Tuesday, November 10, 2009

QR Codes X iPod Touch 4th Generation = Bridge from paper to web

**UPDATE: The iPod Touch 4th Generation has a back facing camera & can scan QR Codes!**

Here is a presentation I gave as MassCue this year about using QR Codes in the classroom.  I still only have one iPod Touch 4, so the project is off for now...

Unfortunately, I'm a complete moron.  An iPod Touch doesn't have a camera, I don't own one and just assumed it did.  There have been rumors through various media outlets that suspect the 4th generation iPod Touch will have a camera, which means my original idea would work.  But, until an iPod Touch with a camera is released, this plan (and grant proposal) will have to be put on hold.  Oh well...(The iPod Touch 4th Gen has a camera & it works when scanning QR Codes)


I learned about QR Codes during the summer and have been trying to figure out how to integrate them into my history class since then. For those who haven't heard of QR Codes yet, think of them as condensed bar codes (like in the grocery store), that can be embedded with any information you want. A QR Code can be easily generated (google search "QR Code Generator") and then the creator can decide what website, youtube video, text, google embedded in the code. The code can then be printed out or placed on a website / blog.  The QR Code above is embedded with this blog's URL.

But how do you extract the information?

Simple. Many cell phones are now being equipped with QR Code readers, and there are a number of programs available (most for free) that can be downloaded to a cell phone. Another alternative is to use an iphone or ipod touch. Both the iphone and ipod touch can be equipped with a number of applications (ranging from free to 1.99) that allow QR Codes to be scanned and extracted. Once scanned by a cell / iphone / ipod touch, the web browser on the device will automatically be pointed to the information embedded in the code.

I am leaning towards implementing QR Codes with the ipod touch because of their built in wi-fi connectivity, which eliminates the need for a web browsing plan needed when using a call phone to scan a code.  All that is needed is a wireless router in a classroom (I know this is easier said than done...I'm trying to figure out how to get one in my room)

Now the important part...

Applications to Teaching:
QR Code Gallery - Fill your classroom with pictures, maps, political cartoons, portraits and works of art, all with tiny QR Codes that point to video, websites, speeches...
QR Code Textbook - The teacher or students could create a virtual textbook by creating content (blogs, websites) or pointing the QR Code to existing content that would enrich the static material on paper.  This has become my project over winter break.  I am going to create a supplemental textbook with the name of the topic and four QR Codes on each page.
QR Code Homework: Have students submit homework through a QR Code.  They could complete the homework on a google doc, publish the doc and then embed the URL in the QR Code.
QR Code Test: Questions on a test can be QR Codes, that when scanned point to questions, that can then be answered on the test.  This method could eliminate cheating because students would have no idea what question their classmate is working on at that time.

QR Code Generators:

These are just the beginning of the possibilities.  I will create a presentation that includes these four ideas and some new ones...visit back for the new post and presentation!



  1. There seems to be lots of possibilities here. This month's Esquire also uses this technology, I think. These bar codes are embedded thoughout the magazine and you can access them by scanning each with a web cam.

  2. @ steve, that was "ar" in Esquire. A little different, but also could have a lot of uses for education.

    Good ideas for education in the classroom. On QR idea that always fascinated me are URL links to changing websites. For a teacher, I would think you could have a QR code on their desk for "todays schedule" or "things due this week" and it would link to a website you could update.

    This way you could have static links to dynamic data.

    Good luck in your projects !


  3. Have you seen Google Goggles ( - watch the video. This requires an Android Phone but it takes what I understand your classroom ideas a step further.