Insights & Ideas for Online Teaching
Guest Blog: QR Codes in the Foreign Language Classroom
Don’t let the title fool you—if you don’t habla español, you can still benefit from QR codes. Here are a few examples of how I’ve used them in my Spanish classroom.
“Display” Student Work
I love having my students create digital products. A Prezi, an Animoto, and we’ve even done class websites. How do we display these to other students, teachers or parents? I have students create QR codes that link to their online products and then post the printed QR codes with a summary, a photo, or some other reference to their digital work. Students, parents and others passing by can scan a QR code and be taken to the digital product.
Play Writing Games
One of my favorite Spanish activities is the “Who Am I?” game. Students describe a mystery person in Spanish and others try to guess. Instead of a traditional classroom activity, sometimes I mix it up and have students type up their descriptions and pair them with a QR code that links to the answer. Classmates read the clues, make a guess, then scan the code to see the answer.
Improve work flow by linking QR codes to resources for your students. Instead of sharing a long URL to a video, audio clip, handout or website, how about posting a QR code? If students have access to devices or bring their own, this is certainly more convenient.
Add Context to Paper Projects or Posters
As much as I love it, I don’t think technology is always the best choice. Written reports, dioramas, building projects and collages still have their place in education. But wouldn’t it be fun to include a virtual example with these constructions? Imagine a model Aztec pyramid sculpted in clay with a QR code linked to a 3-D video of the real thing, or a collage of Latino culture and a QR code to a song we can listen to. Think about the possibilities if students can add an internet-based reference or example to their projects.
The possibilities for this activity are endless. Students might start with a code, receive a question or clue that takes them to the next place where there is another clue, and so on. The questions might be challenging—so that they must use their personal devices to research before moving on. Just the idea that students are up and moving around instead of watching a PowerPoint is enough motivation for me to do this. Don’t forget that students can easily create a scavenger hunt as well.
Messages and Rewards
For the geek in all of us. Instead of putting a “Good Job” or “Bravo” on a paper, how about a QR code with that phrase? Some teachers hand out slips of paper during class with words of praise on them. Replace that with a mystery QR code given to a student who has to find out what it says.
QR codes are a fun and engaging way to bring paper and cyberspace together. Bring them to your classroom today!
About the Author: Mara Gust is the Spanish and Technology teacher at Greenbush-Middle River School, a rural district in northwest Minnesota. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Spanish, Master's in Education and a Certificate in K-12 Technology. She assists district-wide with technology integration and serves on the district technology committee. Mara is also a Graphite Common Sense Certified Educator. You can view her personal blog at geekie-teacher.com<www.geekie-teacher.com>.