In today’s session we were looking at QR codes and how we could implement them in outdoor learning.
QR codes are image-based hypertext links, which can link you to many things, for example, text, pictures, audio and many more (What is a QR Code, online). QR codes are found in many different places in today’s society as a way of adding extra information, for example on a poster. To see what the QR code is holding all you have to do is scan it with a device that has a QR code reader and it will display the information. Furthermore, you can create your own QR codes with your device if you download a QR code generator.
For today’s session we were to work in groups and plan a treasure hunt using QR codes whilst linking to an area of the curriculum. My group and I decided that we were going to do a shopping list and the children had to use the QR codes to work out how much it would cost. This would link in with a first level numeracy lesson well as children would be adding and subtracting using money whilst thinking about the change they would receive. There were three main learning outcomes our lesson linked with:
- I can use money to pay for items and can work out how much change I should receive.
- I have investigated how different combinations of coins and notes can be used to pay for goods or be given in change.
- Using digital technologies responsibly I can access, retrieve and use information to support, enrich or extend learning in different contexts
Before we created the QR codes we had to plan what questions we were going to ask and what information would be going in the QR code. Once we had completed our plan, we started to create our codes with an online generator. I found it simple and easy to create these QR codes and you could make them all different colours, making them more engaging.
Luckily it was a dry day so we could use our QR codes for outdoor learning. There are many benefits to outdoor learning with lessons usually being remembered for a long time (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010). By taking children outside of the classroom into the outdoors it provides them with a new, exciting and motivating environment for them to explore and learn in (Education Scotland, 2010). I strongly agree that moving a lesson outside can make it more engaging through my own personal experience of today’s session, as I found myself thinking about things differently all because of the different environment. Furthermore, there are many developmental benefits from outdoor learning because children are having to using different skills to what they would use inside the classroom. One example of this is critical thinking skills are being developed as children have to link from what they have learned inside the classroom and use those skills to tackle their problem outside.
Outdoor learning can provide the opportunity for children to express and work through problems that they may find difficult in a classroom setting. This allows for their skills to be seen that may not always be apparent in the classroom increasing the child’s self-confidence allowing them to feel included. Inclusion is one of the Scottish Governments aims to closing the Attainment gap children are facing, displaying that outdoor learning is beneficial to everyone (Scottish Government, 2016). Mainly outdoor learning contributes to a child’s health and well-being. Learning outdoors encourages children to spend more time being active outside which is slowly decreasing in today’s society due to the rise in technology.
Overall our QR code activity worked really well. Due to our time spent planning, it allowed more than one group to do the activity at one time, as they could start at any QR code. This would be useful as a teacher because it allows for them to send all the children off together whilst being able to ensure none are bored because they’re not taking part. Furthermore, the hunt part of the activity made it exciting and engaging for adults, this displays children would be engaged as it’s something different and almost competitive to see who can find the code first.
There were only a couple of letdown points of QR codes, one being that the planning, making and set up took almost 10 times as long as the activity would, meaning it’s not realistic to do this frequently. Secondly you would need to ensure each group had access to a device that could read QR codes, this can be a problem in some schools due to availability. However, it is a great way to develop a lesson if you have the secure space outside and access. I will definitely use QR codes in future outdoor learning!
- Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.
- Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.
- Scottish Government. (2016) Enhancing Learning And Teaching Through The Use of Digital Technology: A Digital Learning And Teaching Strategy For Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government
- What is a QR Code?.[Online] Available https://www.whatisaqrcode.co.uk[Accessed: 23 March 2019]