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QR codes were invented in 1994 but they started gaining traction with educators in the US somewhere around 2011. Since then, educators have used them in a ton of different ways. 

What are they? Simply put, they are a collection of tiny squares arranged in a square grid that hold specific pieces of information.


🌟 QR codes are easy to generate.

🌟 QR codes can contain a variety of information ranging from text to images.

🌟 QR codes are easily read with nearly any mobile device.  In fact the camera on most, if not all Smartphones, "automagically" recognize a QR code when they see one and immediately offer to open up the content for the user.


I would imagine that you've probably scanned a QR code at least once, but perhaps you've never made your own. Once you see how quick the process is, I have a feeling you will be hooked on them.


There are plenty of ways you can generate a QR code. Back in 2012, I used a simple QR code creator and although many online tools have gone by the wayside or have become pay to play, this site is still going strong. Yes, the site now offers a paid level but that is only for people who are doing marketing with their QR codes. You don't need that for classroom use. We are only trying to create a static code that doesn't need tracking. The site I am talking about is QR-code-generator.


You can try it out right now. Suppose you wanted have a student scan a code that will give them a positive feedback message such as "You're on the right track".  All you have to do is type those words and the generator will do all the rest.  Immediately a QR Code is created and you can download it. Now you just have to put the image somewhere for the student to scan. I made a poster with 75 ways to say "good job". You can get it for free and try it out.


In the classroom, you could hang posters with QR codes and students can scan them to receive a message.


QR codes can be added to your Google classroom, Canvas, Schoology, or any other learning management system (LMS) as a way to offer praise and encouragement to students. You could "hide" a weekly message inside the QR code and offer a prize to the student who responds to a task embedded within.


QR codes can be placed as images in Seesaw, Class Dojo, and Remind 101 to share information with parents in a unique way. 


Create a scavenger hunt for face to face or distance learning by entering clues into the QR code creator and placing the QR codes strategically around the classroom or in the LMS.


Another way I've used QR codes was to create a matching game for measurement review. Each QR code has a clue. For example, one code reveals "The number of grams in a kilogram."  Students then respond with the correct answer. These could be embedded as images in Google Slides, a Google Jamboard, or printed for each students so that they can cut them out, glue them on tag board, and write their answers under each code. You can get really creative with this and it doesn't take much time once you have your ideas planned out. If you're interested in the measurement activity, I have it posted in my TPT store.


What will you create with QR codes?

Better yet, what could your students create with QR codes?


I was going to stop there but I suddenly remembered a Twitter post I had seen about Google adding new QR code features recently. This continues to prove my point that QR codes have been underutilized and have a ton of potential. So, how about this. Google says, we can now right-click on a Google Doc, a folder in Google Drive, or how about any website page for that matter and the option to create a QR code is at our fingertips. Think about how this can help teachers send students to specific files and websites. No more worries about links that are too long or typos. Just an image to scan. Yes please and thank you!