Do you code? Maybe you have seen this on a product.  On the label somewhere you will find a square black and white scanning code much like a bar code.  This little piece of marketing is called a QR (Quick Response) code.  Marketing firms and many companies and organizations use these little pictures to convey a bigger message.

Recently, I had to replace my windshield wiper blades and in the midst of a rainstorm, I was trying to figure out how to attach this particular blade on my mini van.  The company had a small QR code on the back with a one-line sentence, “For help with installation, scan the QR code.” So, as I scanned the code, a YouTube video appeared with a step-by-step video on how to install this wiper blade.  Although the video did not save me from being wet, it did make my frustration a lot less by being able to quickly watch the video and install my wiper blades.

So, what is the point of the story above?  QR codes allow for a number of exciting classroom functions.  Last year the 4th Grade here at TFA did Native American projects using QR codes. Learning-i.e. (our class for learning enrichment and support) has some life size students outside with headsets and a QR code linking it to a sound file, and just recently, our 1st Grade team used QR codes for linking a video of each of the students for Grandparents Day.  Scannables, as they call them in the education circles, lay a unique part to our new technology learning culture.iOS QR Code

Do you recall the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”  Many libraries around the country are now linking QR codes to short videos that give students a miniature book talk.  This allows the students to decide if that book interest them or not.  Teachers are using QR codes to link videos, pictures, Google documents, audio files, links to apps, etc.  I have recently heard of a few teachers who use QR coding for learning phonics, scavenger hunts, and even school tours.  What better way to show a prospective parent about Steel Drums and Band during the summer?

So how does this work and how is it useful in the classroom/home setting?  Remember the above mentioned bar code.  When you shop, stores swipe a bar code on the scanner to ring up a price and product type.  In the case of a QR code, the “bar code” is vertical and horizontal creating the ability to encode more information than that of a standard bar code we know and love. There are several websites and apps that allow you to create free QR codes for an enormous variety of media types. Then all that is needed is a smartphone or a device with a camera and the ability to download a QR reader/scanner.  This allows for quick access and above all, it peeks the curiosity and engages students.  They are curious to see what the code leads them to.

So, the question remains, do you QR code?  What experiences can you use QR codes for when the students are home? How can you continue the learning process during the summer?  QR coding is easy and I have a link below that can give you a plethora of resources to help keep the excitement of learning even while the students are home.  Send us examples of QR coding at home by submitting pictures to the TFA App and use the hashtag #whyILOVETFA

QR Code Resources

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