Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Friday, January 21, 2011

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Digital Literacy News 01-21-11

Mount Vernon Digital Literacy News

January 21, 2011
Digital Literacy Workshop

Monday, January 24,
Using Digital Maps across the curriculum.  We will share a variety of tools, resources and examples for using, and creating different types of maps that can be used in many different curriculum areas.

Upcoming Digital Literacy Workshop:
Monday, February 7 ,
Google Tools:  We will explore new tools and new ideas for not so new tools from Google.

See a schedule for the year.

Open Lab: 2:30 - 5:00

Resource Instruction: 3:15 - 4:00               
Monday Afternoons, District Office Tech Lab.

Clock  Hours are available.

Links to Explore

QR Code Readers:
This one works with PCs and Webcams

i-nigma Reader for iPhones and iPods

QuickMark for Android Phones

Creating a Code:
Kawya Code Generator

Ideas for Classroom Use:
2011: The Year of the QR Code

QR Codes in Education (PREZI)

Interesting Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom

ISTE: Using QR Codes in Education
Are you Q-Ring?  

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about QR Codes lately.  Jeff Utecht, Washingtonian Educator, Consultant and Author currently working in Thailand, proclaimed 2011, The Year of the QR Code.  From the little I had heard, it sounded interesting, but a bit pie in the sky. I had to get my head around how we could actually make it work in our classrooms.  I was further spurred to explore after a conversation with Elise Mueller, one of my Qwest and Peer Coach buddies  from Bellingham.  She and I were brainstorming ideas of how students in her 5th grade class could team with Kindergartners with iPod Touches to do a QR Code project.  I started digging in and asking my Professional Learning Network for ideas.  Wow!  There is a lot of interest in these 3-D codes in education.  

So first of all, a little explanation about what QR Codes are.  You’ve probably seen them, even if you didn’t know what you were looking at.  QR or Quick Response Codes are 3-D Bar Codes, a much more sophisticated barcode than the ones currently on most of the items we purchase.  Because it can be scanned in more than one direction, it can hold a lot of information.  When the code is scanned, it can direct you to a web address, map, audio file, video, email and more.  Companies are using these codes in advertising to direct people to more information about their product.  The most common use is to direct mobile customers to more content on their Smartphone.  (There are also ways to make this work with a regular camera phone with the ablity to send mms/email messages.)

There are many apps available for scanning these codes on different types of phones. Just do a Google search for QR Code Scanners and then find the one that fits your phone.  But the exciting part, is that it is extremely easy to create your own QR codes with just a few clicks online.  This means that you can start creating your own codes and pointing people to the content you want to share.  

So what is in this for educators?  Well, my first thought is, great, we can create codes and people can scan them, but unless our students have access to SmartPhones or the latest generation of iPod Touches, what’s in it for the students?  Doing a little research into how teachers are using these, really opened my eyes to the possibilities.  My biggest mind hurdle was the lack of access to the phones, while not a perfect solution in all cases, I found out that you can also use a webcam on a computer.  This opens up many more doors for our students.  And while Smartphone technology is still not accessible for all right now, we are moving in that direction, so lets be possibilitarians, and dream a bit.  

Our video of the week, features a school that has found many handy and innovative ideas for using QRCodes. So be sure to watch.  I will share links to other posts and resources on the QRCodes for you to explore even more.  

Even though the real power is in the mobile learning possibilities available with this technology, here are a few of the less mobile and maybe more immediately accessible  ideas for our district.

Create QRCodes on books in the library.  Once scanned using a computer station that includes a web cam, the student would be directed to a student created video book trailer, or podcast reviewing the book.

Create QRCodes that link to teacher or student created tutorials in math.  Attach the code to the math assignment.  If students need extra help, they can scan in to the tutorial.

Create QRCode Flashcards and set up a practice station in your room.

If you do have access to SmartPhones, perhaps put up codes around town and go on a walking field trip.  Students stop and listen, watch videos, or go to websites for more information at each stop.  Even better, have one class create the QRCode Trail for another class.

Once you start thinking about this, the ideas are endless.  

If you like these ideas, but are thinking how much better they would be with a device like an iPod Touch, why not consider writing a mini grant through to get a few Touches for your classroom.

Video of the Week

Tech Triumphs

Mathcasts are a great way to both create tutorials for students or even better, have students create their own tutorials.  I’ve been dabbling with this for years and the technology to do this keeps getting easier and easier and more accessible.  My last best find for this before moving into my current position was VoiceThread.  A great online tool for multimedia shared conversations.  VoiceThread has many great uses and lends itself well to MathCasts.  My friend, Tim Fahlberg created a great website around this idea at Math247 .

Check out another cool way to create mathcasts with a neat little gadget called a LiveScribe pen.  This pen looks and works like a regular pen, but when used with a special dotted paper, you can record your writing and talking for playback on the computer.  This pen was created with note taking in lecture style classes but leave it to teachers to find other creative uses.  Michael Guelker Cone, 5th grade teacher at Lincoln is using his pen to create pencasts for his students.  He posts them on his class blog.  He shared that he was able to get a good deal on the pen by going to the website and ordering a refurbished pen.  Take a look at his blog and see how he is using this tool.

Digital Citizenship

Here is a very clever, well edited video about Copyright and Fair Use.  We teacher and our students have a lot to learn in this area.  The idea is that they created this video in a way that they used the Fair Rules to share about Copyright.

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Jeff Utecht said...

Two things real quick!

1. I think QR Codes will be huge in 2011. As we look for ways in education to use them, the growth of them in society is already being seen everywhere. How are using them in education? I'm not sure, but we're finding a lot of ways to use them in society.

2. Although QR Codes work great on SmartPhones they also work just as well on a regular computer that has a built in camera. You can find a host of QR code readers for your computer and use it that way in the classroom as well.

In the end their best use, and why they were created, is in connecting information in the physical world to information in the cyber world. Book reviews are a great example of this. Look for area or ideas around that concept and I think we'll be finding great uses for QR Codes in the future.

Martha said...

Jeff, Yes, I agree, when I began to see the possibilities of using the codes with a PC in a classroom, it seemed a lot more possible. I'm excited to see where this goes. I know that we will have creative teachers who will find amazing uses.