Posts Tagged ‘QR Codes’
When I posted Microsoft Tag the QR Code killer in July last year little did I realise the amazing progress that QR code generators would take. But then you shouldn’t be surprised as QR code technology is open and MSTag is limited to software engineers that work for Microsoft.
This graphic beautifully illustrates the state of play at the time of my blog post lin 2011. Both codes link to my website. The MSTag was made using Microsoft Powerpoint (instructions here) and the QR Code was created by a website called QRHacker.
The battle between QR and MSTag hinges on ‘Customisation’. As you can see the MSTag on the right looks like a picture with the small coloured dots being the ‘code’ that can be read. The QR code looks pretty with a colourful background, a picture in the centre and the black squares that can be scanned. Only one winner here!
Now take a look at this QR Code. It looks very similar to the MSTag, where the picture becomes the code and looks a lot more creative than the old customised QR Code. This was made using the Eyeconit QR code generator at the Visualead website. All you need is an image and you can generate the QR code that blends beautifully. I think you’ll agree that it is just as striking as the MSTag and a lot easier to generate! (When scanned, this QR Code sends you to my website)
But the QR Code customisation doesn’t stop there-there’s QR Voice which produces a QR Code from a piece of text that you type in. When you scan the code it ‘speaks’ aloud the text that you used to generate the code! But combine the web address URL with the image customisation and you get a cool QR code that talks. On the left is the ‘standard’ QR code that is generated by QR Voice on the right is the same QR generated with Visualead.
The potential in Education is huge! Imagine creating a QR Code image linked to a multitude of space links for example or students creating a link to their class blog with the class mascot or badge and creating a great QR code for it. Much nicer to send home than a boring URL!
The fun doesn’t stop there-next up we have QR Notes a rather intriguing QR Code generator that will assign any image and a 500 word ‘note’ to a code. Here’s an example that has my image and a little bit about me.
Again customising this QR Note leads to endless educational possibilities. How about a 500 word challange (created by the brilliant Julia Skinner @TheHeadsOffice ) as a QR Code-complete with image for extra points?Or a 500 word or less book review for the library? How about a QR Code that links to what the students know about a topic at the beginning of studying and then students create another QR at the end linking to a blog post all about what they have learned at the end?
So how about scanning a QR code without a portable device? Impossible!No! Take a read of the legendary @RmByrne website ‘Free Technology for Teachers’ post about a rather clever Google Chrome extension that let’s you ‘scan’ codes directly from your browser (takes a lot of the fun away though!)
If you would like to know more about QR codes and their potential in the class here is my presentation at the Bradford Bmoble 2012 event on Using QR codes and Tags to raise attainment in writing.
If you’re after loads of links to broaden your QR in education knowledge try this Bit.ly bundle that I always add to.
Finally (and no I’m not on commission) @ianaddison asked me to write a chapter about implementing QR codes into the classroom for his brilliant new Rising Stars Essentials: ICT Apart from having my great chapter it really is a great place to start if you are new, experienced or looking for ideas to implementing ICT into your classroom practise. Is available from Amazon at a very reasonable £9.09!I’m always learning and I found some great ideas that I will implement in September.Written by Julian S Wood - www.ideasfactory.me/about/"rel="author"
My intention was to put this project in for the Microsoft Innovative Educators award but unfortunately I didn’t have the time to fill in the five page Virtual Classroom Tour application form.
I also wasn’t confident in it winning anything-so have decided to put it on my website instead.
At the moment I am teaching in Year 2 (6/7 year olds) and last half-term we were doing a project about ‘Food’. Specifically ‘Dairy food’ and the ‘Our Cow Molly’ Farm, in Sheffield.
I have been wracking my brain for ages trying to think of an innovative use for the Microsoft Tag (Useful explanation here), as some of you know I have used QR and Semma codes in school already and I didn’t want to rehash an old idea. The beauty with Microsoft Tag is that you can put any picture behind the code and it immediately has some visual reference, I wanted my project to utilise this feature but also be simple enough for 6 year olds to understand.
By using MSTag I was also bringing handheld learning into the classroom as to ‘scan’ a tag you need a Smartphone or ipod touch.
Watching the kids in my class play board games one wet play, I suddenly had some inspiration-why couldn’t board games be integrated with Smarphones ? It was then I came up with the idea to get the kids to design Dairy Topic board games that used MSTags for game directions or commands.
My lower ability group worked together on simple snakes and ladders games, scan on a snake and you go down, scan on a ladder and you go up! I provided an 100 square grid template and the children worked in Powerpoint. Here’s one example here-
My middle ability worked on a simple ‘path’ game with a premise of lost cows. Using the imperative language of board games and the specialist vocabulary associated with dairy cows. Again I provided a template and they worked in powerpoint. Here’s one example-
My higher ability worked on much more complex games,they had no templates as I wanted them to invent their own game boards. I also asked them to implement a ‘card’ system (Like ‘Chance’ & ‘Community Chest’ in Monopoly) for forfeits. Their games also had to be about the life of a dairy cow. Unfortunately these pupils are still finishing their designs off and I don’t have any completed versions to show.
The kids have a great time playing these board games, we have groups of up to 8 players playing at once, using the teachers smartphones I borrowed! They are amazingly popular, it’s encouraging co-operation, reading skills, boosting self-esteem and most importantly utilising a range of technology to impact on learning. Notice how the technology always worked alongside the learning and not just the stimilus or all encompassing.
Both these boards are playable-if you have a smartphone you can download the MSTag app here. My original premise was for the boards to be played online with flash driven dice in Powerpoint, it’s a shame I couldn’t get this feature-so you’ll just have to use a standard dice and not a virtual one!
In case you’re wondering these boards are a culmination of a 7 week project, 1-2 hours a week, starting off with some basic object/picture skills, like re-sizing, grouping, order and word art. Then moving onto the customisation of MSTags, which is really easy (it has to be if 6 year olds can do it!).
You have to have a windows live account to create MSTags so I creating the tags, using the pupils instructions, they all used the free-text option and when you scan the codes you only see game instructions.
I think for 6 year olds my pupils have done an amazing job, I hope their work inspires educators out there to have a play and maybe next year I’ll get my act together and make time to do a proper application!www.ideasfactory.me/about/"rel="author"
After seeing this tweet from @innovativeteach AKA Stuart Ball from The Microsoft Partners in Learning Programme-I decided to investigate.
Microsoft Tag is basically a barcode system that can be read by a mobile phone (Free Tag reader here) and linked to text, a URL, V-Card (Virtual Business card) or a Dialler (automatically dials a phone number when scanned).
It’s been around since 2009-a relatively new invention considering QR Codes have existed since 1997.
MS Tag using High Capacity Colour Barcode (HCCB) technology, which makes able to encode more information into relatively small area. Also because of small amount of information, errors can be handled easily for MSTag. For encode 1 byte we need 8 symbols in QR codes, while in MS Tag only 4.
A big difference is that Microsoft Tag is rendered in colour-giving it a ‘patchwork quilt’ look-you can create black and white versions though.
Yes you can ‘create’ colour versions of QR codes but it’s not standard and it doesn’t look as good as MSTag.
Here’s a MS Tag for my website compared to a QR code
Now comes the interesting bit (especially for educational use) you can render the MSTag with ‘dots’ and put an image in the background to create a ‘custom’ tag image- Here’s the MS Tag to link to my blog again.
This is a really easy process (Instructions) , using powerpoint-to do this with a QR code is difficult, time consuming and beyond the creative skills of most people.
Yet with a MS Tag even kids can do it-How about a space topic MSTag?
Am sure people can think of loads of uses in education-would be great if people would use the comments section to do this!