QR Codes

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.

In this article, Craig Roland questions:

What are the implications of this paradigm shift for art education? Specifically, what role should art education play in educating today’s youth who are growing up in a post-digital world?

After a brief discussion of art education and the proliferation of participatory media technologies, Roland states:

…technology is a catalyst that can provide new ways to enhance and in some cases transform art learning if it is appropriately engaged through challenging curriculum goals and sound pedagogical practices.

He then provides 10 guidelines to follow for weaving web 2.0 technologies into an art classroom.

I  think that this piece is a GREAT summary of what it means to meaningfully entrench technology into the modern classroom. It acknowledges the importance of pedagogy, communication, and copyright. It blasts past the negative comments which can sometimes surround the topic, and seeks to provide a concise explanation of how this can be done. Rather than summarizing the whole piece here, I truly recommend reading it yourself.

In closing, I share this final quote which resonated strongly with me:

Art Education 2.0 is about flattening the classroom so that everyone is a learner and anyone can be a teacher.


I had the opportunity to explore Prezi while creating my midterm demonstration presentation – UBC Blogs: The Basics.

I ended up choosing a linear design early in the presentation’s creation. While this helps when constructing a sequential narrative, I found that editing a linear design could be challenging. I would recommend that other people use a non-linear design for their presentation unless they have already mapped out all of their material ahead of time. I am a stickler for continuity, and therefore if someone shows me a pathway I would prefer to follow that path rather than jump ahead and jump back.

While Prezi’s offer a more artistic format for presentations, the downside is that to use it for free your slideshow will be available on the site for anyone to access. If you have a presentation you would like to make with some confidential information, you would need to brainstorm some creative workarounds. For example, you could link to some information you would like to show which is password protected.

In regards to it’s use in the classroom, Prezi has an Edu-Blog where tips and tricks are shared about using Prezi as an educator. While most of these applications are for highschool classrooms, I believe that even younger audiences could benefit from simple uses of this platform for classroom activities. Apparently, students and teachers are eligible to receive an Edu Enjoy license for free – as long as you have an e-mail address associated with an educational institution. This platform allows you to make your presentations private! One can find updates of whats newly available and tips and tricks on their Twitter account as well.

Final Project Proposal

For my final project, I am hoping to explore a wide array of educational softwares available for free online. In addition, I’d like to learn about teacher’s use of the web in art education more generally. I would like to diversify my technological and artistic ‘toolkit’ in preparation for entering teacher’s college in the spring. While I am unsure of the final form this project will take, I plan to keep a blog of my iterative learning process. This blog will likely include posts for various softwares I explore, listing their pedagogical pros and cons, as well as things that make each one unique (similar to the evaluation forms we have been using for in class presentations). Some of the softwares I have recently found in my Googling adventures which I plan to explore further include: Scratch, Sketch Up, Prezi, Emaze, Paper.li, Voxer, QR codes, Kaizena, and Plickers (to start).

Some articles I plan to read and review include: