QR Codes- Fun with Smart Phones and Learning

The Horizon Report, a joint report by The New Media Consortium and Educause identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry on college and university campuses within the next five years. A number of the trends in the 2010 report relate to augmented reality and the use of mobile devices.

Augmented reality is an environment that includes both real world experience and virtual experience creating a mixed reality. These types of environments can be immersive and engaging for learners.

QR codes are examples of very simple augmented reality. Widely used in Japan and Europe for several years they are beginning to be seen and used all over North America.

In education, QR Codes can be used in a number of ways that involve no cost. The simple QR codes can be created easily; code readers can quickly be downloaded to smart phones. And with a large number of students owning smart phones, there will undoubtedly be enough in a classroom already to enable a group interaction. A teacher could design a series of codes to create opportunities for critical thinking, collaboration and discovery.

The codes can trigger text, images, videos and URLs. Students could also easily create their own tasks by creating the simple codes and having their classmates discover information.

In my Psychology of Consumer Behaviour class this week, I will be posting QR code around the room. The codes will trigger internet memes- the often parodied viral videos that become wildly popular.

Together as a group, the class will learn how to download and activate a code reader on a smart phone and how to create QR codes. In groups students will access the codes posted around the room and discuss the particular memes, and try to analyze why they became popular. By understanding what makes ideas stick, students will have a greater understanding of why some marketing efforts work and why some don't. I'll also be asking them to brainstorm on how they could use QR codes in their group projects.

View the video I created below that explains QR Codes:

I'll also provide them with the links and information below:

The Tokyo N Building covered in QR codes is designed so passers-by can read the changing codes and get information via sites like Twitter. More in depth info like specials available in stores, who is tweeting and what they are tweeting comes from an iPhone app.

N Building from Alexander Reeder on Vimeo.

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