Tuesday 12th March
For our last week in Digital Technologies, we looked at QR codes and outdoor learning. A QR code can be defined as “a pattern of black and white squares that can be read by a smart phone, allowing the phone user to get more information about something” (Collins Dictionary, 2019). Incorporating QR codes into an outdoor learning activity is a really good way of giving children a bit of independence, as they can scan the codes and follow instructions. Using the outdoors for this task was really good as well, especially because it can be brought into every area of the curriculum in some way. Education Scotland (2010) talks about how the outdoors “provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors.” I fully agree with this statement. The outdoors allows us to experience things that would be extremely difficult to replicate in the classroom.
Our task for today was to create a treasure hunt using QR codes. I worked alongside 4 other people today and as a group we worked well and manged to get the task completed in good time. As I have mentioned now in a few posts, the sizing of the groups is really important and definitely needs to vary depending on the activity. Today the group size worked well as there was lots to do and so everyone had a task. For our activity, we decided to create a treasure hunt outside based on maths. We had a total of 7 QR codes placed all around the premises of the University. The idea of the task was that the children would begin inside the classroom at the first code. Once they had scanned the code, it would present them with a maths question. The answers were a series of multiple choice and every answer released either one or two letters. It was important that they got the right answer every time as the letters they collect along the way would eventually spell out a maths related word. The word we decided to use was ‘calculator’. The same QR code would then lead them to a new location where they would find the next code and repeat the process. To create the QR codes we used this website https://www.qrstuff.com/ which was very quick and easy to use. It allows you to customise the codes, adding in text and colour and then sharing it through email, text message or social media for others to access. To scan the codes, you can download a QR reader on your phone or tablet, or some phones are able to read the code just by using the camera.
While creating our task, these are some of the CfE experiences and outcomes we were focusing on:
• I can extend and enhance my knowledge of digital technologies to collect, analyse ideas, relevant information and organise these in an appropriate way – TCH 2-01a
• I can use digital technologies to search, access and retrieve information and am aware that not all of this information will be credible – TCH 02-02a
Once we had completed our activity and it was set up, we swapped with another group and tried them out. Their feedback was that our activity was really fun, even for them, and they were confident it would be something children would really enjoy. They loved scanning the codes, figuring out the answer to the question and then also the next challenge of actually trying to find the next location. We were really glad they enjoyed it and it was a success. As much as the other group’s activity was full of colour, amazing animations and really good teaching points, it took us only a few minutes to complete. After spending hours working on it, they were slightly disappointed it hadn’t taken us long to do. This was an important lesson for all of us in that, although we want to create amazing, eye-catching resources to use in our classrooms, it is important that they keep the children busy for a certain amount of time. Otherwise all that time spent creating the activity has been wasted and the children are quickly on to something new.
Looking specifically at QR codes, they are a great addition to the classroom. They save time as children can scan the code which immediately provides them with the relevant information or takes them straight to a specific website (Edutopia, 2013). Apart from anything else, it is fun and children enjoy scanning the code to see what happens. It makes the learning more exciting rather than just being given information. More importantly, it allows children to be independent and go off and work on their own. QR codes don’t necessarily need to be used within the classroom for learning. In this session today we also talked about as a teacher, where else could we incorporate the use of QR codes into the classroom. We thought they could be used on wall displays which show what the children have been working on recently and the QR code could be scanned to read some samples of children’s work. It would also been useful in the library where children could scan the code for a certain book and read reviews that other children have left on it. I think these ideas are amazing and so imaginative! This is definitely something I would like to experiment with a class in the future.
Thinking about the outdoor learning side to todays session, it is definitely something really important to think about for every lesson.
• Is there some way I could incorporate todays learning in the outdoors?
• How could this be shown in the real world/context?
These are questions I am going to continue to ask myself when I start to plan lessons in the future. Apart from outdoor learning being a fun activity for children, it also allows them to build upon skills that are essential for their personal development. Some of these being communication, problem solving and team work. Outdoor learning also allows children to develop in terms of their personal safety where it would be essential for them to assess risks and know how to keep themselves safe in the outdoors. It allows children to make links between other areas of the curriculum, bringing together ideas from other aspects of their learning.
A QR code treasure hunt I think was a really good way of introducing the idea of outdoor learning to us. It shows how easily the learning can be taken outside and still be so beneficial to the learners. A change of scenery and fresh air can be all it takes to re-motivate a class and get them engaged. As well, the QR codes can be changed to suit any lesson whether it be literacy, maths, art or science and are a really clever way of bringing digital technologies into teaching. I thought this was a great, fun way to end the module and with everything else I have learned over the past few weeks, it will definitely be something I will use at some point in the future.
Collins Dictionary (2019) QR Code [Online] Available: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/qr-code [Accessed 4 April]
Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/cfe-through-outdoor-learning.pdf [Accessed 4 April 2019
Edutopia (2013) Five Reasons I Love Using QR Codes in My Classroom [Online] Available: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-qr-codes-in-classroom-monica-burns [Accessed 4 April 2019]