When I was an Indiana public school student, the breadth of technology available to me was limited to one lab in the school, and a home computer that still used a floppy drive. Fortunately, as I worked through my post-secondary years, I was able to evolve with technology along with schools, and by the time I graduated, and was ready to helm a classroom of my own, I felt ready to meet the ever-changing needs of the tech-savvy student. I was wrong. Regardless of how prepared I felt, it has become increasingly clear that meeting those needs is a constant effort, and now that my school has made the move to 1:1, that growth has had to accelerate even more. Tech evidence in my classroom is obvious upon entry. Students are met each day with a projector screen of information for the period, work often through a class website, utilize their devices to complete everything from online journaling to shared assignments and projects. We even use Twitter in class, with each class having a hashtag, and use it as a communication, review, and information tool. One of the best transitions I have made, however, has been to the use of QR codes within the classroom.
|Students in US History using QR codes.|
The “work” of using QR codes comes in the research-- finding the resources that you want the student to use. I have used QR codes to take students to websites, images, works of art, songs, video clips, etc. Once you have the link to embed, teachers simply must access a QR code generator, of which several exist. I often use the online generator QR Code Scanner, where I simply have to paste the link, click “generate”, and the code shows up on the screen for download.
For use in bulletin boards, using phones is an easy way for the students to access the information. In a school such as ours, however, with access to 1:1, I wanted students to utilize the codes through their devices. Several scanners exist online, but the two I have found to be the easiest to use were the Google app QR Code Reader and the site QR Code Scanner. I posted the link on my class website, and students then bookmarked it for easy access.
|Part of my US History board, with QR codes|
to additional information on the women's suffrage movement.
In the end, the student truly embraced the alternative approach to presenting the information, which is easily the best part of the ever-growing technology in schools. Teachers have to realize that their students come from a generation which expects to be taught, at least to some degree, through the language of technology. If our primary, perhaps only, mission as teachers is to best serve the students, then we must be prepared to evolve to best fulfill that mission. QR codes are simply one of countless tools teachers can use to speak that language.