Ever since I started using QR codes with my fifth grade students, it’s made learning a lot more fun and interactive in my classroom.
You’ve probably seen or used QR codes before. They’re those jumbled little boxes that companies have been trying to use for years as a marketing tool. You just scan the image with your smartphone or tablet, and it acts like a shortcut, taking you directly to a website or page.
While they definitely have a place in the business world, I’ve found them to be a great addition in the educational world. I’ve seen them engage struggling students and add instructional differentiation and technology to the classroom. They are super easy to create using free QR code generators. (My favorite places is the QR Code Generator website.) Then I create codes that I can link to specific websites or even text-based messages or files I have saved in Google Drive. Here are my favorite ways to use QR codes. I hope some of these ideas will work in your classroom, too.
1. Create a Scavenger Hunt
Get the students up and moving by creating a scavenger hunt. Place questions around the room, or better yet, around the school. Add possible answers to the questions and accompany each answer choice with a QR code that sends students to a new location. Only the correct answer will send them to a new question. Incorrect answers offer a hint and send them back to the question they missed.
2. Offer Extra Practice for Early Finishers
You can make matching games where students can self-check using QR codes. Place half of a QR code on the question and the other half on the matching answer. If the student successfully matches them, the QR code will respond with whatever positive message you created. If the student doesn’t have a match, there will be no message at all. Another idea is to use codes for flash cards—another great way to self-check.
3. Simplify Research Projects
Provide quick and easy links to articles, videos, web sites, or podcasts that you want your students to be able to access.
4. Try a New Twist on Gallery Walks
Use QR codes to share student work. Students or student groups can make a video or audio recording about what they have learned. They can also use them to describe a process or show how to solve a problem. Upload their recording to an Internet source like YouTube, Dropbox or Google Drive. Link a QR code to the recording to make sharing their work with the rest of the class a snap.
5. Provide Support to Struggling Readers
Make audio recordings of material you need students to read and upload the recordings to your Google Drive or Dropbox. Link a QR code to the web address for the file and have the QR codes available for students who need a little extra help when reading content area material.
6. Add Pizazz to Your Word Wall
Make a video of your students acting out a new vocabulary word. Upload the video to your Google Drive or Dropbox and link the video to a QR code. Then add the QR code to the word on your word wall. Your students will love watching themselves and won’t even realize how much they are practicing new words!
7. Give Tutorial Help for Homework
Add a QR code to homework assignments. Students who are struggling or who get stuck can watch a linked video tutorial that you have made that helps them recall what they learned during class.
8. New Take on Book Reports
Make video or audio recordings of students reviewing a library book. Link the recording to a QR code and attach it to the spine of the book. Students will be eager to check out what their friends think about books in the library.