Monday, August 27, 2012

QR Codes

I've been talking a lot to one of our fantastic school librarians about utilising QR Codes in the school library.  We decided that my class would have a go at creating QR Code reviews for our junior students.  As each class has 2 iPad 2's in their class, we thought that they could bring them to the library and use them to listen to reviews and recommendations about books.

After a bit of research and the amazing twitterverse I came across a site called QR Voice - which allows you to create voice QR Codes from text.  The only drawback is that it only allows 100 characters! Eek! But this worked out to be quite a fun element to creating our QR Code recommendations.

The following is the step through of the session for developing these in your class.

Developing Voice QR Codes using

Prior to the creating the QR Codes:

Session 1:
Spend some time together talking about QR Codes - have the students seen them before? Most of my students had seen them out and about but only 1-2 had knowledge of what they were for.  We talked about where we had seen them and then I showed the kids an example of what we were going to do.  This had them hooked in as they loved the QR Code scanning process.

Session 2:
The students self selected a text from our school library that they thought would be a great read for a Year 1/2 student.  This was done a week before the session.  This gave them time to read it in class and to a year 2/3 buddy throughout the week.  It helped them to be more familiar with the text - which is important.

Creating the QR Codes:

We came together around the data projector and went over what we know about QR Codes.  The kids were buddied up in pairs, selected by the teacher for a range of abilities.  Each part was broken up to allow the students to work through each element.  As groups of kids finished I ran quick workshops sharing the next stage.  This worked really well as it allowed us a group of finishers who became experts helping out other students etc.

Step 1 - Creating the recommendation/review

To create the review we encouraged kids to come up with 2-3 keywords from the story that explains the story and would make people want to read that story.  We talked a bit about who our audience was - 5/6 year olds and what would interest them.  We discussed genres and how that would help someone decide if it was a good book for them or not.  The key here is to also remember that will only allow 100 characters to be used for the QR Code it creates.

An example is the book Boy by Roald Dahl
(This was the class example I used with my year 5/6 students.  My students all used picture books aimed at year 1 and 2 students)

Keywords were:
Funny - funny stories
Tricks - Roald Dahl played a lot of tricks
Autobiography - Roald Dahl as a kid

The next step was to then use these keywords to create 2 sentences that landed under 100 characters.  They would form at least 2 sentences that used the keywords and recommended the book.


This autobiography is a great read for those that like funny stories and great tricks.

A great read for those people who like funny books, tricks, practical jokes and more in this great read.

An autobiography that shares Roald Dahls funny childhood. Tricks, practical jokes and more.  It's a must read!

From here they then used the 100 characters template to see if it would fit in 100 characters or less.

Step 2: Creating the QR Code

I created a folder on our server that contained everything the students needed for this session.  This included:

- A html link to the website
(To create this just click on the website address and drag it down to the desktop - it will give you an icon you can quickly click on to link to that website.)
- The 100 hundred characters template
- 100 hundred characters example
- QR Code Template
- Folder for finished QR Codes to go into

You could easily do all of this through google docs but for this session we used Pages as the placeholder for the QR codes.  It was easier to collate them all again at the end and print them.

Students went to QR Voice and typed in their recommendation.

When they were complete they clicked on the blue button to the side and their QR Code was created.

The students then took a screen shot of the QR Code ready for the next step.

The QR Code template was then opened up in Pages.  Students deleted the example QR Code and dropped their new QR Code in it's place.  They then updated the title of the book and reviewer.  Once this was complete the students used 'File' and 'Save As' to create their own saved QR Code into the finished folder.

To help step through this process I included the instructions again on the bottom of the QR Code template - this allowed the students another place to refer to when creating their codes.

An example of the template is below:

The kids then stuck them to the front of their books.  We have been using the class iPod and student devices to access the codes using QR Reader or i-nigma.  The kids have loved sharing their learning with each other and seeing the end product.

QRVoice is a great wee tool - the voice is a bit robotic but it's a bit of fun.  Our next step is to continue using them with our fotobabble book sells and book reviews on our class blogs and websites to share more reviews with our school.  I'm really keen to keep utilising voice and video with the QR Codes to allow access for a range of students across the school.

If you have any other questions please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

You are also able to download the 100 characters template here.


Helen Prescott said...

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for your fab post. Great idea for QR Codes. I've recently used these for recording similes with juniors. I will definitely try out the book reviews.
One tip I've found useful is in MS Word if you type the text you want, click at the bottom left of the screen on Words and it will give you a dialog box of Word count which includes character count. Much quicker than having to write out the words.

winterz said...

Great session at padcamp today. Thanks very much. Will be in touch. Michael W

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