A kindergarten student uses his iPod Touch to learn words. Visit the school's wiki for more information about the program
When K20 staff members Sara Snodgrass and Nicki Watkins started taping up small pieces of paper with a black maze around the office, people began to ask questions. But the two didn’t simply explain, they quizzically replied, “get your phone.” And there was the answer, literally. Because when the box was scanned with a smartphone the viewer was instantly connected to online information. Called Quick Response (QR) code, the two dimensional bar codes embed large amounts of data that direct viewers to information such as videos, text messages, or in the K20 Center’s case websites.
While QR codes have been around in the business world for quite some time the possibilities in the educational world are just being realized. So how did Snodgrass and Watkins find out about QR codes?
QR Steed Elementary
Snodgrass was making a site visit to Steed Elementary in Midwest City when she saw the black boxes posted in various locations and started asking questions. And just like the black square leads people to more information, her questioning led Snodgrass to Library Media Specialist Regina Hartley.
Steed Elementary is a 2010-2011 OETT school. As part of their OETT technology grant, they purchased 80 iPod Touches. Hartley incorporated using QR codes with the devices as a fresh way to engage students.
|“For the younger kids it’s an easy way to get them directly to the website without having to fumble through typing in the URL.”
“Some of the people I follow on Twitter had mentioned QR codes and so it was on my radar,” explained Hartley. “But I hadn’t really seen the value for our school.” Hartley said the winter ice storms and school closings gave her plenty of time to test their value for student learning. When she returned to school, she downloaded the free app i-nigma on the school’s iPod Touches, which have the camera feature and can function as a scanner.
“I showed it at one of the faculty meetings and the teachers loved it,” said Hartley. Since then the black boxes have started appearing on classroom doorways for teacher’s websites, home mailings and in the classroom.
Hartley said the school mainly uses the QR codes to access educational websites. “For the younger kids it’s an easy way to get them directly to the website without having to fumble through typing in the URL.”
One Steed kindergarten teacher uses QR codes to teach her students word families. “She puts word patterns into an embedded message in one QR code,” said Hartley. When the students scan the code the list appears on their iPod Touch.”
“It is a neat way to get them learning when they think they are doing something really cool,” said Hartley.
Steed Elementary’s innovative use of the QR codes also shows that promoting learning is not one-directional but a convergence of shared ideas. Hartley found out about the QR codes by following other educators’ conversation on Twitter. She shared the idea with fellow teachers who then incorporated the coded black boxes into their classrooms. K20 Center staff learned about the QR codes by visiting the school and are now sharing the idea with other schools in the K20 network.
Just like the QR codes, shared learning is embedded with rich information that can direct anyone--educators, students, parents, and organizations--to new information and promote innovative learning strategies.