For every product sold in a retail store, you would have seen a bar code, composed of a 1 Dimensional array of Thick and thin lines. This bar code contains some information about the product, like product ID, Name and Price. But, not too much information can be stored in it. Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) are 2 Dimensional matrices of black and white squares which can store information along its Length & Breadth. More data means more applications. QR codes can hold: Website URLs, YouTube Video Links, Twitter/ Facebook profile names, Phone numbers, or even some plain text message. Pretty neat, right?
So, How to you read these QR Codes? Its simple. All you need is a QR code scanner/reader app. Just start the app, hold your phone camera over the QR code to be scanned, and you’re done! The app will automatically direct you to whatever is stored in the QR code. The best part is that it’s FREE and the app works well on android phones, iPhones, tablets and laptops (with good cameras, of course).
CREATE YOUR OWN QR CODE
Again, its not as hard as you may think. Just use a QR Code generator. Some of the simplest code generators are QRstuff.com and Canva’s free QR Code Generator. For the most general uses, its free. Just specify the type of data and actual content of the QR Code and choose to download, Email or print the PNG image.
Try scanning the QR Code image, and see what happens!
QR CODE IN EDUCATION
1. Save time for logging in by storing website URLs in QR Code
Nowadays, schools are using computers for teaching in the classroom. Lets say that a Math teacher wants to use an online software as a learning tool. Since its “online”, it has a URL. For every student to keep up, they have to type the URL in manually. It could take 10-15 minutes to get the entire class up to speed, wasting valuable classroom time. How can we solve this problem using QR Code??
Just generate a QR Code containing the link to the online Math application, and print it out. Now, Students just have to hold this QR Code up to the computer’s camera and they are automatically directed to the application. Similarly, other teachers can create QR Codes for links to other applications commonly used in the classroom, thus saving time.
2. Create book reviews in the form of student video responses
Another example of how QR Codes can be used in education is beautifully demonstrated by NVLA’s elementary school students in their literacy program. Here, students observed how a librarian keeps track of the hundreds of books in the library, using the old 1-D bar code. This lead them to find an innovative way to use the 2D QR Code. Most elementary kids are avid readers. It is also one of the most important subjects in their curriculum. Any person, not necessarily a student, reading a book would want to share their opinions to other readers. So, why not record these opinions for the future readers? This is exactly what NVLA’s students did.They divided their reading procedure into different parts. While reading a book, they would take notes and draw vivid video scripts, describing what they understood. Next, they narrated their opinions, recommendations, and key events that made the book an interesting read. Finally, they bundled this up to create an inspiring video, where they described their experiences (without spoiling the ending, of course).
After creating the video, it was embedded in a QR Code, printed out and pasted on the book. So, if another student wants to read that book, he/she would scan the QR Code and watch the video responses of the previous readers. If they feel that the book is worth the read, they would do so, watching out for important parts described by previous readers and possibly adding a little extra along the way.
DRAWBACKS OF QR CODES
The disadvantages listed here do not simply apply to their use in education. Rather, they are generic disadvantage.
1. QR code may not be properly scanned
If you look at the reviews of the QR Code scanner App for a mobile phone, customer satisfaction is very erratic. For some users, this is the most impressive app ever, but others feel that the App deserves a zero star rating. Why this difference in opinion?
When you scan a QR Code with a mobile device, the App makes use of the phone’s rear camera. If the rear camera is of low quality, the QR Code will not be scanned correctly. Since QR Codes are a matrix of small squares, a relatively high quality camera is required to assure accuracy.
2. Cannot be scanned on the device used to “view” it
Remember when I told you to scan the QR code earlier? The problem is that you cannot scan it with the device you are reading this post on. After all, how can you make a device’s camera aim at its own screen?? This is not a drawback of the QR Code per se. Rather, QR Codes are not meant to be “viewed” on a device. You should only “scan” it with a device.
3. Mobile compatible websites are required
Lets say that you are looking for a product in a store. A common application of QR Codes is to place it on each product. So, if a customer wants to know some details about the product, all he has to do is scan the QR Code with his mobile phone and he will automatically be redirected to a website containing the product details. If you think about it, this is an excellent applications of QR Codes in the market. So, How is this a disadvantage??
Lets say that the QR Code is read correctly by your phone, and now, it is redirecting you to a website. The website MUST be mobile compatible, otherwise the users will just see a shabby screen. Developing a mobile version of a webpage for each product associated with a QR Code is possible , but difficult to accomplish.
To sum it all up, Quick Response Codes are 2D Bar codes that can hold virtually any type of data : Plain text, links, multi media, etc. All you need is a QR Code Scanner App. In education, QR Code can be used to hold URLs of online applications commonly used in the classroom, thus saving time logging in. We can also generate QR Codes to store a student’s book review in the form of a video, so that they can share their experiences with avid readers who may find the book an interesting read.
If you are an educator looking for student information system software or learning management system, give Classe365 a go. Remember its the software + hardware + teachers that turns learning to knowledge for students.