Monday, October 10, 2011

Virtual learning and libraries with QR codes

Learning Exchange has recently utilised QR code technology in two different ways to extend learning and access to digital resources.
Firstly, we have implemented a virtual library resource stand external to the library for clients who physically can't access our library easily.

This mobile resource stand displays QR codes that point to selected ebooks.

Each QR code comes with a small blurb about the book and instructions about using the QR code.

For more information see the media release on the Catholic Education Parramatta website.

Secondly we developed a' QR Code Learning Quest' to demonstrate how QR codes can be utilised in learning via libraries.

Participants from a range of our school libraries took part in the quest using our iPads.  Participants found the quest fun, engaging and they also got to know more about the resources in the library.  I have included a preview to the facilitators instructions and participant worksheets via a flipsnack book.  Not all pages are available via the flipsnack book.

or you can download the whole document here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Get started with QR codes and Learning

The use of QR codes (Quick response codes) are really taking off across all aspects of our lives. There are great opportunities to use them in learning and many educational bodies and libraries are taking on the challenge.
(Picture at right from the Daring Librarian - Hot QR codes in the classroom and library)

Following is some great resources to get you started using QR codes in learning.

What is a QR code?
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.
Depending on the information used to create the QR code, it might direct the viewer to a website, show a text message, make a phone call, or more.

Want to connect with your learners - create a virtual learning space or library. See how one business connected with its customers by QR codes.

Implications for teaching and learning
See my previous post about QR codes - implications for teaching and learning.

What can I include in a QR code?
From: The complete guide to QR code technology
  1. Website URL
  2. Telephone Number
  3. SMS Message
  4. Email Address
  5. Email Message
  6. Contact Details (VCARD)
  7. Event (VCALENDAR)
  8. Google Maps Location
  9. Wifi Login (Android Only)
  10. Paypal Buy Now Link
  11. Social Media
  12. iTunes Link
  13. YouTube Video
  14. and more…

Creating your QR code
There are a number of online QR code generators. You can search for one that suits your need.
A few I have tried that work well
Kaywa QR-Code Generator
Simple QR generator that is a good one to start with for generating a code to link to a website or deliver a text message.

Get a bit more adventurous with this QR code generator.
Link to a map or embed images in your QR code (like this one at right as an example)

Things to consider when creating your QR code
1.Keep your url short by using a URL shortening service like TinyURL.
2. There is a minimum optimal size for printing the QR code. (32x32mm)

For other ideas on how to make your QR codes work effectively see The Three Rules of QR Codes.

How to use QR codes in Learning
Try a Scavenger hunt - called a Scan-Venger hunt in QR code talk. for this and other ideas, Cybraryman has an extensive list of great ways to use QR codes in learning so why reinvent the wheel. Go straight to his webpage on QR codes and access:
  • 40 interesting ways to use QR codes in the classroom
  • QR literature quest
  • Swamp Frog First Graders: Mystery Math QR Code Scanning
  • and lots more
How to read QR codes
Again there are tons of free QR readers for any smartphone or iPad. Try searching for reader or scanner in the App store. A few we have tried that are good are:
  • QRset
  • QRreader
  • Qrafter

QR codes in the Library
Hot QR codes in the classroom and library provides some good photos and ideas of how libraries have used QR codes to engage their learners.

Implementing QR codes in the Classroom
Vicki Davis on her CoolCat Teacher Blog has a very practical QR code Classroom Implementation Guide.

Another useful resource is QR codes in Education.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Copyright tools for schools - Creative Commons resources

Creative Commons licenced materials are a good place for schools to start when looking for resources such as music, film clips and photographs to use in their projects and teaching resources. Schools can use these materials for noncommercial work as long as they attribute the creator.
The following links give good information about Creative Commons and how to find resources that are licensed Creative Commons.

Creative Commons for Music Educators

Creative commons material for Video resources
Youtube and Creative commons content via YouTube Video Editor.

Information about accessing Creative Commons material via the YouTube Video Editor is explained on the YouTube blog.

Attributing creators the easy way

Judy O'Connell on her HeyJude Blog has highlighted the easiest way to attribute images you use from Flickr.
I quote "
Alan Levine has written a Flickr Attribution Helper – a browser script that embeds easy to copy attribution text to creative commons licensed flickr images. Greasemonkey is an add-on for Firefox browser. Stephen Ridgeway, from New South Wales Australia, created a video that explains how to use the Flickr CC Attribution helper (thank goodness – a blog post by itself would never do it!). Download and install the Flickr Attribution helper (after you have installed Greasmonkey)."
See the video:

Where can I find more information about Creative Commons?
Smartcopying is the official site for copyright information for schools. There are comprehensive information sheets and FAQs about all aspects of copyright including Creative Commons.

Creative Commons Australia provides free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally. From here you can also search for licensed works that you can share, remix or reuse.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Console games in the classroom

The impact of console games in the classroom: Evidence from schools in Scotland, 2010.
This research was commissioned by Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) in partnership with Futurelab.
The main focus of the project was to identify the educational benefits of console game- based learning in primary and secondary schools. Research was carried out in classrooms in Scotland to explore learning with games played on games consoles, such as PlayStations, Xboxes and Wiis.
Key findings
− Game-based approaches present an excellent opportunity to engage students in activities which can enhance learning and produce a range of educational benefits;
− Game-based learning approaches need to be well planned and classrooms carefully organised to engage all students in learning and produce appropriate outcomes;
− Game-based learning approaches build on many children’s existing interests, skills and knowledge and can narrow the gap between children’s home and school cultures
Includes case studies of classroom level activity using console games.
Read the whole pdf document 'The impact of console games in the classroom: Evidence from schools in Scotland'.

How are digital games used in schools? Europena Schoolnet, 2009.
Teachers use electronic games in their classroom teaching. Why do they choose to do so? What types of games do they use? What do they do with them? How do they integrate them into the curriculum? What pedagogical objectives are they aiming for and what results do they obtain from their pupils? In other words, what can be the interest of this approach for an educational system? This study includes case studies of schools use of games in the classroom.

Digital games in schools: a handbook for teachers.
Complements the study How are digital games used in schools?,

Moving learning games forward: obstacles, opportunities and openess, Education Arcade, 2009.
Argues that:
1. games can engage players in learning that is specifically applicable to “schooling;” and
2. there are means by which teachers can leverage the learning in such games without disrupting the worlds of either play or school.
This paper looks at where the strengths and challenges of both classrooms and games lie and situate “learning games” at the most productive intersection of these separate environments. We will examine these issues through concrete examples of existing best practices, and speculative designs currently under development at MIT’s Education Arcade, and elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jesus - a portrait by Gerald O'Collins

Jesus: A Portrait, Gerald O'Collins.

Electronic copy

Staff and teachers at Catholic Education Parramatta can access an electronic copy of 'Jesus a portrait' book via our Ebook library. This can be be viewed online or downloaded to your Desktop. Or you can download it your iPad via the Blue Fire reader app. Scan the QR code on the left to take you to the Ebook Library version.
(You will be prompted to login to Staffnet.)
Use your smart phone QR code reader to read the QR code pictured adjacent. Try ScanMee for iPhones or use Google to locate other QR code readers for other smartphones. Many smartphones come with their own QR code reader/scanner.

A physical copy of this book is also available via the Learning Exchange.
Contact us on 9677 4344 or email us at if you have any questions about access.

For further reviews on this book click on the following links

Monday, February 28, 2011

Kitchen Gardens in Schools

A useful resource for schools thinking of starting their own Kitchen Garden can be found at Kitchen Gardens in Schools.

In the Parramatta Catholic Education Diocese many schools are using Kitchen Garden to improve oral language of our students. 'A naturalistic approach to language involves students in active physical participation. It offers support for students’ language, thinking and social development. As students develop physically and cognitively, and begin to explore their environment, they start to understand and use their growing language skills for an expanding range of purposes.' (Love and Reilly, 2010)
This blog provides practical information, links to resources and wonderful photos which will inspire any school to start their own kitchen garden.