Technology Tuesday: QR Codes

I'm not always the first to jump in there and try something new, I have to get my brain wrapped around it first.  Are you like that?  I like to think I'm a risk taker but with technology there is a  learning curve involved that I like to take my time with.  

QR codes have been no different.  I understand how they work, I know how to make them, and I know the thousands of ways I can use them in the classroom.  Have I used them yet? Nope.  Still waiting for that moment I get motivated to take the plunge.

Today's the day!

Well, last month was the day. I immersed myself in QR code sessions at the annual ISTE conference this year.  Here are a few short steps to help you take the plunge too!

To create a QR code you need to use a QR Code Generator.  The one I like I learned about from Monica Burns (from Class Tech Tips...her site is awesome and she posts daily tech tips for all you techie teachers out there!)  
You can pay for the extras but to create simple QR codes it's totally free.

Simply follow the steps to create your QR code for a website, video, or any of the other listed links.  Copy and paste into the Website URL box and POOF, you have a QR code. With this site you can even change the color of the code. Cool huh? 

Now, the first thing I wanted to try was recording my voice for directions for centers for the kiddos and also adding to my Listening to Reading center for books that I do not have CD's for.  To do this it's as easy as pushing "record" on an old tape recorder.  No kidding! 

First go to the site Record mp3
Just like it the button above to start recording.  Push stop when you are done (just like an old tape recorder, hehe)  and hit save. 
This little box pops up and there you have your URL to copy and paste into the QR Code creator.  THAT.SIMPLE. 

Once you have the QR code you can print it out and include it in center directions, a listening station, or even a note home (gasp!).

Now for those of you that are saying, ok, that's cool but I don't have anything in my room for kids to use to read QR codes.  Here are few things I have thought about for getting devices in the room. 

1. Does your school do BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?  A lot of schools do and this is one way you can have kids use their own devices to read your QR Codes.  They just need a QR Code App on their device (totally free on Apple and Android devices). 

2. Ask for donations.  If I've learned anything in the last 10 years of teaching....if you don't ask--it's never going to happen.  Ask!  Ask parents, family, or friends if they have any old iPod touches they would be willing to part with.  Even if you got 1 it would be worth it!

3. Donors Choose.  Now I can't talk from experience but I am working on a project right now.  It's my first one and I'm finally taking that leap.   It's worth checking out!  

So tomorrow my kiddos (in summer school) are going to use a QR code to listen to their chapter of our chapter book using a QR code.  I think they will enjoy this fun way to read the next chapter.  Maybe it will help keep them focused during this oh so long 3rd week of summer school!

I hope this helps you if you have been wanting to try out QR codes!  Have fun with it!