Pique Student Interest with QR codes!

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Although QR codes have been around for a while, I have never incorporated them in my classes.  I know other teachers that have and tell me kids love them.  I thought they were hard, complicated and time consuming. So over the course of the last week I have set out to find out what QR codes really are and just how I can use them in my classroom.  I am delighted at what I have discovered and I hope you will find this to be true as well.

If you are in the dark about what a QR code is let me help you out.  QR codes are simply a machine readable code that stores a URL and can be used for quick reference (see the QR there?).

I researched and came up with 10 of my favorite ideas for QR codes in the classroom.  I read many online articles and talked to some of my favorite online teacher pals.  I got may of my ideas from Mara Gust at School of Thought where she wrote a guest blog. Other ideas came from my ASL teacher group on Edmodo and the great Brandy Cables @Mrscablesclassroom. I just tweaked ideas to work for ASL.

Let’s talk about how to add some interest to lessons and pique student interest.  Here are my top 10 Favorites…

  • Scavenger Hunt –  Split the class into teams and task them with creating videos to various locations on campus.  Then students can make a drawing, cut it up into puzzle pieces. Videos need to be turned into QR codes and placed with a puzzle piece in the accurate areas of campus…one clue should lead to the next location and so on.  Set up equal teams so one class meeting 3 teams hid the codes and 3 teams work to solve the clues.  The next day switch roles.  While teams are hunting for clues the other teams work on a research project, studying vocabulary or completing a jigsaw activity. Possibilities are endless.
  • Guess Who – Use QR codes for a game of Guess Who. Students can create the videos or you as a teacher can have videos prepared.  Link the videos to a QR code and place around the classroom.  Students can view the videos and write down their guess with a pre made worksheet or just written on a piece of paper. Use to describe famous people students know, use descriptions of students in the classroom or use after the end of a famous deaf person unit.  Check answers at the end.  
  • Literature – Link the QR code to various pieces of literature you want students to study. Create a worksheet for students to analyze the meaning or summarize the author’s intent. Give each student a QR Code with a different piece of literature to watch, practice and present.
  • Showcase student work – We all come up with awesome projects for our students to do but how do we show them off to others?  With QR codes this is easily solved. Create QR codes and post to your website; Email the QR code home to the parent of your student;  Email blast it out to the school community; or Send it to your School Board and really toot your own horn.  The QR code is a great way to digitally show off what your students can do!
  • Internet based references – Use QR codes to give students a quick way to reference your class lectures. If you are talking about Gallaudet, link students to a virtual tour of the school or still images of what the campus looks like now compared to when it was founded.  Use QR codes for students to connect to various sign languages around the world as a way to reference them quickly or learn different alphabets.
  • Digital Praise – Instead of a good job or a happy face sticker place a QR code to the test or quiz.  You can pre-make these and slap them on all that A work you receive.
  • Email encouragement –  Send a QR code that leads to a special note.  Use these or create your own. Test them out on remind.com (not sure if this would work I haven’t tried it) or tape the QR code to each student desk every week…what a great ways to start off Monday!
  • Introduce yourself –  For the first day of school email the QR code that links to a captioned video that introduces you to the students before the first day of school. Think how much excitement that could generate in new students seeing ASL for the first time!  This could also settle some nerves of the new incoming students.
  • Introducing a new topic – if you are teaching about Laurent Clerc link to a tour of the city he was born, to the time period he lived, or the School he met Gallaudet at.  The QR code is a great attention getter to start the topic.
  • What is this sign? – Have a group of pictures that has the next 7 vocabulary words you want students to know. Adjacent to the picture place the QR code that will bring up the video of the vocabulary word on student’s device. Check if they know the signs by playing a game or have them take notes of the parameters for each word.  Or place the videos around the school to teach students how to sign the buildings and locations around the campus.  

I have 2 QR reader sites I like to use…Try Google URL Shortener or qrstuff.com 

I hope you find these ideas useful and easy to integrate into your teaching style. Leave a comment below to tell us what you tried!


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