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Thursday, January 29, 2015

TUIT: Matt Denton and Emmanual Stone, WMS

I've had a great run at West Middle School.  Starting this week, I'm holding over at Southside Elementary for a few weeks before beginning my three embedded weeks at Wright Elementary.

As I mentioned in the last post, several of the WMS Warriors partnered together before tackling a specific edtech tool.   Our next #ShelbyTUITshoutout goes to a pair of social studies teachers who began incorporating QR Codes in their classrooms: Emmanual "Manny" Stone and Matt Denton.

What are QR Codes, you ask?  QR is short for "Quick Response."  Use a QR Reader app on your smartphone or tablet (there are tons out there, many of which are free) and by scanning the code, information is decoded.  It could just be text (if so, you don't need a wifi or data connection to see it!), or contact information you could save to your device, or a URL address that you can quickly visit.   QR codes can be printed out on a worksheet or on a wall, could be embedded in a website, or just projected on the screen in your room.

What are some advantages of QR Codes?

  • It's quick.  Students don't have to type in long URL addresses, just scan and go.
  • Differentiation is easy and anonymous. For example, you could find three videos that teach the same concept but in differing levels of complexity.  Everyone has to watch a video and do work afterward, but WHICH video they watch can be easily assigned by three different QR codes.
  • Become paperless.  In theory, you could project a code on the screen and students get your "handout" without ever passing out a single piece of paper.
  • Increased engagement.  Whether it's QR scavenger hunts or creating mystery rewards or assignments, students won't know what they have until they "play."

A Google Slides presentation I created on QR Codes is available here.  If you are interested in an online list of resources, scan the QR code pictured below.

One of my favorite websites for QR codes is The QR Code Generator.  Not only can you easily make both dynamic and static QR codes, but you can even turn your webcam into a reader by using the site's "Scan" tab...without installing any programs!

Manny and Matt were intrigued by QR codes after one of my PDs, and within a few days were trying them out in their classroom in the middle of a Greek myth unit.  I was observing his classroom when Mr. Stone tried it out; Manny projected a QR code on the screen, and students eagerly scanned it to see a site of unusual natural phenomenon.  Matt handed out small slips of paper that had three different QR codes linked to websites: a picture for a writing prompt, a shortcut to Kahoot, and tips for writing a myth.

Congratulations to Mr. Denton and Mr. Stone for their #ShelbyTUITshoutout!

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