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Easy Tips for Using QR Codes in a BYOD Classroom (Part One)

Submitted by Sam at SMART on February 12, 2013 – 10:07 amNo Comment

The QR code (Quick Response code) is a matrix barcode that was first invented by the automotive industry to track vehicles during manufacturing. With the rise of smartphones, QR codes became a clever way for advertisers to direct people to company websites. Now that many schools are considering BYOD and school 1:1 environments, the QR code has entered the classroom as a way to instantly connect different types of devices with digital content.

QR codes are also a great way to involve both Android and iOS devices with related content displayed on an interactive whiteboard. Some teachers have already discovered including QR codes into a SMART Notebook file can immediately connect student devices to related websites, videos, images or games over school Wi-Fi.  SMART Education Consultant Robert Pohl offers suggestions that you can easily add to your existing SMART Notebook file to incorporate the use of student devices.

  • Instructor-led activity: If the curriculum you are interacting with on the SMART Board includes detailed information that would also be beneficial to see at the same time on a student device (e.g. an online map), include a QR code in the corner of the content you are displaying on the SMART Notebook page.
  • Differentiated instruction: Some students love collaborating in small groups. Others prefer independent learning. Accommodate both easily by getting some students to come up to the board to collaborate with an online activity while quickly directing independent learners to do the same on a personal device accessing the same content with the QR code – it’s faster than writing out a URL in big letters on the SMART Board and brings a smile to your students.

If you’ve never included QR codes in a SMART Notebook activity before, Robert offers the following tips to get you started.

1. Generate a QR code

QR generators are plentiful online and all of them will help you generate a QR code that links to an online resource. Robert suggests Kaywa for beginners. Simply copy and paste a URL to generate the QR code. Then just drag the QR code directly from the website onto your SMART Notebook page.

2. QR code reader apps

Now that you have the QR code, your students will need a way to scan and access it. QR code reader apps are available on app stores that support Internet-enabled mobile devices. A quick search of the store associated with a device will return several options. Robert recommends students point their browsers to get.neoreader.com. Neoreader recognizes multiple devices and recommends the appropriate QR code reader app for that device.

3. QR codes and Notebook app for iPad

One of the quickest ways for students to access a SMART Notebook activity on an iPad (available on the iTunes App store) is to access it through a QR code that links to your cloud storage (e.g. Dropbox). The student scans the QR code, downloads the activity from your cloud storage and opens it with SMART Notebook app for iPad. QR Stuff provides great instructions for how to access the link that you will need to generate a QR code for a Dropbox folder. UPDATE: The app was updated on February 15, 2013, to include Dropbox integration!

Are you inspired to try using QR codes with SMART Notebook software and student devices in the classroom? Do you use QR codes already? We’d love to hear your innovative ideas.

In Part Two, we’ll explore how the QR code plays a key role in the XC add-on Beta for SMART Notebook software – a widget that enables simultaneous collaboration on a single SMART Notebook page with multiple student devices. This new widget takes the use of QR codes and SMART Notebook software to the next level!

About SMART Education Consultant Robert Pohl

Robert Pohl is a native of Washington State and holds a BA in English Teaching and Special Education from Brigham Young University with further studies in Technology Applications from the University of North Texas.

Prior to SMART, Robert taught throughout the Western United States, including sixth-grade Language Arts at Spanish Fork Middle School in Utah; fifth and sixth grade Mathematics and Robotics at Reed Academy in Houston, Texas; and tenth through twelfth grade Multimedia and Video Productions at MacArthur High School in the Aldine Independent School District.


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