Sometimes the only way to make progress is to leave something behind.
For Boss’s Day, my office staff at Howe Elementary in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., gave me the book QR Codes in Education by David Hopkins. In it, Hopkins describes those ubiquitous squares we see everywhere as being “like a barcode, but [containing] more data than just a number string.”
When scanned, QR (short for “Quick Response”) codes connect users to websites, phone numbers, videos — nearly anything that can be digitized. Throughout his book, Hopkins provides several examples of how schools can utilize these codes to provide a link “between the printed world and the online electronic one.”
Here are three ways we have started using QR codes at our school to connect school and home.
Every year, we survey our families to find out how they prefer for our school to communicate with them. The weekly classroom newsletters have consistently proved to be the most popular. Parents like receiving news on paper, but paper can be digitally enhanced with a QR code, so we tried it out on our school newsletter. I entered the web address for our school blog (where we also post our newsletters) into Google’s URL shortener (found at goo.gl), which created a QR code for the web address.
Once the newsletter went out, I was able to go back to goo.gl and check how many times a parent scanned this code. Not too many clicks yet, but it’s a start.
My staff recently had a school social. We created flyers and posted them in all the common areas, such as the teachers’ lounge and the copy room. When scanned, the QR code embedded in this flyer linked to a Google Form to sign up for the social. We also emailed a link to the survey for those who weren’t sure how the codes work yet. Using a QR code in this casual manner introduced our staff to the concept. It also modeled for them how it might be used in the classroom.
Our school was the recipient of an award this year. With some of the funds, we created posters displaying our school’s name, images of our students and staff, and one of our vision statements. On the bottom right hand corner of each poster, we printed a QR code that linked to our school’s website. Parents can see how we are achieving our school vision through our teachers’ web pages that contain links and feeds to their online classroom activities.
We are just getting started with QR codes, but I’m excited about their potential. I know other teachers and classrooms are using QR codes in powerful ways to connect school with home and introduce students to online resources in interactive ways. Please share how you have utilized these links between print and digital in the Comments.