Monday, March 14, 2011

QR Codes

QR codes or Quick Response codes were developed during the 1990's but have only recently become popular with the increased use of  mobile phones. This lesson involves publishing book reviews and applying the QR code to the book so it can be read by other patrons. 

Fifth graders wrote book reviews in the classroom and saved them in Google docs or Word. I had students put the reviews on their blog, generate a QR code, and put the QR code on the book in the library. Using an iTouch, the students scan the QR code which then goes to the URL with their book review. 

  • Lesson Activity

Materiels: laptops, scissors, tape, iTouch, QR code example

 To begin, students put their reviews on their blogs. Many copied the URL incorrectly on this step. This only happened when we published the blogs and created the QR codes on the same day or during the same 45 minute lesson. Many students copied the preview page of the blog or didn't hyperlink to the book review page. I taught this lesson to six 5th grade classes and once I required students to check with me after publishing their review did the errors go down to a manageable amount.

The second part of the lesson involved students opening a QR code generator at (I used DyKnow to push the URL codes to the students which saved time.) There are many codes available, I just chose this one because the Jeff Utecht, instructor of our technology class, suggested it. This QR code generator has the http:// already in the link. Make sure students delete it. Many pasted their URL in the box and had two "http://"s which caused the code to not work. Also, tell students to choose the "S" for a small code. When printing choose the box "Pages 1"; otherwise two pages will print and quite a bit of paper is wasted. Have students who finish first help other students. I saw some nice peer mentoring going on with this lesson.

Make sure students check their QR code after it is generated. This is when they find out whether or not it works. Then students can search for the book, cut it out,  and paste it on the book .

To build on this lesson I'm thinking of having 4th graders find the QR codes on the books and read 5th graders book reviews. I will have to set-up stations for this because I only have one iTouch. According to Jeff Utecht's blog on QR codes, I could download a QR code reader that works with a webcam.

Below is a 30 second video showing students using the iTouch, finding their book, and taping the code onto the book.



  1. This is a fabulous use of QR codes in the elementary years and an especially great way to generate traffic on the kids' blogs. My students get so excited when they get hits from outside of our classroom and writing reviews that they know people at our school will read will be very motivating. I hope you don't mind me "borrowing" this idea!

    It's amazing to see the different levels of understanding across generations. When I first showed a QR code (which led to the website of an organization we are raising money for) the kids knew exactly what to do with it. But when I first showed my dad, who considers himself to be very tech savvy, he had never seen one before. Now he shows them to me every time he sees one. What is amazing to my father is everyday stuff for my students. Amazing.
    Thanks again,

  2. Barb, thank you so much for this very practical description of how to use QR with 5th/6th graders! I have to admit that even though I "get" QR technology, since I never use them in my real life (time to get an iPhone?), it's been hard for me to imagine a good purpose for taking the time to use them with this age group. Besides being a great way to share student-written book reviews, what you have done seems like such an ideal way to help students wrap their heads around how the Web works. As you said, they have to get their URLS just right in order for this to work. Plus, you are increasing traffic to student blogs...when you have a whole grade level (or two, or twelve!) blogging, you have so many blogs that need to be visited!