Friday, February 1, 2013

Empowering QR Codes

Empowering learners can look like many things. One way to empower the learners that come through our doors is to help them become independent in their learning process. There are a great many ways to do this.  QR Codes are just one way to empower our learners. 

QR Codes, or Quick Response Codes, are those boxy looking bar codes you may have seen in magazine you've just read, at the store, or even on a billboard.  They are a great way to get folks involved with content of your choosing.  What does this have to do with empowering learners?

Ever notice that when you are teaching in a small group that is the instance when kiddos most need your assistance?  They tried asking their partner, their group, and even someone else across the room, but they are still unclear.  Guiltily they don't want to continue bothering their classmates, so they interrupt your small group. QR Codes to the rescue! 

Most often when kiddos interrupt your small group work or conferencing with another student its either because they need to go to the nurse or they need you to reteach them.  One way to resolve this is to create a video of you teaching the concept / skill.  (Although, if BrainPOP or YouTube have one done...)  It takes a few steps and less than a minute or two to do.

Before even creating the video create a free account with snap.vu.  This is a QR Code creator that allows you to create multiple QR Codes in one place.  It also allows you to edit a QR Code that you've already created; changing the link, image, or text behind it.  Not to mention that it generates the code for you and allows you to download an image of the code in couple of different ways.  In addition it tracks how many times the code has been accessed; telling you whether or not its being used.  
Use a video tool like Educreations (mentioned here) to create the video.  This is a good one if you are camera shy.  It allows you to speak and write on a white board while recording.  The other thing that is pretty spectacular about Educreations is that it allows you to share the video created with the public or just a group of your choosing.  There are other screen recording or plain recording apps, but this one stores all of your recordings in one place online.

Now that your video is done, or your Educreations account is created grab the link for your Educreations profile that displays all videos you create with the application.  This is really helpful if you make lesson recording part of your daily routine because although you are creating a new video, no new link is created.   This creates a lot less work for you!  How?  After you grab your Educreations link paste it into snap.vu.  QR Code created and ready to be printed! 

You can choose to print one really large image of the QR Code and place it in a prominent space in the classroom.  Another choice is to create stickers of the code and give each child a copy of the sticker to place in their notebook or agenda.  This can be really helpful if you assign homework because the kiddos can access your expertise long after they've walked out of your classroom.  

How does this empower learners?  Well, they no longer need to interrupt you to reteach them how to do something.  They can discreetly snap the QR Code and watch the video as many times as they need to understand the concept or skill.  It provides them with a choice: to ask a classmate or access the video via the QR Code.  Having that choice alone is empowering.



Click here to read about using QR Codes for enriching reading materials & stay tuned for more on QR Codes!