QR Codes — Mystery Solved

Lynn ZimmermannBy Lynn Zimmerman
Associate Editor
Editor, Teacher Education

QR codes have always been a mystery to me. They are in a variety of places, and I know that one is supposed to scan them. I even downloaded a QR app to my iPhone. However, until I read Nik Peachey’s “20 + Things You Can Do with QR Codes in Your School” (9/25/15) on Nik’s Learning Technology Blog, I didn’t have a clear idea of what they were and why I’d want to use them in my personal or professional life.

Example of a QR code.

Example of a QR code.

First, I learned that QR stands for “quick response.” The purpose is “to  transfer various types of digital content onto a mobile device in seconds without having to type any URLs.” Peachey goes on to explain that to use them in the classroom you need two tools, something to create the code and something to read the code. He provides a couple of links for each and a video about how to create QR codes. He assures the reader that they are easy to use and any teacher will find them transformative in the classroom. That’s quite a claim.

What can teachers, students, and schools do with QR codes? Peachy says that, in the classroom, students can download homework assignments, notes, worksheets, etc. all directly onto their mobile devices. The school can use QR codes to link to welcome videos, photos of events, events and schedules, and newsletters to name a few. In the library or a self-access center, students can link to YouTube videos, digital books, and online activities. He also suggests that a QR code can also be useful for marketing. Put one on brochures and promotional materials. “Create a QR code with a link to a Google map showing the location of the school and add this to marketing materials to help people find the school.”

Finally, Peachey writes that while getting familiar and comfortable with QR codes may take staff and students some time, it will pay off in the end. A few of the benefits he lists are:

  • Reduced copying and printing costs
  • Reduced cost of purchasing and storing print materials, as well as cds and dvds
  • Increased engagement with materials
  • Creation of a “21st century mobile friendly learning environment”

I am going to try to pay more attention to QR codes around me and see how transformative I find them. What about you? Do you use them? What do you think about Peachey’s claim?

Smartphones, Tablets & Subtitles for Language Learning

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NY program uses phone calls, text messages to teach English by Deepti Hajela, Associated Press, 30 Nov. 2015.

Using basic phone technology, New York state has created lessons for English language learners that are flexible and free.

Tablet use can benefit bilingual preschoolers by Elin Bäckström at Phys.org, 10 Nov. 2015.

The author reports on the result of a study done in Sweden that shows the value of tablets as teaching tools for preschoolers whose first language is not Swedish.

Spain considers ban on dubbing in bid to boost English language skills in The Local, 4 Dec. 2015.

Spain’s Popular Party wants to eliminate dubbing of TV shows and movies and retain original sound-tracks with subtitles in an effort to boost English language learning.

Digital Privacy, ELL, Smartphones and GPA, Language and Smell

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Bill Would Limit Use of Student Data by Natasha Singer in the New York Times, 22 Mar. 2015
Singer looks at some of the issues raised by the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act, a bill to place limits on how “companies that operate school services — like online homework portals, digital grade books for teachers or student email programs —” can use or disclose “students’ personal information to tailor advertisements to them” and “bar them from collecting or using student data to create marketing profiles.”

Digital curriculum targets ELL learning gap from eSchool News, 19 Mar. 2015
Middlebury Interactive Languages has developed English Language Learner programs which “are modeled after Middlebury Interactive’s world language courses and, like those programs, integrate research-based learning techniques, cultural awareness and project-based activities into blended learning classrooms.”

Increased Smartphone Use Equals Lower GPA Among College Students by Brian Heaton from from Government Technology, 17 Mar. 2015
This study from Kent State University about the effects of smartphone use on grades is sure to cause a stir. Even controlling for certain “known predictors, the group still found the relationship between cellphone use and GPA was ‘statistically significant and negative.’”

Does speaking English limit our sense of SMELL? The ability to identify and describe odours depends on the language you speak by Richard Gray for Mail Online, 30 Mar. 2015
While this article is not technology and educated related, it does look at the science of language from a different perspective as researchers describe the relationship between the language we speak and our sense of smell and our perception of colors.