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Many people today are familiar with the square matrix barcode called a QR code. Since its inception in 1994 by Toyota’s subsidiary, Denso Wave, QR codes have been used by businesses, organizations and individuals worldwide. Your parcel delivery company uses them to track your packages. Businesses use them to label their products and inform you about their business. You have probably seen or even scanned some of these codes in magazines, on flyers, or in restaurants. But have you seen them in school?
Jodi Fritzsche, K-5 Spanish teacher, has incorporated the use of QR codes in her classes. With a combination of multiple apps and web sites, Mrs. Fritzsche is creating a variety of educational activities and resources for the students, using QR codes. Some of the QR codes take students to her Google Drive account where she has created Google Forms for them to fill out, in Spanish. Whether it be answers to research they do or describing what they see, students use the Spanish keyboard on their iPads. As they type in their answers in the box provided, spell-checker corrects the misspelled words. “In addition to learning the correct words to use, this feature helps the students to learn the Spanish spelling of the word as well.” said Mrs. Fritzsche.
Another use of QR codes Mrs. Fritzsche has created are listening codes. With the listening codes, Mrs. Fritzsche records her voice, in Spanish, using vocaroo.com. Through a multi-step process, she is able to record her voice, save it into iTunes, upload it into Google Drive, and create an URL that she then makes into a QR code. Students scan the QR code, listen to her directions, and then draw, color, or write what she has asked them to do. She creates these listening codes for kindergarten through fifth grade, with more advanced instructions for the upper level grades.
Students use these activities to review vocabulary and grammar, but are also learning how the words are put together. When Mrs.
Fritzsche records her voice, asking the students to draw a picture of a girl, wearing an orange dress, in a blue car, with her family, listening and singing to music, they are being exposed to sentence structure and the flow of the Spanish language, in addition to the words they are learning. Spanish numbers, colors, objects, and actions are used regularly in these QR activities. The QR codes can be used for more than just class activities. Providing additional information posted inside or outside the classroom, or even for testing are other possible uses of QR codes. “Another benefit of developing QR code activities is that I now have emergency sub plans, if the need arises.” she said.
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Mrs. Fritzsche has found many resources to help her create QR codes. In addition to vocaroo.com mentioned above, she also uses qrstuff.com quite often. This web site allows her to create QR codes from a variety of data types such as URLs, YouTube videos, iTunes links, Google Maps, and Dropbox. She can even make the QR codes different colors than black, which helps with younger students who cannot read. Through her search for resources, Mrs. Fritzsche also found a way to create QR codes within Google Spreadsheets.
While QR codes have been around for 20 years, the use of them in the educational arena is increasing, especially with the growth of 1:1 devices and the improvements in what the QR code can represent. These codes can be used in any subject area and at any grade level. Scavenger hunts, the daily schedule, articles, videos, vocabulary, math problems, science experiments…the opportunities are endless. Mrs. Fritzsche’s Spanish classes are a great example of how QR codes can be incorporated into the learning process for students.