SAMR provides a really useful taxonomy to reflect on how a form of educational technology enhances learning. If you haven’t come across it before Candance M has an excellent explanation of Puentedura’s SAMR taxonomy on YouTube.
When I’ve discussed QR codes with colleagues, I’ve often seen them as nothing more than a substitute for providing students with resources. Instead of printing out worksheets or information we give students the same information which can be accessed via a QR code. Essentially, learning is not enhanced and the QR code becomes a convenience tool. Instead of a worksheet or a textbook the 2D barcode reveals the same exact information after it is scanned.
Yet the QR code can be a powerful tool to enhance or transform learning if it is used effectively. Here are five ways to deploy it to improve learning:
1. Interactive Display Walls
A great way to differentiate by support is to have a wall display that meets the needs of students. For example, literacy is a major issue in my school so I created a display wall of QR codes that linked to YouTube videos dealing with specific literacy problems (using commas, adding apostrophes, applying technical vocabulary and so on…). If a student has a specific literacy problem, I hand them an iPad and instruct them to scan the relevant codes on the wall to support their specific literacy needs. I even found some worksheets around the internet to support them as they watched the videos. If this is a resource that you would like you can click here to download the Literacy Display and then put it up in your classroom. Thank you to all the people I took resources from to make the collection!
2. Link to interactive resources
If you have a 1:1 policy or a BYOD policy you will want students to access innovative resources, and these are often only available through a web browser. If this is the case a QR code can be the simplest way to get students to access them. In the classroom I hate hearing “I’ve put the website in wrong…” or “does that have to be a capital letter in the address?”. If you want all students to access a Padlet for collaboration or to examine a list of websites, it is infinitely smoother if you scatter QR codes on desks and don’t give them a URL to type.
3. Change the way that you design worksheets
While the worksheet is often branded as the antithesis of innovative teaching, the use of QR codes can seriously enhance their use as an educational resource. If a student is struggling with a problem a list of QR codes to YouTube videos or tutorials can be placed along the side of the sheet and students can access these as they need to. Students then take ownership over their own differentiation and, with careful guidance, choose videos that meet their own needs.
4. Google Forms and Assessment for Learning
While Socrative allows you to set instant quizzes for AfL, sometimes you want the detailed and flexible data provided by a Google Form. If every child has access to a mobile device you can give them a QR code to take an automated test or assessment on Google Forms. Afterwards, their answers are instantly analysed and you are provided with instant feedback on the progress of your students at any point in a lesson.
5. Marking and feedback
For long and extended pieces of work it is possible to take a photograph of it on an iOS device and to record yourself talking, as you mark a piece of work, using the app ExplainEverything. This provides students with rich and clear feedback that they can immediately act on. If you use the app to upload the finished video file to Google Drive (or Google Apps for Education) you can then share the video with the public, and then print and place a QR code that links to the video on the work of the student. Then students just scan the QR code to receive detailed and careful feedback with no fuss in lessons.by