Saturday, 8 January 2011

QR Code Investigations

I have been experimenting for a few weeks with using QR codes to make class puzzles or quizzes. They are ideal for out of school use where you can read one on the side of a building to find out information or open a web link explaining more about the building but I feel that children would enjoy getting used to using them. As we have a set of iPod touches that go out to schools I am hoping to write a curricular puzzle for the next school that has them but how to do it, how to plan and run a quiz or create a classroom puzzle has been a bit of a trial in itself!

I have just pulled a set of QR code investigations together into a document and wonder if there is anyone out there who would like to try them! I tried to make a quiz before Christmas, based on the story of The Night Before Christmas, but I felt it was boring so not good, I will try to refine it for next Christmas, I may know what I am doing by then!

There are issues to consider when trying to make a classroom QR code quiz, investigation or whatever, one of the hardest to deal with is that sites which use plugins, Flash and Shockwave etc. can’t be used in the work as the plugins are not available on the Apple products. ANother is reading the codes. When I had printed off my first set of QR codes to try out the quiz several did not read and I thought they had failed – but no – the way I was holding them or propping them up to try them out was what failed, the paper was floppy so bent slightly meaning the camera could not read them accurately enough.

This document The Ancient Greeks QR Code Investigation is a set of open ended investigations for older primary children who are studying the Ancient Egyptians. The differentiation in this case would have to be by outcome, I have not set differentaiated tasks, I may in the future if this sort of activity would work. It could be an extension activity for more able once they have finished the core work, I guess there are many ways in which it could be used according to the facilities available in a classroom. The pupils need internet access through a phone or iPod Touch with a QR reader such as the free one at to access it.

The investigations are written as QR codes, so are the websites that pupils may use for the study! Pupils may just find the investigation title with the QR reader then go and look up information on the computer to formulate their answer, which would give some better sites for this age pupil, sadly the lack of flash on the Apple products means that many interactive children’s sites are not available on the mobile devices.

Teachers should print out the sheets and cut out the images which need to be laminated to make them rigid enough to be read by a phone or iPod Touch with a QR reader such as. The laminated code images need to be put around the classroom so that pupils can look around with the QR reader, find an investigation that they like and then find the website to help them with their answer.

The instructions code says when pupils have done 6 of the 10 investigations to go to the teacher for their prize. The answers may be as short as a sentence or could be a much bigger investigation depending on the age and ability of the pupils involved. The prize may be house points, a star or something more substantial but if that is not how you want to use the puzzle don’t put the instruction code image out. You could use a website such as web site to create your own instruction!

If you use it please let me know how you use it and how it goes! If you have ideas to improve it and you have time to feed back please do that too!! If you use it I hope your children enjoy it. If it fails - I am sorry it is only and experiment but I am lacking children to try it out on these days :-(

QR Code Links

Things to try to make use of QR codes
Treasure hunts, maths trails, nature trails, history trails – text posters around the school.
Messages for the local community posted outside school for schools to read.
As a stimulus from writing -  take the maps of the school, plant a virtual world on top, set a quest around the school.


carla said...

Hi Carol, I am saving this post as I would like to try it when school starts back in February.I will share it with some other history teachers. I am interested in QR codes and have been gathering information on them. Thank you :)

Carolrb said...

Hi Carla
Great!! Do let me know how it goes - even if it is dreadful!!
Thanks for trying

jonobie said...

Great ideas - I love it.

One thing I've discovered (probably not important for this specific application, but good to know for future) is that QR codes are pretty easily read off of a variety of surfaces; you don't need something perfect like laminate to do it. In fact, they're quite easily snapped off of monitors, scraps of paper, etc.

Carolrb said...

Hello Jonobie
That is absolutely true but being a teacher I always tend to think of long term use :-) Make it last for another day....
There is no need to print and laminate at all you are right!