Using QR Codes and Integrating them with Strategies to Amplify Learning

By: Matt Rhoads, Ed.D

Dr. Matt Rhoads is a Tech and Instructional Leader and Innovator with hands in Adult Ed, K-12, and Higher Education. He is the author of several books and is the host of Navigating Education – The Podcast.

QR Codes provide a signature for someone to access the content. Think of it as a shortcut to access the content. It is very similar to a hyperlink, but it can be displayed in our physical and digital worlds. It can transform physical and digital environments. In this same way, it can transform our classrooms and our instruction. There are many ways QR Codes can be integrated into our instruction to amplify student learning, which is the goal of this post. First, we will outline how to create QR Codes. Then, we will discuss how to use them. Finally, we will outline strategies in the classroom QR codes that can be utilized for and deployed.Β 

Retrieved from Mrs. Lau’s Blog

How to Create QR Codes

To create a QR Code, go to one of the three following websites. You will need content that the QR Code will act as a hyperlink to. Generally, a link to a Google Slideshow, document, Canvas page or assignment, PDF, or YouTube video is needed first. Once that link has been copied, you can use a QR Code generator. 

You will copy and paste the link of where you will want the QR Code to direct your students. Once you do this, click the generate button and a QR Code will appear. Once it has appeared, copy it to your clipboard and then copy and paste it into a document that you will want to print. If they are QR Codes you want to use for a long time, be sure to laminate the document they are printed on. 

Note: You can also have your QR Codes digitally and they can function in the same exact way as they would on a physical document.

Using QR Codes

To use QR Codes, you will need a mobile device with a camera. You will need to open up the camera function. Then, you will place the camera over the top of the QR Code to scan it. Once the camera has scanned the code, it will direct you with a hyperlink to the content it is a shortcut to. 

Instructional Strategies to Integrate QR Codes and Other Uses

Now, we will be discussing a number of instructional strategies as well as other uses of QR Codes by educators within our school communities. Overall, the goal of each is to amplify student learning and disseminate as much information and content as possible to augment what we are doing to do for our students. 

Vocabulary Practice – Digital/Physical Flash Cards with QR Codes 

One strategy can be the creation of flashcards with QR Codes. For multilingual students, hearing and/or seeing the vocabulary word is a great way to help them build their vocabulary and fluency when saying that word. Using vocabulary cards is what we call retrieval practice, which should be used in mass practice and then spaced out over time. Over time, students will practice less and less after a major frontloading of practice sessions. 

Read Aloud Activities

Read alouds are a powerful way students can practice listening and reading. Providing students with a piece of paper of an excerpt of the text or the entire text along with a QR Code they can scan with their phone for a read-aloud allows them to practice these skills. For in-class and asynchronous practice at home, this is possible. A recommended location to place the QR Code on your handout is at the very top of the document along with directions related to the task assigned. 

Note: If the text you are using is a novel, look up whether the novel on YouTube has a read aloud of the text available you can turn it into a QR Code. 

Free Read Alouds of Texts

QR Code Generated Digital Portfolios Using Flowcodes and Flowpages

QR Codes can be placed onto resumes, cover letters, and even on someone’s phone so they can network in addition to providing more information about themselves to share. On a digital portfolio platform like Wakelet, we can easily create a digital presence to share content on one’s self with others. The link directly to that Wakelet page can be turned into a QR Code and placed in physical and digital spaces others can scan. Another platform that does this is called Flow Pages, which allows users to build a landing page that is associated with a unique QR Code. 

Station Rotation/Scavenger Hunts

A fun and engaging strategy QR Codes can be integrated into is station rotation and scavenger hunts. A QR Code can be placed at various stations or places throughout the room where students can interact as they complete a specific task. Students scan each QR Code as they are directed to move from station to station. The QR Code directs them to the task and content they will need to complete each task. 

Retrieved from

In-Classroom Fieldtrips

Similar to Station Rotation and Scavenger Hunts, students can be given QR Codes taking them to places on a map. Using Google Earth on the web, we can create QR Codes taking students to specific locations on Earth. From buildings, cities, monuments, national parks, and more, the opportunities are endless. 

Share Resources with Others

Last, we can use QR Codes to share resources with others in physical or digital spaces. We can place QR Codes around our classrooms and buildings for students, faculty, and staff to scan. It can be for events, digital field trips around campus, the sharing of resources, and more. Additionally, we can place QR Codes on our digital presentations, which can be scanned by those attending in-person or online to retrieve further information and content. 

Published by Matthew Rhoads, Ed.D.

Innovator, EdTech Trainer and Leader, University Lecturer & Teacher Candidate Supervisor, Consultant, Author, and Podcaster

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