November 28, 2014

NEW Tech Talk: QR Codes

I'm joining Tasia from Great Minds Teach Alike for her brand new monthly Tech Talk linky.

I really enjoy classroom technology, from low tech finger flashlights and simple DVD players to high tech computers, tablets, and Smartboards. I'm game for just about anything! So when I first began to see those nifty little QR Codes popping up on TpT products I was intrigued. What were they for? I knew that QR Codes were used for prices and product information but beyond that? Teaching materials? OH YEAH!

With a QR Code you can make a task card self-checking. With a QR Code you can easily paste a URL to a homework assignment so that students can access a website without having to input the address and stand a chance of making a typo. With QR Codes you can turn a set of ho hum questions into a fun activity. With QR Codes you can link an instructional video in a page of student directions. The possibilities for using QR Codes in a classroom are limitless.

First, however, you do have to be able to create the code, and second your students have to be able to read the codes. The reading part is probably the easier of the two requirements. Today most classrooms have access to an iPad/tablet that has a barcode reader installed. Additionally, students have their own tablets, iPads, and iPods onto which they can quickly install a barcode reader. Simply use this scanner (hold the device over the code) to reveal what the QR Code represents.

You can try it yourself. Here is a task card from my newest set, Seasonal Sound Spellings. Open a barcode reader on your Smartphone, tablet, or other personal device. Hold it over the code so that it appears in the window. VOILA! You'll have the answer to the item on the task card.

In order to utilize the codes within your teaching materials you will need to use a QR Code generator. I prefer one called Quick Mark.

Scan to go to the QuickMark site.
Once you're there, you have several options: generating codes online or downloading the app to your phone, tablet, or pc. We're going to make a QR code online. Click Create Barcodes at the top and you'll arrive here.

Let's create a code that contains a writing prompt. Click on TEXT in the far right column under the heading OTHER. A text input box will appear. Type in a writing prompt such as What are some things that your family does to prepare for the Christmas holidays? Then click the green generate button. VOILA! You've created a code that you can download in your choice of formats. I prefer PNG as these files will retain their crispness as you enlarge or decrease their size.

Now all you have to do is insert the code you have downloaded into your teaching document, notebook file, powerpoint presentation, etc. just as you do any other image file. One item of interest: If you like COLOR, you might like to download QuickMark to your computer. There are options for making your code either red, blue, or green beside the typical black. There is even a paid online version that allows you to really colorize your codes!

Before you leave to visit other Tech Talk posts, please be sure to read this QR Code!


  1. I made myself create a QR code answer sheet about a month ago, and I was amazed by how easy it was!! Now I am hooked!

  2. Great Post! Very informative thanks for being so detailed. Thank you so much for linking up!

  3. I have recently started using QR codes in my classroom (I was a hold out) but I LOVE them. I just created biome posters with QR codes and LOVE the fact that the kids can access information from mutliple safe sites and learn independently in their small groups which enbles me to focus more on my small groups. Thanks for sharing these resources. I will have to check out the QR code generator that you suggested.

    Thanks again.



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