The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

Follow this blog via email at the right.
Join our email list:
Friend us on Facebook SoCal AAC
Follow us on Twitter @SCAACN

Monday, November 12, 2012

QR Codes - An Introduction

They've been popping up for years, and I've been wondering why to care about QR Codes, aka. Quick Response Codes.  This two-dimensional bar code was originally created by a Japanese company (of course) in 1994 for use in the Automotive industry for tracking parts and high-speed data decoding.  In recent years, QR codes have made their way into the education field's broad and sometimes overwhelming category of emerging technologies, and while this post does not directly relate to AAC, I think these little guys are worth knowing about.

qrcodeQR codes consist of black squares of varying sizes arranged on a white background and in our modern advertising world are intended to be scanned into your mobile device from a billboard, bus ad, poster or magazine page in order to get more information, a special coupon, etc. With an app such as Scan by QR Code City on your mobile device and WiFi service, you aim, your device locks onto and scans the QR code frame, and then (most often) takes you to a web site.

A QR code can store all kinds of information. Here are some common uses:  
  • Text
  • Web Addresses /  URLs
  • Phone Numbers
  • Numeric Code, Part Numbers: Up to 7,089 Characters
  • Alphanumeric: Up to 4,296 Characters
  • GPS Data / Coordinates
  • Contact Information / Business Card Info / Vcard Data
  • Wi-Fi Network Info
Sean Sweeney, SLP, of SpeechTechie suggests creating a QR code yourself that a client can use their mobile device to scan in order to be taken to:
  • A word with a target sound
  • A vocab word or definition
  • Contextual info
  • Or a strategy you want the student to use
From Sweeney: QR codes lend themselves to be used in scavenger hunts in which a child locates the codes you have hidden around the classroom, therapy center, or wherever. They also lend themselves to story mapping, as a story can be broken down into text elements and printed as QR codes, one for character/setting, one for kickoff, and so on.(CLICK HERE to go to an example of Sweeney's story grammar marker QR codes)
Here is a QR code I created on a free website called Kaywa. Open your QR scanner app, point, scan, and your device will procede to a URL for my post of the 46 ASHA Convention 2012 sessions on AAC (poster sessions excluded).
A little more about QR codes from Sean Sweeney is available on the ASHAsphere (ASHA's official blog)... So what about QR codes is applicable to us as SLPs and educators? First of all, they are extremely easy to create and print for use in sessions (though again, you need to have access to [a mobile device], or a computer with a webcam in order to read them). Secondly, they are an instant attention-grabber for kids, and constitute a kind of high-tech hide and seek. Rather than giving kids a piece of paper that serves as a stimulus (word or picture), you can present (or hide!) a QR Code they can scan in order to read a text message or see an image, website or video. Students from Kindergarten to High School are engaged by this little hook, which adds the process of discovery to any of your sessions.
From Patrick Black via Teaching All Students blog (scan the code I created for this URL, at left, and read the blog on your device): QR Codes are everywhere, and I've started using them in my classroom.  One use I have been trying, is attaching them to homework for students.  Typically I'll print them out on an address label and the code will link to a screencast or video explanation of the homework activity... great way to share information with parents, and help students remember what they need to do on worksheets.  Nothing special but an easy way to incorporate multiple representations in an activity. 
Read Sean Sweeney's Part 2 on creating your own QR codes, posted on ASHAsphere. He describes in detail how to create various kinds of QR codes, apps to use to scan them, and lesson ideas for you to try out right away! 


No comments:

Post a Comment