Are QR Codes the Next Big Thing? I see a lot of questions in my Twitter stream on this subject. Rather than spotlight a specific website or product, the Catch of the Day is a little different today. I'm going to try to provide some information and answers about QR codes.
A QR Code is a two-dimensional graphic code, readable by QR code readers, often using mobile phones. The code consists of tiny black squares arranged in a square pattern on a white background. Information such as text, a URL, or other data can be encoded in a QR code image.
Scanning this image will display the above paragraph on your phone.
QR (Quick Response) codes originated in Japan where they are very common. They initially were used to track parts in vehicle manufacturing. They are now used to take information from an impermanent media, such as a magazine, a sign, a label, or a a poster and move it on to your mobile phone. Once the QR code is on your phone, you may see textual information displayed, be linked to a URL, or import vCard contact info directly into your phones address book.
QR codes can store and digitally present much more data (including URLs, GPS coordinates, text, etc) than a standard one-dimensional barcode. Another advantage of QR codes is that instead of requiring a dedicated hand-held scanner to read them, many mobile phones can scan and read them inherently or with free third-party apps.
On my iPhone, I use I-nigma as well as ATTScanner, and ShopSavvy (all free in the iTunes app store) to read QR codes. A list of QR code readers for the iPhone can be found here. For other phones try this list.
The use of QR codes is free of any license and anyone can visit any of several free QR code generating sites to create and print their own QR codes for others to scan and use.
The use of QR codes in the educational community is in its infancy, but growing here are a few sources of ideas for using QR codes in the classroom:
- 38 Interesting Ways* to Use QR Codes in the Classroom
- The use of QR codes in Education: A getting started guide for academics
If you have a novel use for QR codes in your classroom or school, please note it and share it in the comments.
Wikipedia entry "QR codes", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code
Marc Lyne, What Is A QR Code And Why Do You Need One?, Oct 15, 2009, http://searchengineland.com/what-is-a-qr-code-and-why-do-you-need-one-27588