuff.com/ and select YouTube video on the left side in step 1.
  3. Now in Step 2, in the Video ID box type “How to cut a mango”
  4. In the Video URL, put the URL or web address of the video (see above YouTube address).
  5. Click in the circle “Embed URL into code as-is”
  6. Step 3 allows you to select the foreground color of your QRCode. I would suggest using a color that is not too light as it is sometimes difficult to scan correctly. Click in the color box to select a color.
  7. Finally you will see a preview of your code and under that preview is a download button. Download the code and print it out in a size that will fit on a 3 x 5 card. Too big (8 x 11) might be too pixelated to work properly too.
  8. Print the code and post it in your classroom for people to scan.

You can scan a qrcode with an app for any device including a computer. If not sure what to use, look it up on Google to find one and install it. I use  “Scan” on my iPhone and iPad mini and “QRJournal” for my laptop/desktop. One of the features I like about these apps is the way it keeps each code, so I can go back the revisit a site another day.

Now go back and scan that code for the mango video and you should be taken directly to that site. Look for these codes in the newspaper and scan a few to see how the media uses the codes to promote products, then you can use codes to promote learning!

Once you master the creating of qrcodes, try some of these ideas to make codes different colors, or that have graphics included as a part of the code!
My resources are here: http://bit.ly/19u6ONS on my diigo account. The links include lesson ideas, how to make codes with graphics and creative uses on YouTube. Help yourself.


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  2. Jesper F. said:

    Yes, your article was very informative! Thank you! Just want to mention that I use http://www.zumoqr.com to handle my QR campaigns – the system offers many great features, but in a way that everyone can use and understand! I can definitely recommend it!

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