QR Codes in a BYOD Classroom (Part Two): XC Add-on Beta for SMART Notebook!
In February we highlighted ideas about how to use QR codes in a BYOD classroom. We promised to continue the conversation about QR codes by exploring the XC Add-on Beta for SMART Notebook by Freiland and found the perfect person to assist — Jeff Peterson. Jeff is the Campus Instructional Technology Specialist at Lamar Consolidated ISD in Texas. Even though the beta was just released on January 28, Jeff has already created PD resources for his district and kindly offered to share everything with the EDCompass community. Over to Jeff (and thank you)!
By Jeff Peterson
QR codes have been a fast-growing trend in education. Aside from removing the typing factor, another value that QR codes add to the classroom is they make your lessons more interesting. Just about everything is online and a QR code opens the world of the Internet to your students. Students already want to be online, so let’s send them there with a purpose. We know we can get the students to websites loaded with valuable information. Use a QR code and make it quick and easy. Looking for a starting place? We’ve got cheat sheets for you.
There comes a moment in the course of education, when you find a tool that is a game changer, particularly in regards to technology. With the release of SMART Notebook 11 came the introduction to add-ons. This was a game changing moment for me. The add-ons provide a means for third-party software developers to create apps that can run within SMART Notebook. The first add-on, the Activity Builder, is installed with SMART Notebook 11 software. Recently, a new add-on was released, the XC add-on. Its current release is in the beta form and it is incredible. The XC add-on allows your students to be contributing participates in your Notebook lesson using any Internet-enabled device (smartphone, tablet, PC, etc.). With XC, the students can send text messages directly into your SMART Notebook lesson.
XC Add-on Cheat Sheets to Support District Teachers
The next step after discovering and learning this great tool came the task of teaching it to the large number of teachers whom I only see once a week or less. As an instructional technologist for multiple campuses, it is difficult to introduce the teachers to a new tool in a timely manner. The best way to reach the masses quickly is the use of what our district calls “cheat sheets”. The cheat sheets are designed as a simple, one page document that teaches a single concept. They are laid out in a manner that makes them easy to follow and easy to perform. The general idea is to remove the face-to-face training requirement because for most people, a simple set of directions is all that is needed. In order to reach many people quickly, two cheat sheets were developed for XC. The first covers the downloading, installing, and starting of a session. The second covers most of the options that are available with XC. The two cheat sheets can be downloaded from here. There are also video tutorials here.
One of the valuable aspects of XC is the ease of student connection to an active session. Students can use the traditional method of typing in the website address (http://www.add2nb.com) and then the session code; or the teacher can utilize the “Insert QR Code” function. Because a large number of students are now carrying smartphones, they can use it to scan the XC QR code to participate in the lesson fast and easy. A major value of the QR code method to join a session is it removes the error factor from typing. Simply scan and the typing is done for you.
Jeff Peterson is a SMART Exemplary Educator and Campus Technology Specialist in Lamar CISD, located in Rosenberg, Texas. In addition to in-person support, he posts resources to his district’s Interact Cafe for teachers in the district. INTERACT is an acronym for Integrating Technology Realistically Among Classroom Teachers. Prior to that, Jeff taught high school computer applications courses in the district. You can find him on Twitter at @jefflcisd.