QR codes are everywhere nowadays: on cereal packets, posters, adverts, TV, websites, etc, etc. More and more schools are using these little codes to enrich the learning experience of their pupils. They are free to create and the software to read them is also free. They can be read using tablets, phones and laptops and can contain text or link to any online resource. Here are 50 (and counting...) ideas for how to use them in your school.

  1. Add them to pupil displays. Get the pupils to design their own web page with extra information about the piece of work that they've created. Exciting for the children and useful for parents evenings or visitors to the school

  2. Print them next to 3D shapes with a question, such as how many vertices do I have? The children guess the answer and then scan the code to see if they are correct.

  3. Place them on a work sheet which links to a PDF file. The children use a tool such as neu.Annotate+ PDF on their tablets which lets them annotate the PDF and then either print or save it.

  4. Create your own interactive adventure story around the school. When the children scan a code, it gives them part of the story and they have to make a choice about what they want to do next in the story. For example, you are in room with a fireplace and a door. Scan code A if you want to light the fire, or code B if you want to go through the door.

  5. Stick QR codes on a book in the library. When someone scans the QR code, it takes them to an online review of the book, either video or otherwise. Note that QR readers also read normal barcodes, so this can be done already without any work. The QR reading software will take the reader to Amazon, or another online resource, where they can read a review.

  6. Make the QR codes talk to you using QR Voice. Go to the website, tell it what you want it to say and it will produce a QR code for you. Place it wherever you want to do whatever you want. Could be used for a class museum, interactive displays or anything that you can imagine!

  7. Personalise the QR codes using your school's logo, using a service such as QR Hacker. You can also add an image behind them, change their colour to make them more interesting or make them look really unusual using a service like Unitag.

  8. In your school garden, stick laminated QR codes next to the plants so that the children can identify what the plants are.

  9. Link the QR codes to Google Forms. The students go on a treasure hunt, scanning the QR codes which link to a Google Form. They are asked a question which they enter in the form. The answers can then be saved in Google Drive and marked automatically.

  10. Give children stickers with QR codes on for homework so that they don't lose them. The QR codes on the stickers could link to a website for them to complete a task or their spellings for the week.

  11. Science experiments or maths methods can be videoed and a QR code put around the class room so that the students can scan and refer to them when they need to.

  12. Get the children to locate the QR codes using X-Note. Note that a lot of ipads don't have GPS capabilities, so please check whether yours do or not before investing time in this.

  13. For EAL children, QR codes up with information in their own language. This could be text based or spoken, using a podcast recorded by a native speaker.

  14. Give each child their own QR code. They can scan it, it takes them to a Google form where they can do a number of things, such as enter what they want for dinner, or take out a library book.

  15. Put the a QR code in a parent newsletter to take the parents to a particular website, such as anti-bullying week or websites for practicing their maths homework.

  16. Put a list of popular websites up in the classroom along with the QR codes. The children scan the QR codes to be taken there. Could be useful for online services that the school subscribes to.

  17. Put an extension on the class assignment as a QR code. This motivates the children to finish and try out the extension.

  18. Vote using the QR code. Give the children a list of choices and they can vote for them using the QR code and an online service such as Demoqracy. Alternatively, you can track how many people have accessed your code using snap.vu

  19. Promote sensitive topics. If there is a confidential event running in the school, then not everyone wants to be seen writing down the details. Create a website about the event and point a QR code to it for the student to scan.

  20. Give access to your wireless network. Put up a QR code with the SSID, password and type of security embedded as text.

  21. If you've added something new and interesting to your school website, put up the QR code on the notice board for students to scan.

  22. Put a QR code up at your classroom window. Point it to your class blog so that parents can see what you've been doing.

  23. Create an online gallery for all the children's artwork that couldn't fit on the walls and link to it using a QR code.

  24. In maths, provide a set of data along with a QR code. The QR code will take the children to an online graphing resource where they can create their own graphs.

  25. Colour code your QR codes for different subjects/areas. This makes it easier to organise lots of them in your school.

  26. Stick QR codes in the children's books so that visitors or subject leaders can see the work without having to print it out.

  27. Replace written targets in the children's books with QR codes. This allows them to scan the code and have the target read back to them.

  28. Put QR codes up in the school reception. Could link to videos of school productions, music compositions, online yearbooks or audio/video feedback from pupils about the school.

  29. Use QR codes in PE lessons. Children watch videos of the skill that they are practising, record themselves practising the skill and then compare the two videos.

  30. Assign groups their own lino-it workspace. They can then print out the QR code from the workspace and access it whenever they need to remind themselves of anything that was contributed.

  31. Set up a class shop. Give each item a QR code (like in a real shop) and then put the price of the item as the text on the code. This could be extended by having a sale and asking children to either increase or reduce the prices by 10%.

  32. In MFL lessons, give the children words in the target language and in english, along with a QR code which links to a podcast with the correct pronunciation.

  33. In cooking lessons, cookery demonstrations could be recorded and made available to students to view online.

  34. Give the children a QR code. Explain that their spelling list is on it. They need to scan it with their ipads and then copy down their vocabulary lists. So much more fun than copying it off the board!

  35. Set up a sequence of activities using QR codes. Students scan the codes, perform whatever activity is required and then move to the next code to find out what their activity is. This could be themed around a special event, history, geography, PE, PSHE or whatever you fancy. Include parents as well during a craft day or grandparents day.

  36. Put QR codes up in your classroom for positive reinforcement. If they have done well, tell them to scan QR code 5 and the message might say "Super work today - I'm really proud of you." It is so much more exciting for a student to get out of their seat, scan a code and see the response on their screen than to be simply told that they've done well.

  37. In the library, add a QR code to a book about a historical figure and link it to a video about their life. Imagine picking a book about John Lennon off the shelf, scanning the QR code and the ipad playing a video of "Imagine". Alternatively, link it to an author's biography, their website or an audio snippet from the book.

  38. Create an audio recording of a book review by different members of the class and put a QR code linking to the book review on the display (or next to the books on the class bookshelf)

  39. Have a video link with someone from another location. Get them to show a QR code on the screen during the session with educational information about themselves or their location and get the children to look at it during or after the video link. Or have a video link with another school. Get them to make recordings about their school and share them via a QR code on the video link.

  40. Give the children a QR code to scan in a phonics lesson that links to a particular sound that they need to learn.

  41. Sports day information or athletics/sports team results can be posted online and then linked to via a QR code.

  42. Stimulate oral storytelling using QR codes. Using a map of the school, children plot various points and put up QR codes in these places. These QR codes link to pictures that are part of the story. They then use an overlay on top of the school map which shows a different landscape (maybe a forest with a dragons lair) and has a quest associated with it. Other children can then follow their maps, scan their QR codes and tell their own stories. More details here

  43. Include QR codes on parent's SATs/GCSE revision packs so that parents can access revision resources.

  44. Link to a location on Google Maps or Google Earth using a QR code. The coordinates for the location can be found by looking up the location on Wikipedia. You could also link this to a maths map activity in your local area.

  45. Children's reading books that they take home could have a QR code in them that linked to reading comprehension questions about the books, more information about the book or author or games to do with the book.

  46. Attach a QR code to a physical object to find out more information about it. For example, stick QR codes on a skeleton and the students scan them to watch videos about the different parts of the anatomy.

  47. Create a QR code for something out of the ordinary like sending an SMS or email, linking to an app to download, tweeting or creating a calendar event using this great website. In addition to creating QR codes, it also contains Data Matrix and Aztec Codes which some QR readers can read too.

  48. Students create their own problems in maths and then create a web resource with their problem on it (website, audio, video, etc.) The other students scan the QR codes and try to solve the problems. Answers could be recorded as comments on a personal blog or on Google Sheets.

  49. Go on a Scavenger hunt around the library. The QR codes give clues and the children have to find the answers in the books around the room.

  50. Make dice out of QR codes - one on each face. Children scan whichever face it lands on. The information retrieved could be a question, a video or a task. If you use your own website to host the content for your QR code then you can change it at will and create new games/activities whenever you want.

  51. For ordering activities in maths (such as ordering fractions) put QR codes on the other side of the items to be ordered. The children can check whether they are correct or not by scanning the QR code on the back which tells them where it should be (eg. 6th)

If I come across any more ideas, I'll update this article.

Handy Tips

Here are some more handy tips that I've picked up on my travels too:

Use a url shortener such as goo.gl to generate a shortened url and this will create the QR code for you too, if you append the url with .qr Create your own website using Wink Site and it creates a QR code for you automatically.

Lastly, remember that QR codes are easy to create and free too. They only need to be 1 inch all around so don't take up a lot of space either :) Introduce QR codes into your classrooms and reap the benefits of being able to take your students to an interactive learning session, every single day.


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