QR codes are quick reference codes. They are a two dimensional barcode, which can be created and scanned using any device with a camera which can scan the code. This might be a mobile smart phone or a laptop’s webcam. These codes can link to something as simple as a SMS (text message) or a picture, to an audio clip, video, or websites. They are often used by businesses for promotional purposes. However, over the past few years the educational community have sought to bring them into the fold for teaching and learning purposes. One of the advantages of providing a QR code is time economy. In a classroom, teachers are constantly trying to make lessons as efficient as possible. QR codes are much faster to use than typing in complicated websites, for example. Common applications of QR codes in activities include (but are far from limited to): scavenger hunts, helpful resources in homework, linking to a class website, interactive art shows, library book reviews, attendance, yearbooks, etc.
I found a lot of helpful resources, ideas, and videos (by teachers and students) here.
In an arts-media based classroom, I can see that QR codes would have plenty of applications! For example, one could have the students create a piece of art symbolic of a famous artist perhaps using clay or paints. For the clay art, the student might film themselves in their creative process and describe how the technology works today, and how that is similar or different from how the art was created when the famous artist was alive. If painting, the student might create a slide show and/or an audio clip about the artist and their famous works. These media could then be shared as a QR code accompanying the physical work to share with the teacher. This is just ONE possible application. Arts-media education allows students to engage in a community thriving with creativity, and new ways to share, create, and discuss art. In an end of the year newsletter, QR codes could be shared of the band class’s award winning concert, the theatre production, or the boys provincial volleyball match videos. Likewise, links to students poetry and artwork could be shared as QR codes to save on space in newsletters and reduce printing and photocopying costs. I could probably go on forever about the possibilities, so I’ll stop there. Needless to say I’m kind of excited about this.
The only boundary I see to this is for families without this technology, which might vary depending on the socio-economic standing of the school district you are working in – and the resources available. Additionally, this could probably see far more use in a middle school or highschool where children often have smart phones. However, in an elementary school classroom one would have to have access to computers and/or ipads for the class.
I also just played around with a free generator and reader app on my phone and it is very easy to use.