Why I’m Putting QR Codes on Everything

You’ve probably noticed the black and white codes that look like a bizarre bar code everywhere and on everything.  If you haven’t, then you will after you read this article.  They are on everything.  Yesterday I saw one on a flier for a maid service, my cup at McDonald’s and an Entertainment Weekly magazine article.  These are called QR codes and are the first step in making your worksheets, assignments, and anything else an awesome multimedia tool.
I’ll admit I’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with these cool little codes. If you’ve been teaching for more than five minutes you know that kids can be lazy when it comes to looking up extra information.  The QR codes simplify the process, taking away the excuses.  When a kid uses their Smartphone to scan a QR code it takes 10 seconds before their phone will automatically go to the link.
What can I do with a QR code?
First of all, I am posting the codes on some of my worksheets that link to videos that go along with the lesson. Some of the videos are from YouTube and relate to the topic being discussed.  Others are videos with more background information about a topic.  The most successful codes have been links to videos I created to go along with their writing assignments.  In Kelly Gallagher’s book Write Like This he recommends walking students through the writing process and showing them how you struggle through challenges.  I do this by writing essays in front of the class when I have time.  When I don’t have time I record myself writing an essay and post those online.
Another idea I have that I haven’t implemented yet is to post QR codes on all of my books in my classroom library.  Honestly, kids listen half-heartedly to my book suggestions, but if their classmates were to record a video summarizing the book and include a recommendation they would be much more likely to checkout the books.  I’ve even considered expanding this idea to our school library.  We are fortunate enough to have an iPad in the library.  Imagine if kids could go around to different books and watch a student-generated video recommending the book.
This is so simple students can create them with very little training.  I am the newspaper advisor at my school, and I challenged my students to use a QR code in one of their stories if they had extra space.  In about 15 minutes one of my students found a news article relating to her own article, created a QR code for it, and posted it on her page.
The more I think about it, the more excited I get about the possibilities of QR codes.
How do I get a QR reader?
            Just do a search wherever you get apps for your mobile device and take your pick.  There are plenty of free ones to choose from.
How I create a QR code?
Again you can just do a Google search for “QR code generator” and take your pick from the results.  The one I usually use is http://www.qrstuff.com/  The simplest generators direct the user to a website link.  My favorite one will play a YouTube directly on the mobile device.
I am by no means an expert on the topic, but this definitely has potential.
Here is a sample QR code I created.  (Side note: for some reason it distorts the image when I post it on here.  Click on the distorted image and it will direct you to the actual code):