Making QR Codes for the Classroom

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Making and using QR Codes in the classroom is a great way to marry technology with traditional pedagogies. This lesson will explain how to make QR Codes, as well as give some creative uses for them.

What Is a QR Code?

You've probably heard about QR Codes and the fact that they can be used just about anywhere (including in the classroom), but what exactly are they?

QR Codes, or Quick Response Codes, are small, usually black and white images that are made up geometric shapes. When scanned with a smartphone using a QR Code reading app, they tell the phone to do something. Generally, they act like a barcode (just like the ones on grocery items) to direct the phone to go to a certain website, but some people have found other creative uses for them.

If scanned with a QR Code reading app, this QR Code will take you
QR Code for

The benefits of use QR Codes are numerous, but one of the main strong points of this technology is that it is fast. It generally only takes a fraction of a second for the code to be read by the app because the geometric shapes are very easy to distinguish.

How to Make a QR Code

Making a QR Code is very simple. All you need is a website's URL (the address of the website found in the top bar of your web browser) and a QR Code generator found online. Be sure to first navigate to the page you want your user to go to when scanning the code. If you are on the wrong page when you select the URL, they will go to that incorrect page!

Click in the top box of your browser and highlight the entire URL. TIP: Use CTRL+A to select all text in the box your cursor is in. Copy the URL (using CTRL+C, or right-click and click 'Copy'). Then, fire up your favorite web search engine and type in something along the lines of 'QR Code generator.'

The top several hits will be websites that will do the job nicely. Click on one of these and follow the directions on the homepage. Usually, all you need to do is paste the URL into a box (CTRL+V or right-click and click 'Paste') and hit the 'Go' button. If the generator asks if you want a Static or Dynamic code, go with Static. Dynamic codes allow for changing the URL later, and is used more for marketing.

This will generate the QR Code for you. You can download the code as an image file, then post it online or print it out. When your user scans the code (either from paper or a device screen) they will be directed to the website of the URL you pasted in.

Uses in the Classroom

QR Codes can be used in many ways in the classroom. The following are just a few ideas to get you started with this versatile form of technology.

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