In this blog post, I share with you how to use QR Codes as a Digital Reading Tool. I’ll also take you step-by-step through how to use a QR code and also explain how you can make your own.
What are QR Codes?
I am not going to attempt to explain that QR Codes are myself, but here is a quote that does the job for me:
A QR Code, or quick response code, is a code that is quickly readable by a cell phone [or another digital tool] (hence the word “quick” in the name). Using a combination of spacing as a type of 2-D Barcode, when a QR Code is scanned, it conveys a wide multitude of information.”
In a classroom setting, learners can scan a QR code and be taken to an online weblink. This is an easier, quicker process than getting students to type in a web address – imagine how slow that could be with all the typos! It also ensures they get to the exact place on the Internet that you intended!
The Benefits of Using QR Codes
Give students a context for what they are reading
One clear benefit of using QR codes as a Digital Reading Tool is they help to bring context to what students are reading. For example, in our Kiwi Innovators unit we provide short passages and follow-up activities to highlight a range of New Zealand inventors and pioneers. Each activity sheet contains a short passage, discussion questions, three QR Codes, and a creative activity prompt.
If learners were unfamiliar with what a bungy jump was, they learn more through reading the passage and looking at the small photo of someone bungy jumping. The benefit of the QR codes is they help learners to be able to explore and dig deeper into a topic. In this example, learners can scan a QR code and watch a video of AJ Hacket jumping from the top of the Eiffel tower. They have read about this event in the passage, but now they also get a chance to see it take place. They can also learn additional information about bungy jumping in a second video and by exploring the Queenstown Bungy website.
Help students with different learning styles
The acronym “VARK” is used to describe four modalities of student learning that were described in a 1992 study by Neil D. Fleming and Coleen E. Mills. These different learning styles—visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic—were identified after thousands of hours of classroom observation.
If we look back at the example of the Bungy jumping activity above, some students may learn best by reading the passage. Others learn best through other learning styles, such as audio, or visual (listening to information or viewing it).
Research even suggests that when a number of our senses – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic – are being engaged during learning (multimodal learning), we learn quicker and deeper and remember more. Using QR codes, we can provide opportunities for students to read AND explore more about a topic through their other senses.
How to use a QR Code
Watch this video to learn how to use a QR code with an iPhone or android phone. The same instructions work for an iPad, also.
If you are wanting to scan QR codes on a Chromebook, just use this handy site. This works with the Chromebook’s built-in webcam. When students visit the website and select Scan on the left-hand side, they will need to make sure to click Allow in the message that pops up in order to grant access the webcam. Chrome is currently working on the technology to make scanning QR codes as easy and automatic as when using an iPad or phone.
There are also a multitude of free QR Code scanner apps that you can download and use. Just check out your Apple or Android store on your device and search QR Code scanner.
How to create your own QR Codes
With a site like QR Code Generator, all you need to do is add the weblink and click the download button – so simple! This will create a unique QR Code. When scanned, it will take your leaders to the weblink you entered.
Our resources featuring QR Codes
Did you say Freebie?
We’ve put out a free sample of our Anzac Day Reading Stations for you to check out. Both of these task cards feature QR codes that link to fascinating videos and information. You can find this in our freebie library now! Sign up here.
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Onwards and upwards,