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.