Thursday, February 02, 2012

Getting Started with QR Codes

I promised in my "What's On My Wonderopolis iPad" post that I would tell about the little project I did with my students to show them the power of QR (Quick Response) codes.

What is a QR code? It's a little like a bar code, only it's square, and it contains a maze-like design of black and white cubes that are an information code. (more details here, on Wikipedia)

There are lots of QR code generators out there. I picked

The steps on the generator page are really straightforward and easy to follow. The type of data we used was plain text. (A QR code can also take you to a website, a YouTube video, etc.)

My students were going to be reading picture books with pretty obvious stated or implied themes. (See yesterday's post for the newest book in the theme tub in my classroom.) Their job was to write a very short summary of the book and identify what they determined to be the theme, and I wanted a fun way for them to share their writing and their thinking about themes.

After writing a draft in their writer's notebook, they went to the generator page, typed the book's title and author, their summary, the theme they identified, and their name. They downloaded the code, we printed it, and now the page with the code lives inside the front cover of the book. 

Students love grabbing one of the iPods or iPads and scanning the code (before or after reading the book for themselves) to see what their friend wrote for the summary and what they thought the theme could be.

And now they are finding QR codes EVERYWHERE and bringing them in to scan! A QR code from a pizza advertisement took us to the company website. Another was found on the tag of an Annoying Orange toy. If you're not on the school's server, it takes you to some really annoying Annoying Orange videos. There's even one on the back of Melissa Sweet's BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY that takes you to her website.

This is a tiny little quickie project with QR codes. Check out this amazing project that Julie Johnson's  3rd graders did. It integrates their local history unit, video-making, and using QR codes to take their work to an authentic public audience! Thanks for ramping up my thinking, Julie!


  1. That is so cool! What a great project. I just started a reference librarian position in a community college library. I have noticed we have a few QR codes posted that go to research guide pages or announcements of special events. I am going to explore other ways we could be using them. This is a great idea for students to share their thinking!

  2. Hooray another step in my learning curve-thanks for sharing!

  3. I'll pass this on to the librarian! What a terrific idea! I just taught about QR codes to my online tools class. Some are going to create the codes for their bibliographies and for further information about their topics for Expo visitors coming up.

  4. wow, i love this idea and i really want to try it!

    just, i wonder something... how long until QR codes are obsolete and then what? you peel them off the covers?

    that won't stop me. i was just wondering what you thought, though.

  5. and... i've already mutated this idea into something i will try in a couple weeks.

    my students are working on i-search projects right now. it'll be really fun to let them create QR codes that lead to summaries of their findings. we will post the QR codes in the hallway for the rest of the school to explore!


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