A moron’s guide to QR codes

Trust me. If I can use these, then every single other person on the planet can …

A couple of Bloggers I follow have been extolling the virtues of embedding QR codes in worksheets as a really useful way of linking students to digital content.

Quite honestly, I had no idea what they were going on about. I looked into it a little and still had no idea, so I put it on the back burner until I had chance to really have a think about how to use them.

However, as the Easter revision period arrived, I thought I might as well have another look to see if they were in any way useful to help me build a quick one-stop revision guide for my classes. I saw a superb idea from @jamieclark85 on Twitter and thought it would be worth revisiting!

I’m glad I did!

First of all, though, what is a QR code?

Basically, this:

It’s a barcode that you can link to anything you choose. (if you get ahead of me here, you can scan the above QR code using a smartphone and it’ll take you to a Youtube video on Emily Dickinson)

Rather than create a huge pack of paper, printing it off and giving it to all my classes, I decided I wanted to create a one-stop-shop A4 sheet that my class could use as an access key to lots of different resources. By using QR codes, I was hoping to create one piece of paper that let them revise where ever they were and whatever they had with them.

So, I found myself a nice desktop template – I liked the one below.

Then I put the most important info for the exam in the middle – my patented essay structure – which is what I need them to remember and practise the most diligently.

After that, I decided that what I wanted was to put something in each of the ‘photos’ that my pupils could access in their own time. I wanted to put: 1) some notes on each of the poems 2) some exemplar material 3) some information of the exam and 4) a revision video.

I have all of this information in different formats, from different sources, and in different places and it would run to many hundreds of pages if I just printed it out and gave it to the pupils. Thus, it seemed to me that if I linked all of the documents I wanted to use to a QR code, then my pupils would be able to access all this information themselves.

So, how did I do it?

Firstly, I moved an exemplar essay into my Dropbox and ‘shared the link’

Then I went to the following website. (I’m sure there are other QR code creators, this was simply the first one that I cam across in Google!)

I then choose the Dropbox function (1) and pasted in the link I had created (2). This created for me a QR code (3) which I downloaded.

Next, I pasted this code into my Word document. I did this several other times for all the information I wanted to share – including the Youtube video at the top of this blogpost – and ended up with a useful revision sheet which links to lots of different resources.

I’ve just sent it to my class and, at least the ones checking email on a Saturday, thought it was ‘cool’ – which is about the most praise I ever get from them 😉

I’m going to have a bit more of a play with it over coming months but, as a way to avoid thousands of bits of paper floating about, it seems a pretty useful technique!


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