What is a QR code?
A QR code is effectively a bar code that when scanned by a QR reader takes you directly to a web address.
I first heard about QR codes being used in the classroom whilst tweet dropping in on a conversation between Alex Blagona (@blagona) and Joe Dale (@joedale.) Alex had created QR codes linked to a YouTube video which explained how to create the perfect tense in French, he had then glued these into his student’s exercise books to aid them with their learning.
Intrigued by all this I set about teaching myself how to create a QR code and found that it was surprisingly easy. I simply followed the step by step instructions on the website et voilà!I used the following website http://qrcode.kaywa.com to create my codes.
I started small – I needed to know how well they would work in a classroom. As I have very few dictionaries in my classroom and even fewer verb tables I created QR codes linked to a the online dictionary WordReference and the French verb tables site verbe2verbe.
Buoyed by this success I then decided to create some more codes. At the time I was struggling to get my Y11 class to learn vocabulary and had introduced them to Quizlet via my website, which I blogged about earlier, as a method of making learning fun. Thus, I created QR codes for each of my vocabulary sets on Quizlet and made them into a display. I was lucky enough to get a prime spot for it – directly opposite where the students queued for dinner. I encouraged my students to scan and play whilst they waited and it met with a reasonable amount of success.
Hunting For Treasure
My next foray into the QR world came after an amazing weekend with the #mfltwitterati at the ILILC3 conference in Southampton. Here I learnt about QR code treasure hunts.
This year I teach the bottom set Y9 Spanish and French classes. The students struggle with languages, can become easily bored and what’s more they know that they are not going to continue their studies in Languages any further. This can be a recipe for disaster and I have had to use all my creative skills to keep this class going. They have also become crash test dummies for me in some respects, as I have often tried new ideas out on them and so it was with QR treasure hunts.
Prior to the lesson I asked all my students in Y9 with a smartphone to download a QR reader. The one that we use is called i-nigma.
I created the treasure hunt very easily using the QR code treasure hunt generator on class tools.net. Here, you devise questions which are then linked to a QR code. When the students scan the code the question is revealed. I played this in teams as not everyone had a smartphone, the team with the most correct answers upon their return to the classroom won prizes. The students loved this game – we played it outside but you could easily play inside too.
The next thing I intend to try is embedding a QR code into a picture using Visualead and the creating a display. I would also like to get to grips with Aurasma and create a talking wall but that’s another blog post!