Can 2D barcodes help kids do homework? That's one of the reasons Georgia teacher Vicki Davis gives for explaining their value to teachers (along with saving time and paper). Davis recently posted a guide to implementing barcodes on her blog, Cool Cat Teacher. She walks interested beginners through the basics, from downloading the reader to starting to create your own barcodes and troubleshooting common problems (like poor lighting or wrinkled codes).
Then Davis explains methods for teaching students how to scan mobile tags, writing "I ask students to download a FREE QR Code reader onto their device as homework at least 3-4 days ahead of time and pair students who don't have an iPod, iPad, or smartphone with those who do." (Do eighth graders really have their own iPads? Wow. I feel old.) She then offers some funny, kid-relevant suggestions, like having a sample barcode link to a text supposedly from Justin Bieber. While I've argued that making 2D barcodes too mysterious will only confuse and alienate your audience (if it catches their attention at all), giving kids free reign to try to figure out what to do with them (as Davis suggests) is a great way to ignite their curiosity.
Davis also lists seven ways she's already used barcodes. (Check out all her ideas here.) Here are a few:
- On a cover sheet for student portfolios – scanning it goes to a page with hyperlinks to all of the student's work.
- Connecting a PowerPoint slide to a website.
- On a trophy case – scanning it displays videos from state championships.
Teachers could also integrate Tags into the classroom by using them to link to a mobile version of the class site, a secure login to check grades, or a calendar of upcoming class events. Beats printing out 25 copies of a calendar that'll just get tossed in a month – especially since the end content of Tags can be updated anytime.
What do you think – does mobile tagging have a place in the classroom? Could teachers use more Tag ideas to save paper and connect with students? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.
Photo: Frank Juarez via Flickr