Monday, October 3, 2011

QR Codes Part 1: What are QR Codes?

I am excited to do a few "theme" series on SpeechTechie that will explore topics and strategies in more depth, as I did with Glogster EDU.  To that end, over the next month we will be looking at QR Codes, a hot topic and emerging technology in education.

What are QR Codes, you ask? Well, you probably have seen them already and wondered, "What the heck are those things???"

This is a QR Code

You have most likely seen QR Codes as some part of an advertisement.  QR stands for "Quick Response" and the code is offered to you basically as an eye-grabbing teaser.  You can use an app on your mobile device (smartphone, iPhone, iPod touch, Android phone, iPad) to scan the code, and it usually opens up your web browser and brings you to a site related to the topic of the ad.  In other words, you scan the code and get more information, or more ad! Which ultimately can be kind of lame (but not when used in education, so sit tight).

I wasn't really tempted to get too close to the 3rd rail on the MBTA to scan this QR code
QR Codes can lead to grossness.
So what about QR codes is applicable to us as SLPs and educators? First of all, they are extremely easy to create and print for use in sessions (though again, you need to have access to one of the devices I mentioned above, or a computer with a webcam). Secondly, they are an instant attention-grabber for kids, and constitute a kind of high-tech hide and seek. Rather than giving kids a piece of paper that serves as a stimulus (word or picture), you can present (or hide!) a QR Code they can scan in order to read a text message or see an image, website or video. Students from Kindergarten to High School are engaged by this little hook, which adds the process of discovery to any of your sessions.

Over the coming posts, I will be describing in detail how to create various kinds of QR codes, apps to use to scan them, and lesson ideas for you to try out right away! Each post must by necessity be a bit of a tease as I can't give all the info at once, but I will let you know where I am going in case you want to work ahead!  Next post (Weds): using Kaywa's free QR-Code Generator to make a code.

Part 2: Using Kaywa (Free site) to generate QR codes
Part 3: Apps for Scanning QR Codes and a video demo
Part 4: Lesson Plan incorporating QR and using QR to bring up an image
Part 5: A Desktop/Laptop App for scanning QR Codes
Part 6: Make a bunch of QRs at once with Scavenger Hunt Creator
Part 7: Cube Lesson Plan involving QR
Part 8: Wrapping up with More Ways for SLPs to use QRs
Part 9: Making QR Codes that Play Audio


  1. I am very excited to learn about QR codes! Thanks for taking me through the steps slowly!!!!!! :)

  2. Awesome idea! Can't wait for it all to be unveiled. :)