QR code is short for ‘quick response’ code. It is a type of bar code that can be scanned by a smartphone or tablet that has the required app installed needed to interpret the QR code. QR codes are being used for:
promotions and advertising
QR codes in education have been on the fringes of ’emerging’ technology for a while. There are some educators who swear by them and use them in interesting ways to create engaging and effective learning experiences. Now, Google have added a feature to the Chrome app on iOS allowing users to scan QR codes without needing an extra app! This is great for users of G Suite for Education and educators operating in a locked down tech environment that does not allow you to add apps to iPads or iPods.
The great news is QR code technology and ideas are not hard to understand and there are plenty of resources and ideas to have you up and running today. All you need is an iPad, iPod or iPhone and an updated version of Chrome (plus a teeny pit of prep/printing).
Note: other operating systems can also scan QR codes but you will need a separate app that will scan the code.
Using QR codes in the classroom
The good news is many educators have shared their ideas and resources on using QR codes in the classroom so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Below is a Pinterest board of resources to get you started.
One of my favourite QR code activities is the scavenger hunt. It can be used across many subject areas and gets students up and moving.
This is a terrific feature that adds to the flexibility and usefulness of Google Classroom. Users can now annotate PDFs and Google Drive documents distributed via Google Classroom. How might this be used in your classroom?
Students can highlight and annotate their work for study purposes without the need to print it out, saving money and avoiding lost work.
Students can take photos and annotate them for the assignments.
Distribute digital interactive notebooks and worksheets.
For students with poor fine motor skills and difficulty hand writing, the annotation feature in Google Classroom allows them to zoom in and write in a big space rather than having to cram writing into smaller spaces which can sometimes happen with paper based activities.
Annotate with or without a stylus.
As other ideas come up, I will add them to the list. Feel free to share your own!
Below is a video tutorial outlining the features of annotations in Google Classroom from the student’s perspective. The document used is a Google Slides presentation.
As the Google Drive and Google Apps for Education (GAfE) suites have matured, so have the available compatible apps across mobile platforms. This means you can do more on-the-go and using whatever device available than ever before. It also puts the power of GAfE in the hands of more people as they can be accessed on devices across many price points. And, of course, the apps are free.
Also, the mobile apps tend not to have all the features of the browser based versions; this can be an advantage. Fewer features can sometimes mean greater productivity, particularly for people distracted by ‘bells and whistles’ like hundreds of fonts (yep, that’s me!). You can potentially use the desktop versions through the Chrome mobile browser but I have personally found this to be a frustrating experience.
Below is a quick reference table for many Google Apps across devices. It has already changed from when I first put it together as the mobile apps have improved. Some of the mobile apps are closer to their browser based counterparts than others. You will need to do more research to find out specifically what won’t work on the mobile apps. (I tried to find the definitive Google list but I was unable to).
The great thing is most apps retain their collaborative and commenting ability.
Who needs paid-for comic making apps or subscription services to online comic creators? With any smart device, installed with the Google Slides app, you can now quickly and easily create your own comics on the go! You will need the latest version of the Google Slides mobile app, which now allows you to add your own pictures and photos.
Still not convinced? Have a look at the short video below where I demonstrate exactly how to do it on an iPad Mini in less than 3 minutes (it will work similarly on an iPhone or Android tablet or phone). Thanks to Mike Petty who gave me the idea during a presentation he made during a Google Education on Air session.
The tutorial co-stars my puppy, Spike, who patiently slept the whole afternoon while I made the video.
Applications for education
Create a single cell or a whole comic book
Great for BYOD/BYOT environments because the app is free in both iOS and Android
Can also work with Chromebooks (portable devices make taking pictures easier)
Great for creativity and literacy
Can also be applied to other subjects, e.g., for history, provide a series of pictures around a historic event in a Google Slides document and have the students create a comic
Use instead of posters, narratives, etc.
Encourage collaborations in pairs, small groups or even the whole class
For greater scaffolding, provide the pictures and had students add the captions
Okay, so this is not strictly speaking about Google Apps. But this inforgraphic does contain some interesting information about how we learn in our personal lives compared to work, particularly using our Internet connected smart devices like smartphones and tablets. And Google Apps can certainly better facilitate our use of mlearning (especially capturing informal learning) in the workplace.
Feel free to share and distribute this infographic.