Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Digital technology to support learning & teaching

Quick, Quick, See! QR Codes – what are they? And how can they be used in and out of the classroom?



So you’ve heard someone talking about QR codes? Or you’ve spotted these strangely-patterned black and white squares appearing in advertising material? Or you know what they are but just want to see how you can best make use of them?

Well here are resources which will help to explain what QR codes are, what they look like, how you can create them, as well as how others are using them both within and outwith the classroom.

Many mobile devices have cameras, and these, in tandem with a QR code reader on the device combine to quickly link to any of the following: text, website, image, video, audio, text message, telephone number and more. QR stands for Quick Response – it’s with the action of snapping the image of the QR code on the device that the link opens on that device, without the need to type any long website addresses.

See it working

The 23-second video below shows how a user can use a mobile device to scan a QR code to quickly access information (in this video it’s a telephone number, but it could be a website or blog address, video, text, email address, audio or image):

And for a slightly longer video explanation have a look at this video – in this case used in a library:

Here’s some examples of Falkirk schools sharing on Twitter about their use of QR codes to support learning

Learning In Hand QR Codes is a video by Tony Vincent where he explains, and shows, what a QR is, how they can be accessed, how you can make one, and where they may be used. In addition to the video there is a full transcript of the text of the video (including links to resources mentioned in the video).

How do they fit in the timeline of other online developments?

Jeff Utect (The Thinking Stick) has provided a useful reminder of where the introduction of QR codes fit into the timeline of online developments in the past few years – which serves to illustrate also how other online developments, which we now take for granted, can also take time for people to understand how to use.

QR Codes in the Classroom


 The Daring Librarian (Gwyneth Jones) has created an introduction to QR codes used in education. This also includes examples and a guide to creating similar uses in other schools. The examples here centre on engaging pupils with resources in the school library, though are aopplicable throughout the school. In addition this post has helpful hints and tips for teachers thinking about using QR codes.

first5daysscavengerqrtrail#1st5Days Scavenger Hunt is an example of a QR code classroom scavenger hunt which has been created for English Language Arts classes (based on the ideas put forward by The Daring Librarian above) – where the creator, Joy Kirr, has kindly shared what has been created as well as a step by step guide to how it was put together, making it very helpful for others to adapt to their own classroom situation and curricular needs.

David Muir has created a Prezi presentation (including video showing example of use of QR code) which introduces the use of QR codes in education.

Allanah King has resources about QR codes in the classroom. These include videos illustrating how they are used in the school, as well as resources showing how different QR code tools can provide different results.

The QR treasure Hunt Creator from is a great tool to illustrate how QR codes can be used in education – and one where an internet connection is not required (once the code is created online, the device which scans the code does not require an internet connection since the code translates only into text) . This tool is aimed at class teachers and presents an easy to use QR code creator in 4 steps. In addition there is a demonstration QR Treasure Hunt included so you can start using it right away. That can serve as inspiration to then create your own following the very staightforward steps on the site. In addition this site has links to a host of posts by other educators who have shared how they have used QR codes in schools. And there is a guide to creating your own QR-code Treasure hunt. Plus there is an example QR code trail around a school library using only text responses (so no internet connection is required by users) which provides all of the resources used in the example trail as well as an explanation of how to recreate this in an other setting with different tasks.

Click here for an example of a QR Safari created around the environs of Balmullo Primary school in Fife.

Vicki Davis has produced QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide which serves as an introduction to thinking about using QR codes in the classroom.

Julie Greller has collected a variety of ways QR codes are used in and out of classrooms to support learning and teaching.

The Physical Educator Skills Posters – a series of physical education posters showing images of skills, with explanations, as well as associated QR codes which pupils or teachers can use to download and use to access the videos and instructions on a mobile device where the activities are taking place.

Andrew Miller has compiled descriptions of 12 Ideas for Teaching with QR Codes. Each presents one way of using QR codes in schools along with a description of how it was achieved and the benefits of doing so.

Jerry Blumengarten on his Cybraryman website has collated a comprehensive collection of resources to support educators in using QR codes. This collection of resources includes explanatory material, examples of uses by many educators, tools to use to create QR codes, ways of assessing their use.

Chris Smith on his ShamblesGuru website has collated a very wide range of resources to support teachers looking at using QR codes in education – including the many ways others are using QR codes in schools, tools which can be used to make QR codes, and resources to help support getting started using them or looking for different ways to enhance the learning experience.

Inside the Classroom Outside the Box Ways to use QR Codes in the Elementary Classroom and Using Google Docs to Create Them is a blog post by Jill Thompson on ways of using QR codes in a primary classroom (and how to make them).

50 QR Code Resources for the Classroom is a collection by Charlie Osborne of resources to support the use of QR codes in the classroom  – luinks to articles, how-to guides, hints and tips and more.

The “Interesting Ways” series of presentations by Tom Barrett includes an easy to digest presentation of many ideas for using QR codes to support learning, shared by many educators. And as more are shared, so the range of ideas increases – so visit again! And if you come up with another idea not shown there then you can add your idea there too.

Teacher’s Guide to the Use of QR Codes in the Classroom by Med Kharbach is a comprehensive guide to explaining what QR codes are, tools to use to create them, how to use them and with many links to further resources.

Twitter QR Code Bingo makes use of Google Docs online with Twitter and QR codes to create an integrated “getting to know you” activity for a professional development session for teachers (though could be adapted for class use). The Google Document provides the collation of the activities/clues and generates the QR codes and responses automatically to Twitter. The resources are described but also the templates are here to download and adapt.

Sharing Kindergarten: QR Codes in the Classroom – a series of pre-made QR code cards, ready for downloading and printing, with links to online audio recordings of early learner words. A demonstration video shows how they can be used.

Exploring the educational potential of QR Codes – a post by Joe Dale which provides examples of how QR codes can be used in an educational context, as well as suggestions for tools to use to create QR codes, and tips for ensuring successful use in the classroom.

Raff’s Rant – QR Code Water Scavenger Hunt – a post by Clare Rafferty which provides a classroom topic context of “Water” to have pupils engage with the topic through tasks/messages/quotes set via QR codes. The post includes the text which has been provided for each QR code, as well as downloadable link to the QR codes themselves ready for use.

iFeedback – a post describing how QR codes printed onto sticky labels can be used to provide feedback to pupils on regularly recurring topics where the QR codes link to explanatory videos on the correct use of specific punctuation marks, for instance.

QR Code Creator Tools

Unitag QR Code Creator is one of may QR code creators – but what makes this one different is that it provides the option to change the colour, graphics and central image of the generated QR code. There are commercial upgrades from which to choose but the basic creator is free to use. It also provides helpful advice when generating codes (especially important if using different colours and images as part of the code, as this can make the code unreadabale in certain phones).

Alternative creators which are free to use include Google’s URL shortener and QR code creator: (paste the website address then click “details” to get the QR code) – this also provides analytics about the use of the code by users later.  Statistics of use can also be found using Glow’s URL shortener and QR Code Creator:

IdeasFactory QR Code Resources is a collated list with descriptions of a variety of QR code creators (as well as other resources to support their use).

Talking QR Code Generator – a post by Monica Burns describing how the talking QR Code generator QR Voice can be used in the classroom. Simply type a message (or copy and paste some text) into QR Voice and click the QR code generator and within seconds a QR code will be generated. This QR code can then be copied onto a sheet or shared online and when this is scanned with a mobile device QR code reader it takes a user to an audio file with the spoken version of the text


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  3. Ormiston Primary School has been using QR codes in support of learner portfolios. Their work in this area was highly regarded in a recent inspection, and work is in hand to share it more widely.

    QR codes are being used to link between paper-based learning journals and video evidence of learning activities. The QR code is printed and pasted into the learner’s journal, and can be scanned by parents to view related videos.

    The videos are on YouTube, and shared in a restricted way with only those who know the URL. The QR code presents a user-friendly and fun interface to the complex URL.

  4. Thanks David – that’s great to hear about. Thanks for sharing that.

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