QR Codes have been around for some time, but my tiny mind couldn’t work out how a series of random black and white patterns in a square could translate into web-based content. I was scared of the concept, for surely this wasn’t physically possible? Clearly there was some kind of majicks at work: demonic spells or voodoo jiggery-pokery? How could a Smartphone take a photo of something Mondrian or Matisse would have been proud of then ‘turn it into’ a web page? How? If I take a photo of my mum my browser doesn’t then take me to random web pages or display a previously hidden message on screen! Unable to make any sense of this witchcraft, I ignored the whole concept. Until 3 weeks ago that is, when I stumbled upon an app for the BlackBerry whilst looking for something completely different. Finally admitting to myself that this was something I really did need to know about, what with being someone who is supposed to know about stuff like this, I downloaded the app.
QR Code Scanner Pro is a free application and one that’s dead easy to use. Find a QR code, open the app, point phone at QR code, wait a few seconds, phone vibrates to show that it’s picked up the code, look at phone screen, go directly to the web page linked to QR code or read the message the code was hiding in its monochromatic frame on-screen. Bob’s your uncle etc.
Having captured several codes (mostly from bottles of vodka, cider and lager, admittedly) I started to wonder what else these black and white images could be used for. I’d viewed web pages that gave code-capturers entry to competitions and access to special offers, so was keen to see how they could be used in education. Here’s a few of barely formed ideas I’ve come up with:
· Treasure hunts / information quests / guided tours. Good for orientation, Problem Based Learning, investigations or just getting learners out of their seats and out and about enjoying our balmy (barmy?) summer weather. Need to think about this a lot more, but I sense there’s something there…
· QR codes as profile pictures that can link to the user’s personal website, ePortfolio, blog or online business card. Or even traditional business cards….
· Quizzes? Not sure how, but I can see a possible way of doing this. Again, need to find out more….
Qurify www.qurify.com is really simple to use and it’s free. Type the message or URL of your choice into a window, press the ‘qurify’ button and a QR code is produced in a couple of seconds. The code can then be emailed to contacts, printed as a hard copy or converted to a JPEG or PNG file. Just need to work out what I want to do now…if anyone out there has any ideas, please do let me know. So I can steal them..!