Sunday, March 2, 2014

QR Codes: Communicate your Message In & Out of School

QR Codes are good way to communicate your message as an administrator and teacher.  I feel like they are under utilized in education.  Creating QR Codes is not difficult and it is free.  Doesn't get much better than that when looking to market your product.  As more schools go to 1:1 and more of our students have smartphones & tablets, we need to increase the use of QR Codes in order to make communicating our message more efficient.

Here are some ways that QR Codes can be used as an effective means of communication.  You can adjust all of these ideas to meet your specific needs with distributing information to your stakeholders:

1. Advertise events
Create QR Codes to advertise events going on in your classroom or building.  You can use QR Codes to promote daily or weekly events at your school.  Our College Knowledge Week at NLHS is this week and we will advertise the activities during the week with QR Codes around school.  We have contests each day for the students & staff to participate in and they can scan the QR Codes for details.  If you are interested in the amount of success your QR Codes are having, use Snap Vu to track the amount of hits you get on QR Codes.

You can also make people aware of other things in your building like plays or musicals, athletic events, or your Wi-Fi password.  I saw this at Hilliard Bradley this past year:

Place the codes in different locations in your building/classroom:
  • windows of front office
  • doors
  • bathrooms & locker rooms
  • social media (FB, Twitter, School Connects, school website)
  • cafeteria
  • local library
  • local businesses & restaurants (you could run a promotion each week with a business & post your QR codes in that business; great marketing for businesses in your community)
  • newsletters
  • ask local pizza shops if you can tape on their pizza boxes
  • create banners/posters to hang in local businesses (our Panther FabLab makes posters/banners)
Floor sticker advertising our mobile app

Banner created by the Panther FabLab advertising our mobile app.  If you are interested in ordering & receiving vinyl banners like this,  please check into the link above to reach FabLab personnel.

2. Learning Targets
QR Codes are a great way to post daily learning targets in a classroom.  Simply create a QR Code with a  generator (mentioned above) and post the target for the day/week.  Students scan code and they have the target in their device.  You can also generate a code for your class web page, Edmodo page, Blog, etc. and give to students that way too.  A few of our teachers who use the codes use learning matrices where there may be a list of targets for the week, so they are not constantly changing the codes each day.  But you could have different codes each day for each learning target.

3. Use to take your message mobile
Use Jumpscan to create mobile version of what you want to market.  Jumpscan gives you one free QR Code and then you have to pay for the service if you want additional codes.  We have used it to market the number of ways students, parents, and community members can stay informed with events at NLHS.

I created a flyer and listed the communication methods (FB, Twitter, etc.) and saved it as a .JPG file.  Next, on Jumpscan, you upload the image to the create the mobile version.  After it uploads, you go through Jumpscan and fill in the rest of the form with the social media accounts for your organization.  Jumpscan will generate a QR Code for you to share with others.  Save the code as .PNG file and share it through social media.  When the code is scanned, a mobile version of your image will appear on tablets and phones.

4. Miscellaneous ways to use 
Here are other ways you can use QR Codes to communicate your message:
  • Your district/school vision or mission.
    • Post inside your district buildings and school buildings your district & school vision and mission statements so stakeholders can scan them into their devices.
  • Price items in your school shop, concession stands, DECA shop with QR Codes
  • Create links to Google Maps so people can find the location of your school
    • Another thing we are going to try with this is creating a QR Code for the location of all of the visiting schools we play in athletics so parents & stakeholders can scan the code to find the location of the away event.
  • Make a code for your school's Course Offerings Book
    • Another great way for your students & parents to have access to the book.  Yes, you probably have the book on your school website, but there is nothing wrong with getting it our there in a number of places.
Some sites that can help you with learning more about QR Codes and how to use them are:

Remember, don't create QR Codes to say you use them, create them to communicate your message.  The codes can be a good way of getting students & parents information especially when almost all of our students & parents have smartphones & tablets.  Just think, get a room of people together like this:

 Freshman Scheduling Night from last year

and share with them important QR Codes.  That is what we did and we are now able to send them important information through School Connects.  You control how powerful you want your message to be.

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