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QR Codes in Education

What's black and white and read all over by devices everywhere? If your answer was a QR code, then your response to the question was correct! QR (quick response) codes look a lot like bar codes found on pieces of merchandise at stores. Like bar codes, QR codes are scanned and contain information, such as website URLs. While QR codes are being used in the business world to advertise and promote products, they are also being used in education to engage students in digital scavenger hunts, choose your own learning adventure expeditions, virtual museums and more.

Here's how they work: The QR code is a two dimensional bar code. However, instead of only reading in one dimension such as traditional bar codes, QR codes read in two. A traditional bar code is scanned and directly turned into a series of "on and off" (1 and 0) values read from left to right. Examples of these include grocery store items, books, and CDs. QR codes, on the other hand, allow information to be read both left and right, as well as vertically. This allows QR codes to store exponentially more information as they have a much larger surface area for information to be stored.  

When looking at a QR code, a user will typically see four clearly defined squares, as well as the rest being filled in with what appears to be random bits of data. These all serve a certain purpose, however. The four squares provide information to the QR code reader (usually an app installed on a tablet or smartphone that accesses the device's camera). You can find plenty of free QR code reader apps in either the Google Play Store (Android) or the App Store (iPhone). You can also use a Lenovo to scan a QR code. If using a Lenovo, go to https://webqr.com/ and then click on "Scan" to scan a QR code. Then click on the web address (URL) that pops up on screen. No matter what device you use, your camera needs to be facing the QR code in order scan it.

Ideas for Using QR Codes in Education

50 QR Code Classroom Resources

QR Code Generator

This site allows you to create QR Codes of website URLs, text, phone numbers and contact information