School Communication and QR Codes… It’s too simple!
You have seen the pixilated black and white boxes on everything from movie posters to food products, but have you thought about using the techie little tools for school communication? QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are extremely simple to create and can be used for unique opportunities to give information to parents, students, and the community. Using a smart device (phone, iPad, iPod…) and a QR reader app (free to download) anyone can access your information quickly and store it for use later.
Smart devices are being purchased in record numbers, and more and more people (especially teens) will have one of these gadgets in their hands as they enter schools. Why not capitalize on the accessibility and put your school’s message into a QR code? With a few minutes and an easy to use QR generator, your school can be distributing information in the techie language that gets students’ attention.
By no means is the QR code going to “revolutionize” the educational scene, but it too easy not to use it as another way to reach our community. Here are the basic facts about QR codes, and a few great ideas on how to lead with them.
What Exactly is a QR Code?
QR Codes are 2 dimensional barcodes that are easily scanned using any modern mobile phone or Smart device. This code will then be converted into a piece of interactive text and/or link. The code can link to a website, video, text, documents, pictures, or maps.
Get a QR Code Reader
Most Smart devices will have a barcode scanner as an app which will read QR codes. In the readers, you can store favorite QR codes and share the information via social media or email. If you don’t have a smart device you can use a webcam and a desktop or laptop with a small download of a QR reader to read codes. Quick Mark is one example.
How to make your own QR code
There are many QR generators out there and new ones are popping up every month. Here are a few that got high marks.
- The Delivr QR Code Generator has a nice format and does a variety of information types. If you sign up, you can track how many times your QR code is scanned and used.
- The Qurify site is very popular and quick and easy. Just type in the website or text and click the button. It’s that easy!
- Google or goo.gl also has a QR code creator. It is easy to use and it actual creates a shortened URL for links at the same time. If you sign in to your account, you can also track the use of your code.
- QR Voice This site uses text-to-speech to make a QR code. First you type in text (up to 100 characters maximum). Then generate your code. When people scan it, they hear a synthesized voice reading your text.
- Create a Treasure hunt with QR codes using Classtools.net/QR
QR Ideas for School Leadership-Enjoy this list of 16 ways to join the QR craze.
- Basic Info-Create a QR code on the front door of the school that links to a welcome message, hours of operation, and the schools webpage.
- Video-Create a QR code that links to a You Tube welcome message for new students or for weekly or monthly “notes from the principal.” You can highlight upcoming events and school accomplishments in a very entertaining and personal way.
- Welcome QR Codes- Classrooms could have QR codes on the doors that link to the teacher contact info, class syllabus, and class website.
- Details- The student enrollment forms could contain a QR code that gave details about documents that need to be provided with enrollment or when open house for each grade level is happening.
- VCalendar Event Promotion- Put QR codes on all event posters that give detailed information about where and when an event is happening.
- Documents- Need to send out documents, but you don’t want to run hundreds of copies? Put the documents in a Dropbox account then in Dropbox get a public link to the file. Make that link a QR code and people can scan and have an electronic copy of your notes, handouts, or data in seconds.
- Take a poll-Use multiple QR codes for the different answers and parents or faculty can answer your poll by scanning the QR code that corresponds with the answer that they agree with.
- Maps-On athletic calendars, QR codes could be added to all away games that link directly to a map of the location.
- iTunes Voice message- Create a weekly or monthly MP3 recording of information about the school. Post the MP3 to iTunes and link to the location using a QR code. This code can be posted in a variety of formats for the community to access.
- VCard- Create a QR code that acts as a business card with your title, email, school address, school number and website. Put this QR code in email signatures and business cards.
- Virtual Tour- Create QR codes and post them around the school. New parents and students can walk and take a tour of the school and learn important information at every stop.
- QR Tags- QR codes can be placed on school materials that are loaned out of the building. The code will contain a note stating that the item is property of the school and should be returned to the address of the school.
- Data- Need to send updated information or link to artifacts of learning? Use one of the many graphing websites. Once the graph is created, use the URL to create a QR code that can be posted or sent out to the faculty.
- Wear it- Create a school QR code that has the school motto or logo or website. Print the QR code on t-shirts.
- Pictures- Drop student event pictures in Dropbox then make the picture public and QR the link.
- Twitter- Want more followers to your school Twitter account? Create a QR code and post it in the front office for all who enter the building to see.
Have an idea for QR’s in the school setting? Share them with us firstname.lastname@example.org