Wednesday, August 4, 2010

QR Codes - implications for teaching and learning

What is a QR code and how can we use it in teaching and learning?
A QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobiles phones with camera, and smartphones.
The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. QR stands for Quick Response.
Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now being used in a much broader context.

What are the implications for teaching and learning
Educause explains: 'QR codes link the physical world with the virtual by providing on-the-spot access to descriptive language and online resources for objects and locations. In this way the codes support experiential learning. They offer expanded pedagogical value in exercises that draw students into creating and contributing content. In history projects, students might research information about local sites, write up what they have learned generate QR code for their content, post the codes at key destinations, and tour the sites where a network of information from other students has been posted'
Educause also see the potential of QR codes to move students away from keyboards as input devices in learning environment. Instead they scan QR codes to locate, interpret, review evaluate and create content.
ref: 7 things you should know about QR codes'

Uses of QR codes in Teaching and Learning:
  • The potential of QR codes in Education

eg: Half Hollow Hills Community Library uses datamatrix codes on end stacks to lead patrons to subject guides on the web.
Through the magic of QR codes, Ubimark has published an edition of Jules Verne's Around The World in 80 Days which allows you to 'click through' to more information using your phone.
eg: Novels – add scan codes for sidebar stories about the characters or author commentary. Recipe Book – scan the code to see the “how to” video.

Generate your own QR code
Try Kaywa QR code generator:

Reading QR codes

You need a mobile phone with a camera and a suitable QR scanning app. Try ScanMee for iphones or use Google to locate other QR code readers for other suitable apps. Most smartphones on a Telstra plan come with an inbuilt QR scanner.

See the QR codes we made earlier at the top of this post. Try scanning them to see where it takes you.

1 comment:

John Parsons said...

Great post. There are almost endless applications for this technology.

However, a word of caution to QR Code enthusiasts is in order. Creating the tag, while simple, is only the first step. Creating a compelling mobile experience is the hard part.

Compared to desktop or laptop environments, mobile browsers are a different beast entirely. To successfully build a satisfying mobile Web 'micro site' one must contest with tiny screens, less memory and storage capacity, bandwidth limitations and, above all, the absence of run-time applications and (on Apple devices) Flash.

Fortunately, companies like Warbasse Design ( and others are pioneering these issues. It's a brave new world — again.