Friday, August 5, 2011

The QR Quest - A Prototype

Below you are going to read about a Prototype that started with an idea to engage learners and bring the classroom out of the classroom. This came about after a 2 day boot camp were educators and designers learned about Design Thinking. I will get around to a post on DT, but I wanted to share this idea with everyone because I'm excited about it.

This is all very rough, but I like the direction it is heading. These are two examples I put together on how I might use QR codes in the classroom in conjunction with a local park and a local museum. I would love to hear your comments. I've know about QR Codes for a while but The Daring Librarian is the bomb when it comes to them.

These lessons assume that the students would have access to a class set of iPads. Any tablet would work for these ideas. I use iPads because that is the tablet I'm familiar with. Anyway, here are the lessons. 

The QR Quest in the Language Arts Classroom

Here is an example of what the QR Quest could look like in the Language Arts Classroom. This example is based on the American Literature Class for Sophomores.

Connecting with Museums

Unit: Fantasy, Folklore and Fairy Tales

Students would read American Folk lore and learn the meaning behind these stride and their value in society. 

Students would go to the Henry Ford House to see the Fantasy, Folklore and Fairy Tales exhibit.

Students would look at the art on display and create their own stories based on the art they find.

The students would spend the next few days creating their own stories based on the picture alone. The iPads allow them to create videos, photo collages, songs, poems, etc.

Students would then post their creations to a digital space and create QR codes to share with the Henry Ford House. These QR codes would be placed next to the art to be scanned by visitors.

A display could be set up at the school that has the QR codes along with reproductions of the art for people in the school to see.

The mobility of the tablets allows the students to create on the go. They are no longer tied to the classroom. The classroom is wherever the student goes with the iPad.

A unit like this could be done in 5 class period or longer depending on the depth of the stories and the length of the student created project. 

Here is a project outside of the classroom involving local parks.

Unit: On Walden Pond - Thoreau

After discussing Thoreau's Essay and the concept of Transcendentalism, students would leave the classroom and go to a local park to be inspired by nature the same way Thoreau was when he was at Walden Pond.

Students would bring the class iPads with them to document the sights and sounds of the park.  Like this...

Or they could take a photo and write a poem,


The students can use the apps on their tablets to edit and create whatever they want. Students are now engaged in the material in a way that was not possible. Once students have created their digital inspirations, they will create QR Codes for them. 

Scan me, this code works!

These QR codes can be laminated and posted along the trails of the park where students were inspired. People would scan these and interact by leaving comments and providing meaningful feedback.

Students would no longer be creating content for the teacher alone, but the community as a whole.

These are just a couple of lessons in language arts, but I could see this being used for social studies, science, art and so many other content areas. Allowing the students to be creative is the best thing we can do as teachers. 

I'm working on making this possible in my district for the fall. I have a handful more ideas I could work with using QR codes. Share your ideas so I can share them with my Admins!




  1. Wow! These are great ideas that bring together all aspects of instruction and help students to understand that they can contribute to the community as well. I hope you're able to implement these and keep all of us updated on the results.

  2. Great ideas, Nick. My only thought is that the student may need more than one outing to the museum and the park. The first time they need to go without their digital devices (especially to the park) to engage the experience without distraction and truly focus on the setting. You might even try an "assignment of silence." The second visit should be more interactive. I think slowing down might actually improve the thought process and allow them a deeper understanding of the art and the need to live deliberately. Just a thought.

  3. I love this idea. My school is adjacent to a greenway, and we could incorporate our life science concepts in QR codes posted along the greenway. Thanks.

  4. Last night I e-mailed our councilor, nurse, librarian, music teachers, head of science (in charge of lab and garden), art teacher, and coach last night asking them to write a riddle about themselves.

    My idea is a QR tour of the school. Each area will have a QR code posted. You scan it and get a riddle. Students solve the riddle and go to that office. I want to use video, problem is that the Itouches and Ipad2's are behind the student filter and can not go to you tube. School tube and Teacher tube do not work on them.

    I have some ides for math activies using them. If I can get around the #(##(@$* filter problem, I have some cool ideas for science.

  5. I did a QR Code Chemistry Scavenger hunt this past year and the kids loved it. I posted clues that led them to different areas of the school that chemistry could be found and when they arrived there was a QR code that helped them determine the answer. Sometimes it was a website (why are more homeruns hit in Coors field than any other ball park?--discussing air density) or videos on youtube (what is the chemical reaction in instant ice packs?--chemical reactions in the nurse's office) or simply wikipedia pages (Why is an English cucumber burpless?--decomposition and found in the English wing). I also put codes in the gym, janitor's closet and Spanish classrooms. I wanted them to see chemistry around them instead of hearing me tell them it was.

    If you are compiling resources for a larger collaborative project, sign me up!


Please post your thoughts here. Thanks!