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Thursday, March 15, 2012

QR Codes

You may have seen these strange symbols appearing everywhere: in the supermarket, newspapers, on the subway and even on products.  But what are they and how could they be used in education?

Quick Response codes, or QR codes, are two-dimensional codes first designed by Toyota to track vehicles during the manufacturing process.  The code appears in two-dimensional form on a sign, in a paper, or on a product and the user scans the code with a QR reader.  These readers can be easily downloaded onto a mobile smartphone such as the Droid or iPhone.  The user opens the QR Scanner application, holds the phone over the code, and the scanner recognizes the code and immediately transmits the information to the user.

What information can be communicated?
There are many types of information that can be communicated through a QR code.   The most common content type would be the URL of a website.  Scanning the code would bring the reader to a website with more information, videos, or details about the topic or product.  This allows for increased communication as the presenter has the ability to support the two-dimensional presentation or advertisement with all of the information and multi-media power of the internet.  And instead of providing a link that the reader has to retype the QR code allows for a very efficient and simple
process for obtaining that additional information.

Other information can be created as well, including brief text messages, phone numbers, or SMS (short message service) messages that can be sent directly to fixed line or mobile devices.

Give it a try!  Download a QR code reader to your mobile device and scan this code for more information!

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