Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Streamline your class with QR codes

I have started a new obsession with QR codes.  QR codes are those square thingys that a lot of advertisers use to get you to their websites.  QR codes though are simply a link to a website, document or any other web based thing.  Now that I have been getting more comfortable with web based activities I am seeing the convenience QR codes can offer.   I am 100% in on putting the learning on the shoulders of the students and giving them every opportunity to get the information at their pace.  QR codes have become another tool to help with that. 

I have completed my first semester of flipping my health education classes.  I have vids done, note sheets done and vid quizzes done.  Now I am in the process of tweaking those things as well as the classroom activities I do.  I have worked to trin my students how to access the classroom materials from a variety of settings (basically problem solving) so they have options.  I have my website www.healthteacher.com where all my vids, notes and quiz links are.  We have a classroom account on Edmodo where students can access my videos from a shared folder, students can subscribe to my YouTube channel or they can pick up a cd with the videos on them. 

For my note sheets, i usually print them out and have them available in the classroom and i have them on my website for download.  Now, I am in the process of converting my notes from a PDF format to google docs where I now have a web based document.  Students have two options to get the note sheets.  Pick one up in class or download an print one off the website.  I worked on this first semester but I found that most kids watched the video & took the quiz without taking any notes.  That bit them in the butt come unit test & exam time.  Now I hand out the note sheets (I call them W3's Watch, Write & Wonder  - another blog on this to follow) so everyone's gets one.  Then, if they "misplace" it, they can pick up or download a new one.  I think this also helps remind them to watch the vodcast when they have a W3 in their hand.

What I can to now is copy my video URL and go to an online QR code maker and create a QR code for my video.  I can label and post that code anywhere now.  In the classroom, on desks, on the walls etc.  I thought .. "Why stop there?"  I then took the URL for the video quiz and made a QR code for that.  Now I can post that code where I want.  Now the kids can just scan the code and the video or quiz will pop up right there on their phone, iPod or tablet.  Now the question is where to put these codes? 

Well I had another break-through and thought, "what if I put these codes right on the W3?"  Viola .... I tried it.  On my notes sheet I put a QR code in the top corner for the video and a QR code on the bottom corner to link to the quiz.  With that one note sheet they can link directly to both the vodcast AND the quiz without going to any other sources.  In a sense it streamlines the process and make access quicker.

I also use QR codes on scenario worksheets in class.  I attach a QR code to the bottom of the sheet that is linked to a google doc with questions to answer.  Now they can just submit the answers and I can see what they have completed.  This eliminates the "do we still need to keep this?" question.  They submit it at the end, and I can record scores and check work with no paper trail.  It also makes make-up activities easier when they can look at a scenario sheet online and scan the QR code and submit questions without ever printing off a piece of paper or picking anything up from me.  I simply gives them what they need when they need it.

You just need to have your students download a scanner app (free on both iOS and Android) and they are ready to go.  It's been pretty fun playing around with QR codes and finding new ways to use them.