Saturday, October 13, 2012

Playing with QR Codes

Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to hear about and join in a Classroom Live 2.0 webinar with Karen Mensing .  What I took most out of her presentation is how she is using QR codes with her students.  In the past I've used QR codes a bit -  there is a QR code on my classroom window which when scanned sends our visitors directly to our class blog - but I haven't used them all that much in my teaching practice.  I've read about people using them to send their students on a scavenger hunt around the school, or to scan a mystery math problem. While both are exciting ideas I wasn't sure the QR code was adding much to the learning beyond the fun factor and I wanted more than that.

Karen's presentation intrigued me and my head immediately started to spin.  What I liked best is that Karen was using QR codes to add voice to written work.  As a grade one teacher, particularly with students who at this time of the year struggle with telling their stories with written words, I liked that idea of voice QR Codes.

She introduced me to the web based site croak.it (which is also a free  iOs app).  Croak It allows you to record short voice messages. You don't have to sign up or provide any personal information. You just push a button and start talking.  When you're done you are given a link to your recording. It's as simple as that.  I think Vocaroo works the same way too. AudioBoo is another fantastic voice recording website/app but it does require an account.

On Tuesday my students started bringing back their Flat Wilbur pictures as part of our Global Read Aloud project with a school in NYC.  I was fortunate to have a volunteer in my room. She worked with my students using Croak It and had them record voice to add to their photos.  My students were talking about their photos.  My helper then took the link that was provided and created a free QR code at Kaywa.  From there she took the QR code link and inserted it as an "image by URL" in a google doc. We then printed the QR codes and attached them to their photos.  Of course we were mindful to not say our names in our recordings since we didn't want our faces linked to our names.

Here's one of the QR codes we created.




Now when we send our photos to NYC not only will they see where we live, but they will hear us talk about where we live in our real voices.  I'd say that's a pretty cool way to learn using QR codes.

But if you know me at all now that I have a new tool to use I want to find as many age appropriate meaningful ways to use this tool.  Right now I have a student that has a lot of trouble remembering his letter names. He works really hard but it's just something that is not coming easily for him for a variety of reasons.  However, every day my students are encouraged to write.  For some their writing is more about the pictures they are drawing and the stories they tell with those pictures, than the letters or words or sentence they are writing.  Writing to me is about telling a story, and so while I have students who are challenged to "write" a story, they are telling a story - just with pictures instead of words.

Anyhow back to this one special student, and his challenges with letters.  He is VERY GOOD at telling his stories through pictures.  Yesterday I had him use the Croak It website so that we could record his story that accompanied his picture.  Needless to say he was thrilled. We got a link and I immediately took the link to Kaywa and created a QR code.  This QR code will be added to his picture story.  Weeks from now we will still remember the story  behind his drawing. How's that for an authentic way to use this tool?

I have many more ideas to use QR codes with my students.  I'm curious to know how you are using QR codes for learning - and I'm looking at more than just because it adds the element of "fun".

16 comments:

  1. I love it! Very authentic I would say!

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  2. Thanks Lora. This is still so new to me. I love it when my brain spins in over drive thinking about ways I can use new (to me) tools. I know there are many, many other ways we can use them in meaningful, purposeful, age appropriate, safe ways.

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  3. You have the best ideas! Love it!

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    1. Thanks Niki but I think we all have the BEST ideas. It's the fact that we are continuing to strive to improve our practices that make the ideas the best. Isn't that what we are all about?

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  4. This is awesome! Thanks for introducing me to a new app (Croakit). I have been using QR codes for links to safe research pages for work in our room. I teach 2nd grade. What grade do you teach?

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    1. Thank you! :-) I teach grade one. Another teacher in my district uses them to link into a dropbox photo file so her students can easily access the photos taken and add photos to their on line writing or digital book writing. I need to look into that too. I haven't used them to direct my students to specific sights if we are working with iPads because I find the save to home screen option a lot easier. I am also trying to just add those special links to our class blog so as long as they can get to our blog they can access most things. Thanks for sharing your thinking. I learning from others. It makes me smarter too! :-)

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  5. A great use of QR codes--and another wonderful post full of ideas from K Lireman! We have just been talking about QR codes -- how to make them, how to use them. You've given us some good leads. Thanks, Karen.

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    1. Thanks Betsye. QR codes have intrigued me for a while but I just couldn't see how to use them in a way that sat well with me. I know there is still a lot more potential with them too but unfortunately (or fortunately) I see potential in so many things and I can only do so much at a time. As I always joke, "I'm only super human". Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. We still need to figure out how we are going to collaborate. Karen

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  6. Adding a link to pictures is a cool idea. I do not have ipads for the classroom. I have 3 ipod touches though. Can you use the save to home on them too? That's why I love twitter. I learn so much from the best educators in the world. :)

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    1. It works the same way on the iPod too. I learned this trick from the wonderful Kathy Cassidy. I've learned a lot from her actually. I agree though twitter is awesome. So many amazing people sharing such incredible learning/teaching. We all have something important to share and we can all learn so much from one another.

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  7. And I apologize, I see at the top that you clearly have what grade you teach. Sorry, I just skipped down to the blog. :)

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    1. Hey no worry. Who reads the boring stuff at the top anyhow? LOL!

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  8. Great ideas! Karen is amazing, isn't she!? I also have a QR Code obsession...Feel free to use my QR Code Comic Tutorials! http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/2011/10/how-to-create-qr-code-in-3-easy-steps.html
    Cheers!
    ~Gwyneth Jones
    The Daring Librarian

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    1. Not so amazing, just sharing what I'm learning but my learning is typically inspired by someone else first. Isn't that how it works? Thanks for sharing with me too. We ALL have great things to share. I'm glad you liked my ideas too. :-)

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  9. Thanks for sharing croak.it I had never heard of it before. Do you think you will use it over audioboo? I will make sure I read your posts the day they come out, so I can get all this fantastic information.....

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    1. I hadn't heard of it before last weeks webinar. I don't think I'll ever give up using AudioBoo. With croak it you only have 60 seconds and I'm not sure if you can ever find the links later. AudioBoo has been really great for recording reading (mind you I have been using my livescribe pen for that). I like AudioBoo because it's simple to embed onto a blog. Hmm, you're giving me an idea. Time to record students reading with Audio to embed on their kidblogs. Ahh... there you go again Mrs. Wideen, pushing my thinking. And incase anyone is reading this comment besides Mrs. W (aka Kristen) and I, Mrs. Wideen is awesome! Karen

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