scanning_a_qr_codeOur district theme is Connect, Learn, Collaborate. It’s the second year we are engaging in this theme because we want to dig deeper and expand the concept with our students, colleagues, parents, and community. One of the ways we are connecting and learning is through the use of QR Codes.

A QR Code is short for a Quick Response Code and is simply a bar code that can be scanned by your phone to provide information. This is not new technology. It isn’t even groundbreaking technology. It is easy and simple technology. Sometimes that’s all you need. Here are a few examples of how my district is using QR Codes this year:

  1. Start of the year message from the superintendent. Each year I send a letter to my staff welcoming them back to a new school year and giving them some info about the upcoming Convocation and professional development days. Well, I decided to send them the QR Code instead of the letter. If I want them to do it, I need to model it. This code led to a video I made for them. I will be honest, making the video and speaking on it was out of my comfort zone, but if I was asking them to move out of their comfort zone, I had to also. After 9 takes and some constructive criticism from my secretary I had an acceptable video. It won’t win an Emmy but I hope it sets a tone.
  2. Parent orientation night with QR Codes. My middle school administrative team designed a series of QR Codes that corresponded with information being shared at the event. Ten rooms, with a representative of the middle school present, were set up to go over key elements of children transitioning to the middle school. There was a room and corresponding QR Code to the academic program, code of conduct, information from the nurse, etc. In the room parents talked with a staff member about the topic and took away information through the QR Code.
  3. QR Codes at back to school night. This is where it all started. I presented the concept to my administrative team and said I wanted an interactive back to school night. QR Codes were developed with videos from me, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Special Education, Guidance, and each building principal. Principals could then develop additional QR Codes that provided essential information about their school.
  4. Supplementing homework and test review. Recently while observing an outstanding lesson, a teacher handed out a review sheet for students to complete. At the bottom of the sheet was each topic the students had worked on during this unit of study. Each topic had a corresponding QR Code with a brief video to help them, should they need additional assistance. I thought this was a great use of QR Codes to extend learning.

Sometimes you do not need the latest and greatest technology to make the connections with your school community. You just need the right resource. For us QR Codes seems to be a great one for our Connect, Learn, Collaborate theme. Give it a try. Please use the comments section to share your ideas.

For those who want more details on how we developed the Back to School Night QR Codes read on:

Here are the steps we used to develop the Back to School Night QR Codes:

  1. A list was developed of videos and who would be in those videos. This included district and building administrators. Here’s a link to the entire list. We did not develop everyone item on the list due to time: 
  2. A list was developed of resources we would want parents to have through a QR Code. This included code of conduct, academic programs, etc.
  3. A template was established so each printed sheet with the QR Code would look consistent and parents would know what to look for and what they found when they came upon the QR Code. Here’s a copy of our template
  4. Administrators who would create their own videos were trained on how to video themselves with their district laptops.
  5. Final versions of their videos were saved in a shared Google Drive folder.
  6. A staff member (it was me and my secretary) uploaded the videos to our district YouTube Channel and saved them as an unlisted video (we all agreed this was the way we wanted it saved but you can save it any way you want).
  7. My secretary and I took the address to each of the newly uploaded YouTube videos and put it in a QR Code creator site (just Google it and you will find a whole bunch) to get the QR Code.
  8. The newly created QR Code was copied and then pasted on the template we developed.
  9. A description of what the code included was then put on the template.
  10. The template was saved with a new name identifying what was in the code and saved to a file set up in the shared Google Drive folder.
  11. Building administration could then print these codes as needed and hang them around the building.