Tag Archive for QR codes

QR Codes: Final Projects

Too often, I find myself trying to come up with intensively specific projects for students.  Massive amounts of two-sided, collated and stapled assignments consisting of multiple steps and checkpoints.  This intense need to plan for every single aspect is probably rooted in the very real understanding that students procrastinate.  They need guidelines. However, the level of intense project creation that then falls upon me is crushing.  Constantly tweaking, changing and revising the steps only helps to further sour me on the actual assignment itself.

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What I want is a creative assignment to end a novel or a unit of study.  One that easily proves students can think critically and problem solve.  One that has them implement technology.  One that has them actually create something related to my class, that practices skill sets learned in my class and that proves them thoughtful and creative.  Did I mention that I would like it to be of their own design?

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Sigh.

This is a lot to ask of teens.  They need guidance to think outside of the test prep bubble in which they’ve existed since elementary school.  So think of this project like an assignment in creativity, problem solving, big picture thinking, writing OR like a James Bond style mission, that is of course if you choose to accept it.

Novel/Unit Project with QR Focus Basic
1.  The goal of a project like this is to give students a list of tools and a general overview of rules.  Their job then becomes creating the project guidelines and the final product.  Think Fed-ex Day but with some determined parameters/tools.  Focused on novel or unit but on any aspect the students choose.
2.  Set expectations and tools for the assignment.  If you’re going for the element of surprise, split students into groups.  Hand each group a paper bag filled with the tools they’re allowed to use.  Example:

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close QR lesson (This gives you that 007 feel.)
  • Images of tools they can use (This gives you that MacGyver feel.)
    • Cell Phones
    • QR Codes
    • Computers
    • Any other tool you want to throw in for good measure

3.  Ask that they construct an “official” assignment that could be used in a “real” course.  They should pick an idea, issue or part of the book to highlight.  Examples might include a QR Map of Holden Caulfield’s adventures in NYC or an assignment that asks students to use QR codes in

4.  Ask that they set achievable and challenging goals for each week.

5.  Provide class time for achieving these goals.

6.  Ask that they present their final project and product.

QR Codes: Poetry & Speech Units

It’s clear to me that students don’t understand tone.  Not one bit.  They just don’t hear the inflection.  It’s not as if they don’t try; they just misread.  Over and over again.  And while I’d love to do all the “voices” for them in every single text we read there simply isn’t the time.

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In order to combat student “deafness,” QR codes offer the ability for students to listen clearly to text as performance.  Consider a unit of study that depended on students listening and reviewing.

While QR codes could be used to direct students to any type of podcast, they are incredibly helpful for teaching poetry and short speeches.  In such a context, students have the ability to choose their own “text” and listen, review, take notes, even evaluate.

Imagine an assignment where before being given the text or speech or poem, they’re made to choose based on title alone.  To ask them to construct a choice by simply examining a title is a lesson in itself.  This type of an assignment allows students choice, teaches listening skills and focuses on the significance of tone.  To begin with, consider using resources like The Writer’s Almanac or The Poetry Foundation.  They both offer wonderful readings that can easily be turned into QR codes.  If you’d rather use speeches, try History.com’s wonderful resource of audio and video speeches including many from presidents.  American Rhetoric also offers MP3 audio files for many of its top 100 speeches.

Basic Assignment Overview

  1. Review our QR Tutorial to use web address to create QR Codes.
  2. Ask that students bring Smartphones, tablets or iPods as well as headphones.
  3. Offer students two QR codes for two different “texts.”  Provide them the title and/or speaker.
  4. Ask that students simply listen and construct a series of observations.  If your QR codes are for speeches you might ask students to SOAPSTone based simply on what they hear.
  5. Provide students the actual text for their choice.  Have them listen a second time and annotate looking specifically towards how tone is created.
  6. Ask them to construct an overall evaluation/review of the text’s tone.

While the steps are simple and the idea unoriginal, the purpose ultimately is to get them to listen.  Too often they resign themselves as soon as we pass out paper.  Instead, ask them to listen first and respond second.  Providing them a “second” reading is crucial and listening offers them the ability to truly reflect upon style, purpose and tone.  I’ve included a sample poetry based lesson featuring QR codes as an example of how something like this could work.

QR Codes: Journals & Openers

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Sometimes I feel at the beginning of class that my act is huge flop.  It’s tough to know how to start.  Classroom management, attention and engagement rarely occur simultaneously.   And no matter the variety of journal prompts or moral/ethical debates outlined students frequently treat this “opening” work like a chore.

Within this realm, QR codes can become an incredibly practical application.  Imagine being able to implement media literacy along with student choice.  Imagine a written response or evaluation.  Imagine students happy to discuss in small groups or with the class as a whole their own perspective on the podcast or video that they digested after scanning a QR Code.

Opening Activity: Choose Your Own Adventure

Okay so not every student will chortle with delight when you explain that “adventure” in this case means choosing their own QR Code.  But you will peak their interest when you explain that these QR cods will take them to a short podcast or video that will require to explore a moral/ethical dilemma or an area of focus your are currently studying.   Using the QR code is simply the vehicle via which they begin an opening critical thinking exercise.  The goal is not to replace writing.  Instead the end result should be a list of student constructed essential questions and a written argument about the material.  Below is an example of what this type of lesson demands of students.

  1. Ask in advance that students bring headphones and Smartphones
  2. Provide students 2-3 QR codes from which to choose.   Each QR code should direct them to a short video or short podcast that raises big picture issues.  TED’s “short talks” would be a good resource from which to select or UPENN’s 60 Second Lectures.  If you’re teaching poetry you might provide QR codes that link to episode’s of NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Kellior.
  3. Ask that students listen to or watch their choice at least twice.
  4. Have them complete a listening, questioning and reviewing activity in their journals.

While this is simple it will help jump-start your class.  Pick videos or podcasts that complement the material you are teaching or that highlight a skill set students are practicing.  Here is an QR JOURNALS Example.

QR Codes Part Deux: Overview

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Implementing tech is daunting.  It requires that teacher be both troubleshooter and cheerleader.   Things go wrong when students and technology mix.  Computers are slow.  Students are impatient.  I’ve answered the same question about text boxes three times.  It’s enough to make the best of us say, “Take out your copies of The Things They Carried and read silently.”

People can argue all they want that the digital native now sits in every seat in every classroom, but I don’t buy it.  Students are just as frustrated, impatient and incapable as I am.  They can’t figure out how to import video or change font size either.  This is, of course, why any type of worthwhile classroom technology must have multiple applications.  Technology that is multipurpose helps teachers with troubleshooting and students with familiarity.

In an effort to do just that, this week we revisit the QR code.  As far as “tech” goes, it’s simple.  So simple that in these waning days of the school year you could easily implement a QR code activity with little trouble and impressive results.   When we posted about QR in the classroom this past November our goal was to teach students the role of QR codes in society and to revamp classroom learning stations into QR stations.  This time we’ll post on how QR can extend classroom learning, provide student choice and teach students to evaluate/review areas of focus.

Our previous posts are listed below to get you started.

  1. QR Background & Infographic
  2. QR Tutorial
  3. QR Codes in Popular Culture
  4. QR Learning Stations
  5. QR Week in Review

Weekend Pop Culture: Starbucks and Create Jobs for USA

To recap, yesterday we discussed Starbucks’ initiative Create Jobs for USA.  Yesterday’s post was all about how to use the language of the website,

infographics and video to analyze images, argument and language.   Today will be a conversation about how to use the media’s coverage to teach media literacy and practice critical thinking and writing skills through synthesis.

Pose the following synthesis question to your students:

What moral or ethical considerations should be part of a movement like Create Jobs for America when partnered with a larger corporation like Starbucks?

 

Before having them construct an persusaive paragraph or thesis statement have them review the different perspectives below.  You might even consider using QR stations with the information below if you feel so inclined!

 

WYNC Q&A with Schultz

Insightful Q&A that examines point of view and argument from Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz. .  For a more detailed discussion of how to introduce Q&A’s in class see our post about the NBA lockout.  See the excerpt below.

 

Questions to pose for discussion and/or written response:

  1. Identify Schultz’s primary argument.
  2. What is evident about Howard Schultz based on his responses?  What do you know about him as an individual, a CEO and an American?

NPR-Starbucks Hopes to Kick-Start Job Creation

NPR provides a useful overview along with several interviews from microfinanciers and economists.  It offers a perspective that is not only driven by the voice of Starbucks.

Questions to pose for discussion and/or written response:

  1. Discuss the importance of including Mark Pinksy’s point of view.  What impact does it have on the story?
  2. What is the argument identified about private corporations and responsibility to the American public?

Huffington Post-Small Businesses to Lawmakers: Give Us Some Credit!

A Pro-Create Jobs for USA piece with a distinctive voice/tone.  It’s a great piece for students in terms of identifying point of view, argument and how language contributes to tone.

Questions to pose for discussion and/or written response:

  1. Identify the tone of the author.  Identify three words that contribute to this tone and explain their role in constructing his point of view.
  2. Discuss the author’s argument?  How does informal language and “anecdotal” evidence help to strengthen his claim?

QR Codes: Overview

QR codes are everywhere but I rarely see people actually pull out their phones and scan the black and white squares.  Personally, I do it all the time.  I need to know. It doesn’t matter if it’s product endorsements, MTV video clips or free coupons for money off Dove Soap bars, I need to know.  Yes, I was that kid who would look for their Christmas gifts and/or try to unwrap them ahead of time.  I need to know.

Infographic originally published on Mashable.com, found via

 

What peaks my interest (aside from figuring out what my gifts will be in the near future), is how QR codes are used in both popular culture and the classroom. The intersection between the two is immense.  See the infographic above from one of our “favorites.”

This week we’ll do things a bit differently. Tuesday we’ll offer a brief tutorial about how/where to create QR codes and which apps to use.  Wednesday we’ll offer up some articles that you can use to introduce a QR project or just employ as pieces that make insightful arguments about culture and technology.  Thursday we’ll offer a practical classroom use.  Friday, well, Friday we’ll be our humorous and engaging selves.

This week is just a taste of how you can use QR codes.  We plan on taking a run at it again in 2012!

So here you go.  To those of you who are already QR savvy, see if you can resist the temptation of scanning.