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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Scan and learn? QR codes in the classroom

April 20, 2011

My technology prowess is adequate. Passable. Sufficient. I can manage my own use just fine, and (for now!) can answer most of the questions the girls ask about technology. But there's a ton more out there, and one technology has recently caught my eye: QR codes. They seem to be cropping up everywhere! The new coffee shop here in town has one plastered right on the side of it. And the house for sale down the street has one in the front yard where I might expect to see a For Sale sign. All of this has piqued my curiosity, and prompted me to learn more. I'm also wondering what value, if any, this new technology holds for the classroom.

QR Codes in the Classroom, a guest post on Free Technology for Teachers, gave me good information about QR. For example, I learned that QR stands for Quick Response; the creator intended for its contents to be downloaded at a high speed. And here's how it works. There's a QR code in a book, a lecture slide, a magazine, etc. Smartphone users download a free app that enables them to scan the QR code. The app takes you directly to a website, file, phone number, or wherever else the author of the code wants you to see.

I'm beginning to see ways teachers could use QR codes in the classroom. Here are some great ideas for using QR codes within presentations, posters, and assignments. Ms. Preston, the guest blogger, shared a 3rd grade QR Code Math Fun that she used with her students. Kerry Turner posted 10 ways to use QR codes in a history classroom

QR code math fun

It's really easy to make a QR code. Code generators are quite common, and allow a user one to quickly generate all sorts of QR codes (text, hyperlink, browser bookmark, phone number, email). See these examples here and here.

You may be wondering why teachers would bother with QR codes; they seem to add an extra step to the process. Wouldn't it be faster just to paste the details (the text, the video link, the email address) into a document? The big plus about QR codes is that more and more students have access to some hand held devices. QR codes provide an motivating way to get the content into the hands of the learner. Also, the content you want students to have is always available in an instant in the "history" of the QR Code Reader. No books, paper-based reminders, or homework assignments copied incorrectly. Different codes for different kids provides differentiated instruction.

Okay, so ready to play along? Here are some of my favorite things from my RSS reader this week (professional and personal!).

Can't wait to read this book!


Love her!


Big news in my little town.



Congrats to you both, Sharon and Nadine! We'd like to send you a thumb drive for testing out the QR codes I put in my post. Please send your address to [email protected] so we can get it in the mail to you!

I love Tina Fey, too!! I also love Oprah!Thanks for sharing your great ideas about using QR codes in the classroom. I thought about using them a few months ago, but wasn't really sure how. Your ideas have inspired me! Thank you so much!!!

I read that book just last week. Definitely one of my favorites...witty and well-written. Thanks for the QR code info. I made a sign in my library with a big QR code to drive parents and teachers to my media center website.

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"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl