Congratulations to Elspeth McLean (School of Health Sciences) who won the QR code competition at the Learning & Teaching Conference on June 29, 2011!
Elspeth found all the four websites that the scattered QR codes led to at the Foresight Centre. Her (modest) prize was a bar of chocolate, and given that she had to borrow a smartphone to complete the task, her achievement is much to be applauded!
So what are QR codes?
A QR Code (it stands for “Quick Response”) is a mobile phone readable barcode. They’ve been big in Japan for years, and are now catching on in Europe and the USA. In its simplest sense think “print-based hypertext link” – simply encode a URL into the QR Code and then point a mobile phone (or other camera-enabled mobile) at it. If the device has QR Code decoding software installed on it, it will fire up its browser and go straight to that URL. But it doesn’t stop there – a QR Code can also contain a phone number, an SMS message,
V-Card data or just plain alphanumeric text, and the scanning device will respond by opening up the correct application to handle the encoded data appropriately.
And why did we have a QR code competition at the Learning & Teaching Conference?
As with any technology, the eLearning Unit and the webteam of CLL were interested in its educational application. We were on hand at the conference to demo how QR code readers work with smartphones. Conference delegates were keen to try out what the black-and-white crazy squares did. Interesting discussions followed – people for instance saw potential of the technology in clinical practice — attaching QR codes to lab equipment or allowing students to quickly check out resources via their phones there and then.
In essence, QR codes may be useful for connecting physical learning spaces with virtual resources, e.g.:
- When displaying information, further web resources about a particular geographical location or building or object, in-situ of that location – could be ideal for induction activities around the city or campus?
- When students may need to take a quick note of websites, web resources when writing down whole URLs would be difficult.
- When you are directing students from a printed resource (e.g. an article) to a particular online resource on VITAL e.g. (where the VITAL link may be quite long).
If you want to find out more, there is a really good summary of 7 things you should know about QR codes (PDF) by EDUCASE as well as information on the Bath University project exploring the educational uses of QR codes.
If you want to discuss with the eLearning Unit team about the application of QR codes, why don’t you drop-in to one of our Studio Wednesdays or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or just simply post comments to this blog post if you can think of or have heard applications.
There are now several interesting comments on QR codes in the comments section below.
Tunde (eLearning Unit) and Stuart Feltham (CLL webteam)