The Second Draft - Volume 33, No. 2
QR Codes in the Classroom: Thinking Inside the Square DOWNLOAD PDFJuly 31, 2020
According to some
1. What is a QR code?
There are several types of
[Barcode] Data Matrix is a very efficient, two-dimensional (2D) barcode symbology [sic] that uses a small area of square modules with a unique perimeter pattern, which helps the barcode scanner determine cell locations and decode the symbol. Characters, numbers, text and actual bytes of data may be encoded, including Unicode characters and
Data Matrix QR code
Data Matrix and QR codes are similar, but Data Matrix images can only store alphanumeric characters, while QR codes can store any type of data (binary, alphanumeric, and
In other words, it’s data–a lot of data—in a tiny image.
2. Why QR codes in the classroom?
QR codes have many classroom uses. Their value lies in both y provide value in the amount of data that can be stored in one image and the kinesthetic engagement they provide to students. by offering students kinesthetic engagement. One QR code can replace a cluttered mass of information on a PowerPoint
One QR code can replace a cluttered mass of information on a PowerPoint slide, and requiring students to use a device (that they’re probably already using for something other than class) for an academic purpose brings back their focus while reinforcing their visual and aural
As all professors know, students are distracted by phones and laptops, even during the most dynamic PowerPoint slide show, lecture, or workshop, and an interactive slideshow is worthless unless all students open it and participate. When you ask students to scan a QR code, for example to visit an in-class quiz or survey, they engage kinesthetically, a learning domain that is not reached frequently in
QR codes declutter information-packed slides and web pages. The general rule of thumb is to limit the verbiage in a
Visual clutter is not the only drawback of data-dense presentations; they may also create slower application or computer hardware responses. For example, rather than embed a long pdf as a large object or embed video files, why not simply create a QR code to point to the media that is stored externally? That solution also allows students to download the media, whereaswhile a secure PowerPoint presentation (you secure your documents, right?) does not allow them to download the objects contained in it.
3. How to use a QR code in the Classroom
QR codes eliminate the need to type in a lot of data. For example, instead of typing a lengthy URL, students can simply scan the QR code. Taking it a step further, a QR code can automatically create a v-card, follow someone on social media, open applications, connect to Wi-Fi, send text messages, and open an email addressed to the QR code’s creator. The code may be static (that is, the user cannot change it) or dynamic (the creator or user can edit the information later). The developer’s creativity is the only limit to the QR code’s utility. With iOS (iPhone and iPad) or Android devices, a student need not be close to the QR code image. The image’s unique design helps the QR reader find the four corners, no matter the size. Thus, from their seats, students can scan QR codes displayed on a projection screen.
As a simple illustration of how to develop and use a QR code, assume I want to generate a QR code to place on my CV that directs readers to my website, www.jajonesjurist.com. First, I copy the URL from my website. Then I go to a QR code generator. (I use the free Tec-ItT Online Barcode Generator
Recently, I used QR codes in my legal writing class. I placed three QR codes in the PowerPoint presentation, and I spaced them to appear at points during the class session when I knew students would likely be
4. Best Practices for Using QR Codes: PASTE
- Purpose – Too much of anything can be bad. Use QR codes and other matrix bar codes sparingly and with purpose. Strategic placement during the class/lecture can help engage students who lose focus. The action and content of a QR code is up to its creator. Think about how you can use the code to cross-reference materials stored in your learning management system, social media, YouTube, and other services.
- Accessibility – Documents and presentations must always be accessible. When inserting a QR code into a document, remember that it is an image. You must provide
alt textand for example, if the QR code redirects students to a website, include that hyperlink information so that a screen reader can open the website. For printed materials, you should use the “ Berman Corner,” a 45-degree cut on the top left corner of the page that indicates there is a QR code within 3.5 inches of the cut.
- Static v. Dynamic – If you have reason to think you will need to edit content later—for example, if you might move information to a different webpage—consider using a dynamic code rather than a static one. Static QR codes, like URLs, can also rot or become orphaned.
- Test – Always test the QR code before offering it to students.
- Experiment – Don’t be afraid to try! As with all technology, your first time using a QR code in the classroom may be a flop. Keep at it, and you’ll discover new and useful ways to pack lots of data into the short span of your class time.
Given our new reality of online learning and “flipped” classrooms, QR codes will be with us for the foreseeable future, and law professors will benefit from learning about them and using them. With a little thinking inside the tiny data box, nay square, you can find many new uses for these little gems.