Technologies Impact Review – Williamwood High School – Using QR codes

The Technologies Impact Review (TIR) is one of two aspect reviews being conducted by Education Scotland over 2013-14.  The other is literacy and English.  Similar reports were published in 2013 on science, social studies (on Education Scotland website) – these had similar process and objectives as for TIR: “What is it like to be a learner 3-18 in Scotland?  What contribution do the technologies make to that experience, and what is their impact on young people?”

 This blog post is part of a series of blogs sharing practice that has been seen in the schools visited as part of the review.

What is a QR code?

For those of you unfamiliar with QR (quick response) codes, they are similar to bar codes and contain information specific to an item. A key benefit of a QR code is that any amount of information can be attached to them. Creating QR codes is easy, free and you do not have to be an ICT expert to produce them. The following website contains information on how to get started You can produce QR codes to use during lessons, using them in a variety of ways to enhance learning and teaching. To access the information contained within QR codes you will need the “scan” app. Apps are easily downloaded and installed on any mobile device.

 Example of an activity using QR codes:

QR codes have been used to enhance learning and teaching in Practical Woodworking across several topics such as, tools, processes, materials and construction. For each lesson, the format is generally the same, however alterations are made to ensure the lesson remains current. QR codes, some containing answers, descriptions and questions based on the topic being taught are produced and printed separately on A5 paper. A5 image sheets containing one picture and a QR code linked to the picture are also created. Finally, an answer sheet containing blanks linked to the answers, questions and descriptions found in the QR codes is produced. QR codes can be placed around the classroom and adjoining corridor.

 The Lesson:

During the lesson learners are placed into groups of no more than four. Learners are given instructions to find the answers/descriptions missing on their answer sheet.  Learners then work through a task using their answer sheet to identify a series of items found on their desks. For example, if the lesson focused on woods, learners would use their answer sheet to determine what answers/descriptions matched the wood samples given. In total, a timeframe of 20 minutes is given and a timer is placed on the interactive board.

 On completion, learners begin peer assessment using a carousel system, placing ticks/crosses next to answers they agree/disagree with. Once the carousel is complete, each group returns to their own desk to see how well they have done. Learners can then share their views as to why they agreed/disagreed with other groups. This informs discussion and allows learners to utilise their knowledge in teaching one another. It also allows the teacher to raise important teaching points, to ensure learners understanding is further improved and correct.

 Why was this approach taken?

This approach was taken because the theory in Practical Woodworking can be seen by learners as repetitive and they find it difficult to retain the knowledge required. There is no final exam and practitioners often find that learners do not recognise the importance of developing their knowledge and struggle to recall information when prompted or when working through tasks, tests and homework. This approach allows the development of knowledge and understanding to be an active part of the course.

 What are the benefits for learners?

Learners gain several benefits from this approach. They are given the opportunity to explore their own understanding and share this with their peers, develop their critical thinking skills and become active in revision and assessment. The approach also utilises current technologies, whilst giving learners the opportunity to bring their own technology into the classroom. The topic naturally informs group discussion amongst learners and the teacher. Learners are also given ownership of assessment enabling them to peer assess work, which deepens their understanding, whilst continuing to develop their literacy skills.