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QR Codes in Education: Reach and Engage Students in Learning

Engaging student in active learning is a continual quest for most educators. What follows are links to one under used tool which educators can leverage to increase student engagement and, we hope, student learning. In addition to a brief explanation of QR Codes and QR Generators, I’ve also included several sites where educators have successfully used QR coding in a variety of ways to engage their students in learning. Not every method discussed may be appropriate for your student, but with a little imagination, you can probably tweak enough of the offerings to justify the time you invest in reading this article. To increase that likelihood I’ve added a bonus method at the end.

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. The information encoded by a QR code may be made up of four standardized types (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary, Kanji) or, through supported extensions, virtually any type of data. The QR code when scanned with the camera of a mobile device such as an iPad, Android tablet, or smartphone can transfer video, web links, text and email addresses amongst other digital content quickly and easily to users.

What is most impressive about the QR code is that it is free; all that is needed is a free QR Code generator. In addition to the many instructional videos available on that detail exactly how to create QR codes, below are two sites that list some of the top QR code generators. Those with “*” indicate QR generators that have appeared on multiple lists as most preferred or highly rated.
*Kaywa QR Code
*BeeTagg QR Generator
ZXing Project
Online Qr Lab
*Kaywa QR Code
*BeeTagg QR Generator
QR Stuff
The QR Code Generator

Exploring The Educational Potential of QR Codes by Joe Dale (
Popular with advertisers and marketing companies, QR codes give readers an immediate opportunity to visit a website to find out more information about a range of facts, products and services.

For schools that have invested in iPads or tablets as learning tools or allow their students to bring in their own devices (BYOD), QR codes have proven to be a great timesaver for sharing links and distributing information en masse. Projecting large QR codes on a screen so they can be scanned from around the class makes it easy for students to access the same content on their own devices and interact with it individually instead of passively looking at the interactive whiteboard.

5 Real Ways To Use QR Codes In Education by Nick Grantham (

Book Reviews: One of the best ideas I have heard for using QR codes is in the school library. QR codes are created for specific books, linking to reviews, trailers, or additional resources.

QR Code Orienteering: Create an orienteering course where each checkpoint is a QR code. As students check-in (scan the code) the virtual treasure map will unfold, with each code being a clue to find the next.

Multimedia Content: A popular use for QR codes in education is to add multimedia content to hard copy pages. It is kind of like a stepping-stone on our way to fully digitized textbooks and worksheets.

Solutions And Tutorials: A practical and fun application for QR codes is a modern version of answers being written in the back of the book. By placing answers to questions online and linking with QR codes, students can attempt their own solutions before using the code to review the correct answer. Not only is this a novel way for students to look up answers, it once again lets teachers use interactive media to present solutions in a more thorough and engaging manner.

QR Codes On School Equipment: QR codes let us link physical objects in the real world with digital assets online. This is very useful as we can now attach all sorts of additional information to equipment to assist in use.

Ways to Use QR Codes for Education by Christy Crawford
For the complete list visit ( The following ideas are focused more toward HigherEd interactions.

1. Become a museum curator. Bring a President’s Day, Black History Month, or Women’s History Month bulletin board to life with QR codes. Place the code linking to compelling video or audio and/or a short quiz underneath images

3. Is there a special basket, bin, or shelf in your library devoted to an author? Use a QR code on that basket, bin, or shelf to instantly pull up videos of the author discussing their life, their favorite books, or tips on writing

6. Eliminate math phobia. Send home how-to videos for “scary” math problems by adding QR codes to homework sheets. Nervous parents will get at-home assistance and students will appreciate the review.


Bonus: Virtual Introductions. When staff or faculty are in class session and therefor unavailable to introduce themselves to perspective students, a QR code can reclaim a missed opportunity. Similar to a self-guided tour, the staff and faculty can generate a short introductory video with a brief bio and other information of interest linked to a QR code. Perspective students, parents, or campus guides can scan the QR code and use their mobile device to get a brief introduction from staff and faculty.

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