There’s an old adage: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” and it looks like teachers from elementary schools to college campuses are adopting that battle cry on the technology front.
As more students gain access to technology like smartphones, iPads, and laptops at younger and younger ages, these items become an integral part of daily life. Now, many savvy teachers are integrating the technology with learning in new and innovative ways, in particular with the use of QR codes.
The Siemens Foundation, which supports education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), partnered with Discovery Education to introduce the STEM education program for teachers. The program brought together a National Teacher Academy, access to webinars in STEM education, and online resources for best practices. At the STEM Academy blog, Melanie Wiscount, a Pennsylvania high school teacher of computer technology, posted an entry discussing the ways in which she has successfully utilized QR codes in the classroom.
In her Emerging Technologies class, Wiscount had her students create documentaries featuring local businesses and tag them with mobile QR codes. The QR codes were displayed at the featured businesses, and provided patrons access to the student work. The whole process gave students the opportunity to write, produce, distribute, and promote their own work. Talk about a real-world project!
Teacher Vicki Davis, founder of Flat Classroom projects and blogger at the Cool Cat Teacher blog, educates other teachers about integrating technology into the classroom environment. She speaks for companies like Google and Discovery, and has great ideas on how to implement QR codes in the classroom.
Davis has her students use QR codes to link to virtual portfolios. For example, a student’s cover page would include a QR code that links to an online summary of his or her work for the year. From that summary, students create hyperlinks to blog post assignments, videos, and more. This idea is relevant even to those of us out of school, with professional portfolios.
Another interesting idea by Davis is to attach QR codes to trophies in the school’s trophy case. The high school at which she teaches has won numerous state championship awards. The QR codes link to videos taken at celebration assemblies and potentially the championship events themselves. Linking QR codes to school videos isn’t limited to sports events. For example, videos of lectures, school-wide assemblies with guest speakers, and the principal’s addresses to students could all be captured and distributed via QR codes.
QR codes are also a great way to provide supplemental information. This idea extends to homework assignments with QR codes that link to videos expounding on subject areas. For instance, a QR code could link to videos of historical research, analysis of advanced math problems, or recitations of French pronunciation.
Projects using QR codes are endless, and can be tweaked to suit each educator’s needs. As students grow up with this technology, the classroom environment will be expected to keep up.
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