Monday, May 16, 2011

Will we be burying QR codes soon, or just using them to bury a loved one?

I recently presented at a small technology conference about the usefulness of QR codes in an educational setting. I would like to think that I sparked people's interest with something we are starting to see in our magazines. The night before I was second guessing if people would even get what the presentation was about, and then I got home and in my mail I saw a Bath and Body Works add with a QR code in the bottom corner. Well that just made me want to show everyone that this might actually be here to stay.

I am almost convinced that QR codes are not just a fade that we will be dismissing in education, before people really knew what they were. In the United States we are just now starting to see these bar codes, when they have been around in places like Japan for about ten years. That alone should reassure people that we will be seeing these for quite sometime. Japan has had phones to read these for much longer, and this country starts to continues to be infatuated with smartphones, more and more people will use a QR codes to get information instantly.

This just blew me away when I read it, but I can see it catching on. If you have ever lost a loved one, how many times have you watched old videos of them? Or listened to a voice message they left?

How could this enhance a students trip to a museum. IT would give us the ability to see video and hear more about things while learning about it. This could easily turn an ordinary text book into a semi-interactive text book. If a code was just placed on the proper, page or picture what other information could a student learn about a subject?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Qr Codes In Your Classroom

I have talked a little bit about how I am using QR codes for math. I started here because it was the first subject I thought could make tutorials that worked. Most people learn a math concept from seeing it demonstrated. My students are taking their chapter test tomorrow on the concepts they learned using the QR codes. I am interested to see if their scores were higher then other math tests. Since it seemed to work so well, I started brainstorming on how I could use this in other subjects.

Reading- what if I made a few videos that modeled good reading strategies. I think this could be useful at a independent reading center during guided reading. If I want them to practice marking words they don't know, or predicting what might happen later in the text. I also think a few tutorials could be good on how to read nonfiction v. fiction.

Language Arts- Mini-grammar lessons

Science- short videos of microscope pictures could be very helpful during a lab. Also a tutorial of frog dissection might help them know what they are looking at while dissecting the frog.

I would love to hear any other ideas out there.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Math Centers with QR codes

I should have known that when I first heard about QR codes that I would be in love. I have always been fascinated with things that scan. When I was 6 all I wanted was a Playskool Cash register that would scan the play food. I never got one, but thought the next best things was to work at a grocery store, because they got to scan things all day long. As I got older I realized that that was not my calling, but I still wanted to scan stuff so the days the librarian is gone at school and I get to check out my students books is wonderful.

Then I was introduced to QR codes and I was in a true state of wonderment, I can be a teacher and scan things perfect! I just had to figure out how I was going to do this to enhance student learning. I know people are doing things with flipping their classrooms. Students watch lessons at home for homework, and then come to school and do what was once considered the homework. I could send my students home with a sheet of QR codes and have them watch the tutorials on their smartphones or ipod touches. The is would be perfect if all my students had these devices. I would say only 1/3 of my class has the devices they would need for this idea. That is when I thought that they could be working in a style similar to what many teachers use for guided reading, learning centers.

I wanted to start with math because in my head this is what I thought would be the best area I could make short tutorials. We are working on adding and subtracting integers and plotting ordained pairs on a coordinate plane. I made three videos one for each concept and posted them to a youtube channel I set up. I then got to work connecting them to a QR code. Which is where I hit the roadblock I talked about in my last post. I contacted my tech director Jay, and he contacted a youtube aficionado, and we figured out the problem, which I'll share in another post.

I now had QR codes for each concept printed, and in a page protector. I divided up my class into groups of three, because I know they get goofy with bigger groups. I gave each group a QR code, ipod touch, headphones, and worksheets practicing the problems. I walked around in case they still needed help and watched the magic take place.

I know there is something behind flipping your classroom, and for those who might be skeptical it was proven today in my classroom. One student who struggles in math and can be a more difficult child amazed me today. I for one am not a strong math teacher, I have never taught math before, so this year I have been learning most of the 6th math over again. I have a father who is amazing at math and taught it in 6th grade for the last 15 years before he retired. I use him for ideas often. To start with subtracting integers is confusing, and about half my students were still lost after the first day of the lesson. So I called in reinforcements and my dad came the next day to explain it in a different way. My struggling student decided that he knew how to do this, wasted instruction time, tuned out, and made an alphabet book. He of course could not do the homework and get frustrated, even when I tried teaching him again one on one. In a five minute youtube tutorial taught by me he understood it and did the whole worksheet. WHAT!!!!

This generation of students have grown up learning things in this way. As educators we talk a lot of moving away from lecturing, which I guess the tutorial can be considered, but more time was spent learning hands on then listening. I also know that some of you, or my one reader could say that I didn't have them working on a project because they had worksheets, but that is my next goal. I want them to be working on real life issues or problems, and using the tutorials if the forget how to perform the tasks needed for the bigger picture to be solved.

Here is one of the videos I used.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Frustrated and Looking for Help!

I have shared a little bit of how I am exploring the use of QR codes in my classroom. I started by making a QR code that was connected to my school website. I used Kaywa QR Code Generator (sorry I can't get it to hyperlink the url right now either, this is not my night) to make the code and printed it out. I taped it onto the wall outside my door and tried it out with a fellow teacher. Much to my surprise it did work. My first thoughts were maybe we had a bad QR code reader app. Another teacher walked by and I asked her to try it with her phone. IT WORKED!

Maybe it was my app, so I downloaded the one she was using (NeoReader). My next goal was to record a few tutorials to use during math this week. I want my students to work in groups on an assignment while I teach a new concept to another group. I wanted them to have a quick tutorial to watch if they had a question, or needed to review a already learned concept. I thought I would us a QR code to connect the students to the youtube tutorial that I uploaded. I used the same generator, saved the image to my desktop and printed it out. Yet again though, when I used my ipod touch to read the code a error message came up saying youtube would not load.

This time the problem looks to be with the url I took from youtube. I was a little to frustrated at this point to try again, after working on it for a few hours, so I decided to write this blog pleading for thoughts and help!

If you have a helpful thought please share what I can do to make this work!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

QR Codes and My New Journey With Them

I want to start using QR codes more and more in my classroom.  I think ( and a big emphasis on think) it will help me move more and more into the direction of a student centered classroom.  My first thought when I was first introduced to QR codes during ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) I thought they were cool, but had no idea how I could utilize them.  So I did some research, and to my surprise my dear learning network, twitter, came through for me with more ideas than I can handle.

So I am going to start small and work my way up to a room full of QR codes.  I have pulled some ideas of these websites. 

I like the idea of using them for book reviews.   I also like the thought os using them for math centers reviewing how to work out a problem. 

I will be updating as I move through this process.  Wish me luck, or give me your thoughts!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Final Presentation

How a professional learning community can use technology to learn how to integrate technology into their classrooms.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Social Presence

When thinking of creating a social presence for online learning a thought that came to mind was that students might not need to be schooled in this as much as teachers.  Reading this article I realized that students have grown up in this world of online social networks.  They welcome people in by accepting their friendship, or joining a group.  As we move to online classrooms, and Web 2.0 tools to help further learning as teachers/facilitators we need to make sure everyone is welcome and that all participants are feel important to the discussions. I have used a educational social networking site called to hold discussions, and allow my students to electronically turn in their homework.  This website gives me new things to think about in how I introduce my students to this site, and making sure a good social presence is established.