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QR (Quick Response) Codes have actually been around for a while, they are just now becoming popular in the mainstream US population over the last couple of years or so.  QR codes serve as a link that can be available to mobile devices straight from a screen or more importantly, print and physical media. One resource I have found to be absolutely wonderful is QRstuff.com where not only can you create QR Codes, but you can learn more about the history of them, recommended apps for using the codes, as well as examples of how they are used in a variety of industries.

Here are some of the ways I am planning on utilizing QR codes for the next school year:

Increase Parental Involvement: On the contact cards I make for Open House each year, I am making a QR code for our school and class websites, allowing parents to easily access our online material.  I have even considered having magnets made so they will be able to be placed on the refrigerator at home and have less chance of being lost.

Increase student communication and utilization: On handouts I provide at the beginning of the school year, I am creating a QR code for my Gmail address for my students as well as one for our class website. If students have the ability to immediately download my email address to their phone, I believe they are more likely to utilize it and communicate with me throughout the year if they have questions or problems.

Create an interactive classroom environment without student computers: QR codes allow a teacher to develop a more engaging classroom environment without having to have the use of a lab.  If a school allows the use of smart phone and tablet technology, QR codes can be placed under pictures or on various labels throughout the classroom, then students will have the ability to scan the code using the reader on their own device and view the corresponding web page, video, or information that links to the information in the room.  At this point, the scanning can be done through an activity or through student choice, and it is my firm belief that when a student chooses to access a resource, they are much more likely to be engaged and retain information they learn from the information they discover by choice.