Tag Archives: qr codes

QR Codes on the noticeboard

So there I was walking down one of the corridors in the college when I noticed that there was a QR Code on the noticeboard.

It linked to a survey by students on bands and music, they were using surveymonkey that works well on a mobile device. The questionnaire was a simple one so could be easily completed on your mobile device.

I think the only thing I would have changed may have been adding some idea of what the QR Code was about. Also I would have been adding a short URL to the QR Code for those that did not have a QR Code reader.

Interesting to see learners using QR Codes on their own accord.

e-Learning Stuff – Top Ten Blog Posts of 2011

A somewhat quieter year this year with just over 150 blog posts posted to the blog.

As I did in 2010 and 2009 here are the top ten blog posts according to views for this year.

10. Using the VLE more

This posting was very much an opinion piece on how learning technologists could engage teachers in using the VLE more to support learners. The key behind this quite short post was about moving the responsibility of using the VLE to the practitioner, and their continuing personal development in the use of the VLE.

9. Moodle 2 Teacher’s Guide

This post proved popular and it was an opportunity to remember where I had seen this great guide to Moodle 2, but also embed it into the blog using Issuu.

8. 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip

The eighth most popular post this year was from my ongoing series of ways in which to use a VLE. This particular posting was about embedding a comic strip into the VLE using free online services such as Strip Creator and Toonlet.

It is quite a lengthy post and goes into some detail about the tools you can use and how comics can be used within the VLE.

The series itself is quite popular and I am glad to see one of my favourite in the series and one of the more in-depth pieces has made it into the top ten.

7. Paper Camera – iPhone App of the Week

This review of Paper Camera as part of my App of the Week series certainly struck a chord with many who thought the app was excellent.

This really nice image manipulation app creates cartoon or sketch like images from either your photographs, or applies the filter in real time so you can see what your image will look like through the live image from the camera.

The review which included images I had created using the app, demonstrated to readers what the app was capable of, but also some of the limitations. For me I only review apps that I use and think can be of value to my readers (well apart from one or two exceptions where I want to tell people not to buy the app).

6. “The Best Moodle Tools You’ve Never Used”

Tools such as Moodle have a range of functions that I know many of our staff are using, but of course not everyone knows everything. I like this presentation from the Columbian MoodleMoot 2011 by Michelle Moore, in which she explains some of the other functions of Moodle that can be used to enhance and enrich course delivery.

I do like that I can embed presentations such as this into my blog using a service such as Slideshare. It means I can easily share things I have found, but also curate them with other finds for sharing with others.

5. So how are students using mobile phones?

A simple infographic on how US students were using their mobile phones proved popular and demonstrate their is real interest out there about mobile learning and the use of mobile phones for learning.

4. Podcast Workflow

This was probably my favourite post of the year and is also the longest blog post I have ever written at nearly 4000 words! The post outlined how I recorded the e-Learning Stuff podcast and went over the planning, the technical techniques for recording, editing and distribution. It was a post that I had been writing for a year or so, but back in July decided to finish it off and get it published.

3. Tintin – iPhone and iPad App of the Week

So my third most popular post on my e-learning blog is of a review of a game for the iPad… It’s not even a very good review, as at the time of writing that blog post I hadn’t even played the game as I wanted to see the film first! The reason why it is popular is that the blog post had quite a high search engine ranking and people clicked to see what it was about… I expect they were slightly disappointed.

2. Ten ways to use QR Codes

This post was a very reactionary post to all the posts I was seeing at the time about how to use QR Codes.

Sorry, this is not a blog post on ten ways to use QR Codes, but it is a blog post about what you actually can do with QR Codes. There are in fact only five ways to use QR Codes! Once you know what you can do with QR Codes then you can build learning activities round those functions.

Got people thinking.

1. The VLE is Dead – The Movie

So the most viewed post this year was from 2009 and is the video of the VLE is Dead symposium that I was part of at ALT-C 2009. Considering this post was originally published in September 2009, the fact it is my most popular posts demonstrates the enduring substance of that debate. Is the VLE dead? Well the debate isn’t, it’s alive and well.

Optiscan – iPhone App of the Week

Optiscan – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Optiscan.

Scan any QR code quickly and easily using your devices camera and Optiscan.

  • Create your own QR codes to share contacts, web addresses, text messages, phone numbers or locations with others.
  • Contrary to some reviews, it IS possible to create geo-location codes – use the ‘Note’ option to type (or copy/paste) the information in. This will be made easier in version 1.9.2 – due very soon!
  • Save to Photo album by holding down on the QR code image and selecting ‘Save Image’
  • Automatically scan a wide variety of QR code data formats
  • Save specific QR codes for quick sharing – perfect for sharing your business card!
  • Keep a history of QR codes created and scanned for easy recall.
  • Want to scan or generate codes in French? Japanese? No problem! Optiscan supports UTF-8, ISO-8859, and Shift-JIS.
  • Select the contact details you want to send, so the right people get the right information.
  • Found a QR code on the web? You don’t need two devices. Save the image to the photo gallery from Safari (tap and hold the image) – and Optiscan will decode them for you!
  • Optiscan runs without a network connection, and keeps your data private. Why put up with anything less?

£1.49

QR Codes do seem to be going mainstream at the moment and there are lots of people who are now embedding and using them in education.

In my own college one of the Sports Lecturers on a newsletter about College Sport put in a QR code that linked to a Flickr page with more photographs on.

The iPhone doesn’t come with a QR code reader and the older iPhones, the 3G and the 3GS, had a poor quality camera that often failed to render QR codes properly. When I had a 3GS I tried a few free QR code reader apps, but in the end after reading a review bought Optiscan.

Of course the camera in the iPhone 4 and the 4S is superior to previous cameras and as a result the newer iPhones are much better at reading QR codes.

It did the job really well, so have stuck with it since then.

It reads virtually all the QR codes I have thrown at it. I also like how it retains a history of all the QR codes I have read.

There are free QR code readers that work well on the iPhone 4 such as the QR Reader for iPhone that probably means paying for a reader isn’t necessary. However if you have the older 3GS or 3G have problems with one of the free readers then I would recommend Optiscan.

Get Optiscan in the iTunes Store.

Ten ways to use QR Codes

Sorry, this is not a blog post on ten ways to use QR Codes, but it is a blog post about what you actually can do with QR Codes. Once you know what you can do with QR Codes then you can build learning activities round those functions.

So what can you do with QR Codes?

QR Codes can be used to:

  • Display text to the user.
  • Add contact details to the user’s device, a vCard.
  • Open an Uniform Resource Identifier URI (most usually a web address of some kind).
  • Compose an e-mail address with the correct address.
  • Compose an SMS text message with the correct SMS number.

So there are five ways to use a QR Code. From those five ways, you can take an individual function and expand on how it can be used for teaching and learning, so for example taking the “open an URI” function, there are many ways that can be used to support learning.

Knowing what the five functions are, you can then be sure that QR Codes are the correct solution to solve a particular problem.

For example, you can use a QR Code to display text to a user. It has to be asked why would you display a QR Code to a user for text, when the text might as well be displayed, or given on paper! One reason you might for example is if you want the user to then take text move to a different location and then act on instructions in the text. With some large QR codes allowing up to 1852 characters you could provide users with some instructions or rules or something that they need to keep close. With text to speech, a user could read a QR Code and then the phone could read the text to the user. So there are reasons for using the text function of QR Codes, especially as the user won’t need any connectivity to read the text. However if displaying the text would be just as effective, why then use a QR Code?

Adding contact details is useful, for example providing details of the Library support phone number and e-mail address. QR Codes provide a quick and easy to add those details to a user’s address book on their device.

Opening an URI (for example a web address) is an often used function of QR Codes, we use it ourselves in the Gloucestershire College libraries. The best way though to think of QR Codes is as an URL shortener, like TinyURL, bitly or is.gd taking a long URL and providing learners with a shortened version. One mistake that people make is forgetting that when using QR Codes, the web page will 99.9% of the time be then displayed on a mobile device, probably using 3G. So there is little point in pushing out web content that won’t work on mobile devices or is huge etc…. Remembering that QR Codes are merely a way of shortening URIs for mobile devices means that users will get a better experience. Don’t just use a QR Code because you can, use it because it makes a difference, makes it easier for learners and makes it faster to access “the something else” that the learners need.

Using QR Codes to enable a user to send an e-mail or an SMS I think is a really useful way of using the technology. Do you want more information? Do you need help? Vote for this awful singer on X-Factor! Sign up for a newsletter. Of course it implies that either their device can send e-mails or they want to pay to send a text.

So sorry there aren’t ten ways of using a QR Code in this blog post, but I hope it clarifies what QR Codes actually do, the five actual ways to use a QR Code.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with using QR Codes, because they are QR Codes. We once did a QR Code treasure hunt, the reason though was not because we wanted to use something “awesome” no it was because we wanted to promote the use of QR Codes in the library that were been used to help students find e-resources and online content.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #063: I’m the Mayor of Morrisons….

Bits and pieces of news from the realm of e-learning. James gets all excited over the MacBook Air. QR Codes are back in fashion and are flavour of the month. Does the top ten YouTube videos a symptom of the death of user generated content? FOTE 10 and videos and combining video with Twitter. Some more commentary on the Kindle. James really doesn’t understand FourSquare, or to be honest Places on Facebook. James however does like Instagram. Finally James talks about the JISC Online Conference 2010.

With James Clay.

This is the sixty third e-Learning Stuff Podcast, I’m the Mayor of Morrisons….

Audio MP3

Download the podcast in mp3 format: I’m the Mayor of Morrisons….

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Shownotes