QRcode for CellPhonesinLearning.com (generated from Kaywa)
I had been avoiding writing about QRcodes for a couple of reasons. 1) Because I did not quit understand them and how they worked. 2) For a while, most cell phones did not work with them or work very well with them. Times are-a-changing and I need to change with them. About a month ago I received an email from Bob Sopko at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, OH. He pointed me towards some interesting work being done with cell phones, QRcodes and documenting student academic experience. In Japan many cell phones are coming with software that can read QRcodes.
Here is a short YouTube video of "how QRcodes are used with mobile phones."
A Few Questions/Answsers about QRcodes
What are QRcodes?
A QR code is a 2D matrix barcode which uses an arrangement of squares to encode information horizontally and vertically.
What can a QRcode do?
Using your cell phone (mobile device) you can take a picture of a QRcode, and it will immediately pull up information associated with that code. Such as product information, website references, or an entire story. These are only a few examples, there are a variety of ways that QRcodes can be used.
Can I make my own QRcode for my website or product?
YES! There are a couple different sites that allow you to create your own free QRcode. Shortcode.com, Kaywa, and NFG are two examples.
Can any cellphone scan QRcodes?
Only cell phones with a cameraphone (most cell phones today), mobile Internet, and that have QRcode reading software (you can download this to your mobile phone) such as Kaywa. Some phones are compatible while others are currently not. I'm certain that this will change over time.
As I mentioned above, QRcodes do not work with every cell phone. However, it seems that every month there is a new type of cell phone added to the QRcode software reader list. Therefore we can assume that QRcode reading software will over time become avaliable for most if not all cell phones with a camera. So I thought we should ponder some potential classroom applications:
1) Creating QRcode Campaigns
Students could develop their own QRcodes (they can do this now with the generators mentioned above--for Free!). The could create a website, blog, image that reflects the content they are studying (such as a website about the history of lighthouses in Michigan or an image of a collage they created to represent metamorphosis), and then generate a QRcode for it. Next they could post their QRcode all over the school/community/web where people can read it.
2) QRcode Scavenger Hunt
The teacher could make up QRcodes for different topics being studied in a unit. they could post them all over the community (almost like a treasure hunt), where students would get the clue by using their QRcode reader, solve it--where the location of the next QRcode would be revealed, and find the next QRcode. In the end, by solving the mystery, they will also learn about the content in the unit.
3) Advertising for Local Business
Teachers could team up with a local business, where the students would develop a whole campaign for them. Part of the campaign could include QRcodes.
4) Group Projects and Reviews
Students could create QRcodes for their portion of a group project or review (such as defining some concepts). They could generate QRcodes so that they could share their reviews with other students.
While I am new to QRcodes Andy Ramsden has posted about his research on QRcodes and their impact on learning. Also another great resource (Thanks to ToniTwiss and others) is http://2d-code.co.uk/.