Monday, July 4, 2011

Mobile Tool of the Week: QR Codes

When I saw the topic QR codes on the syllabus for my Mobile Learning class, I had no idea what the topic was about. My first reaction was that the term seemed to be some high-tech jargon that probably required more expertise than I was willing to learn. While I don't tend to back away from technology, I thought if it was anything like HTML code, then I'll stop right there. The thought of having to learn how to write specific codes to create web content scared me a little. Fortunately, I was wrong.

It turns out that QR codes are similar to barcodes, in that they are created to be scanned for information, but much more information can be stored within QR codes than in barcodes. They have already sprung up in advertising, and are beginning to find a niche in education. During my research to find out what this new tech gadget was, I found a wonderful resource that chronicles everything you need to know about QR codes and the possibilities of using them in the classroom.

  • QR Codes in Education binder- Simply, put it is a 3D barcode. It's a much more sophisticated version of the barcode on your bag of Lays Potato Chips. QR Codes are popping up everywhere and are gaining in popularity in education. So, I have been taking some time and doing a little digging about QR codes and trying to find some resources so you can get started using them...

While I still have yet to explore all the wonderful information within the above electronic resource, QR codes have made me think again about education in the 21st century. Knowledge is being created, formed, accessed, and shared in new ways. This predicates new ways of learning, as well as new ways of working. The way that I learned about QR codes is a good example. I had to know how to find information using the technology that I am afforded, and critique that information-checking for consistency and reliability. John Traxler (2007) explores this new way of learning, stating that, "learning that used to be delivered 'just-in-case,' can now be delivered 'just-in-time, just enough and just-for-me.' Finding information rather than possessing it or knowing it becomes the defining characteristic of learning generally and of mobile learning especially, and this may take learning back into the community." (

This new "mobile conception of society" confronts the old conception of teaching and learning, pedagogy and knowledge construction. As teachers, we must acknowledge this transformation of society and the fact that the way we teach may need to be transformed as well.

I still need to explore how I can use QR codes within my own teaching, deciding if they will bring value to the education of my students. But personally, I am excited about my next family reunion. I think our yearly scavenger hunt is about to be transformed.

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