QR Codes Are So 2011…Or Are They?

QR codes are kind of a “buzz” right now. If you know what they are You see them everywhere, if you don’t once you read this you will start noticing them is the oddest places. Last week at the district tech camp I, along with Michelle Wilson, taught a session on QR codes in your classroom or library. (By the way she and I made an awesome team!) Most of the people in the session had never even heard nor have seen the codes, plus did not have smart phones to “play” with them as well. But that was all good because they could not only scan them, they could create them as well by the time the hour was over. If you do not know what QR codes are, they are square bar code looking things (pictured below) that once scanned with a camera can take you immediately to a website or dials a phone number.

qrcode (1)

While researching QR codes I kept coming across (and people sent me a few) posts about how they are a fad and will not be around much longer. In the marketing world I can see how fads come and go and how these codes may get “boring.” In the education world we have to admit educators are not always on the cutting edge. I know in our “blogosphere” we are pretty cutting edge but there are still people in our schools who are still new to technology or putting “the students will make a PowerPoint…” in their lessons and calling it tech integration. So the idea that a technology that is making something easier would just disappear is silly. I think QR codes will stick around for a while and here are the reasons why:

  1. Mobile technology is becoming more and more common with students. Not only are smartphones available to most students it is becoming the main way they connect with the internet. If the majority have them and use them, we need to be taking advantage of this.
  2. The need to “know more” is natural. Think about when you were in school and sat daydreaming staring at the posters around the room. Did you ever wonder more about the posters? I would stare at maps in my middle school history class and wonder about the places. I would wonder about the person who said the quotes around the room. Put a QR code on these that take students to more information.
  3. We are a NOW society. Students (as well as adults) want to know info now. They do not want to wait until they get home to find out info, they want it at that moment or it is no longer important.
  4. Teenagers (and preteens) are just too “cool” to write down URLs. Think about it, first day of school you give the students your class url and there is that few who say “I don’t need to write it down, I can remember” and they don’t.
  5. You give a class of 30 kids at least 5 will type it in incorrectly. (Then yell the site is broken.) QR codes can be scanned on the web cams and will take straight to site.
  6. You cannot deny how powerful these can be in the hands of students with special needs. They do not have to type in URLs, they can have info right there, you can have it read directions they cannot read, codes can lead them to more instruction (tutorials, etc), the list can go on and on. Boundaries are now going away with the use of technology, cheers to that!!
  7. They are EASY. Teaching students how to use and create QR codes are a one time lesson. That easy.
  8. Awesome way to fill up bulletin boards to display work. Students love to show their work with others, when work is online that is hard to do, so post QR codes!

So last night I had 10 of these and it was a Top Ten list, but I accidently deleted the post. Now I cannot remember what they were (it was after midnight when I wrote it). So if you have suggestions of why QR codes so not need to be a trend that quickly disappears, let me know!!

Here is the link to the wiki from our presentation that includes lists of uses of QR codes as well as more info on these codes.  http://qrcodesineducation.wikispaces.com/

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jodi says:


    This is NOT my idea, I ran across it last week. The idea is that before you have the kids reading some kind of text, you pre-make some qr codes. For example, if they were reading a novel about the holocaust, you could make some links to sites about the holocaust. You sticky note them into the book, (or you could even give them a list of page numbers with qr codes), and as they read, they refer to those sites to help with visualization, background knowledge, etc.

    Again, not my original idea, but I thought I’d share. Here’s the link where I found it:

  2. I think QR Codes are becoming more popular in education because we now have more devices in the classroom that can read them. We had a great time with a QR Code scavenger hunt for orientation this summer and I just keep seeing more possibilities. I love the wiki – thanks for sharing!

  3. Mark Coleman says:

    Mitch Joel is was talking about how marketers are missing the promise of QR codes here

    I think this is also true in education. To read a QR code they already have the phone out. They are engaged, they have already answered the call to action. We need to shove more than just a link to info into the QR code or we lose the students again. QR codes are just a gimmick unless we create a learning experience with them and not just a URL a human can’t read.

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