Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 and QR Codes

It's official, 2013 was the absolute worst blogging year for me since I started this blog in 2006. This year I aim to do better.
As I received all the Christmas and New Year's cards and accompanying letters with news of what my friends and family and all their children did in 2013, I decided I should compose one to describe what Juan Carlos and I did during 2013. Then I remembered why we don't do a Christmas letter, because every year it would look something like this:

So you see, you haven't missed out on much. And since we continue to be very predictable people who spend our lives teaching, this blog is going to change direction a little and I will write about teaching experiences and teacher tools. Maybe if things get more exciting I will turn my attention elsewhere, but the bottom line is that teaching is what we do, so I may as well write about it.

QR Codes. You've seen them. Maybe you've used them. They are a great way to link to information online or offline. I find them on boxes of food at the grocery store, at movie theaters and in books that I read. This past November Juan Carlos and I presented two sessions at the national convention for the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages, and instead of printing a handout we made a Google Doc and put a QR code on each table so people could scan it with their phones or iPods or tablets. Saves paper and plus you don't have to keep track of that paper. 

This week in our faculty department meeting we did a QR Code treasure hunt and talked about what QR materials are available online to help in teaching. Teachers hunted with their fellow language group (Spanish, French, Chinese) for clues around the school. The clues also told them where to go next. After finding the treasure at the end, we all returned to the meeting room and talked about how we could incorporate the codes into learning activities. This can be incorporated into all kinds of teaching, whether it be formal academic learning or not. For my LDS friends, this could totally be used in Seminary or a Sunday lesson. 
Lessons learned: 
  • We already knew this, but it is now proven: Google Translate will not give you accurate translations. (Just ask the Chinese teachers)
  • Where you put your clues matters. The cafeteria is not the best place.
  • Remember that many students need parental permission to install apps on their phones. Plan for that.
  • You can use some QR activities even if you don't have a data or internet connection. 

It wouldn't be a QR post without a QR code now, would it? So here is one that will take you to a webpage of one of my favorite tech integrationists, Kathy Schrock. I attended a workshop with her many years ago and she always has good ideas and regularly asks teachers to contribute effective examples of how technology can work in the classroom.   If you want to know more, scan this code!

No comments: