Wednesday, September 14, 2011

QR Codes and Does eat Codes and Li'l Lambs eat Ivy

I have this great fascination with gadgets. My iPhone comes with a complete set of apps for me to occupy my time whenever I get bored. Using a scanning app in a store, I can scout for prices on items and log online to find if there is a better deal somewhere else. I have scanned all sorts of data icons but my favorite is this one:
I love QR Codes.  They speak to me as if they were inkblots appealing to my psyche. To me they represent a wrapped present with some goody for me to see once I decode the black and white decoration. There is a secret behind this thing that can be found everywhere from grocery stores, clothing stores, libraries and even churches. The QR Code has become the symbol of 21st Century iconography.
So, what is a QR Code, and why should 21st Century School Leaders be interested in them?
According to Wikipedia, “ a QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of industry due to its fast readability and comparatively large storage capacity. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of any kind of data (e.g. binary, alphanumeric, or Kanji symbols).[1]
There are a variety of smartphone apps that can read these codes very fast and easy. In fact ATT makes an app specific for my iPhone called the ATT Scanner. (I use it often to amuse myself in Kohls’ while my wife is shopping. That place is loaded with QR Codes!!). It doesn’t take any extraordinary power to use a tool of this nature. Just point, scan and voila the information is retrieved.
In classrooms there are many things that can be done with QR Codes. For a great Powerpoint on the topic check out this link to “40 Interesting Ways to Use QR Codes in Classrooms”
QR Codes can be used to summarize information for student exhibits, advertising school events, multiple choice tests, and ways to scavenger hunt inquiry learning actively having students scan for information in more global contexts. The technology is easy to use, can be found on most smartphones that kids are carrying around already, and it will give them another motivating tool to view the world.
There is an excellent LiveBinder file by Steven Anderson, District Technology Director from Winston-Salem North Carolina that encourage you to review if you would like to learn more about this great learning tool

[1] QR Code. Wikipedia.  Retrieved September 14, 2011 at