Thursday, July 3, 2014

Meet Your Teachers, With QR Codes!

The more I immerse myself in educational apps, BYOD, and the latest online toys, the more I try and find ways to sneak them in to what I teach and where I teach. 

This past spring, one of my colleagues decided to put together a display in our front foyer introducing the familiar faces within our school (teachers, office staff, counsellors, custodians, cafeteria staff, etc.) to the new grade 9s entering the school in September. She envisioned a yearbook-style display with photos and names so the students feel more at ease and put faces to names on their timetables.

Can you find Pippen, the empathy dog that ate our scavenger hunt clue??

But why not kick it up an notch??

So we added a little extra touch: beside everyone's name is a QR code that links to information about each teacher (that we collected from everyone through a Google Form), so not only can new (and old) students see who their teachers are, they can also learn a little bit about each of them.

Scan the codes to see what kind of information the teachers are sharing!

Why a QR code??

  • They don't clutter up the display - they each have potentially a lot of information, but we don't have to worry about fitting all that information by everyone's picture!
  • They are dynamic - thanks to suggestions by @robert_kahlman and @MahfuzaLRahman, each QR code (created with a Chrome add-on) links to a Google Doc, so I can change someone's information on the fly without needing to print off a new QR code!
  • They will (hopefully!) make students take more notice of the board - instead of just giving it a passing glance, I'm hoping students stop, scan, share with friends, compare teachers, etc. The codes make the display so much more interactive.
  • They will introduce students to another way to use their devices - not many know what a QR code is or how to scan one. This will give them one more tool in their BYOD arsenal. We've included "how-to-scan" information with the display too.
  • This also introduced teachers to the idea of QR codes! When I pitched the idea at a staff meeting, many of the teachers had never heard of a QR code before or knew how to scan one. With more teachers using the technology, it might creep in to more classroom activities too.

The only downfall? As it is now, the codes are too small/too far from the viewers to be scanned properly. I'll be printing out another copy of the names with the QR codes to list down either side of the main display that the students can get right up to the codes to scan them.

I'm excited to see what students (and staff!) do with this display in the fall as the new semester starts up. Next step - a little augmented reality embedded in the photos? :)

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