Do’s and Don’ts of Using QR Codes

Finally, I compiled a brief list of the Do’s and Don’ts that I learned from my first attempt at QR Code implementation in my Social Studies classroom.

Let’s start with the negative- DON’T:

– Allow for students to download apps. This should be obvious but easily distracts them.

– Expect students to have their own devices. Some may, but have backup plan if one class doesn’t have the necessary amount

– Assume digital natives know how to read QR Codes. Most of my students had seen them enough to know what they look like, but few had ever actually scanned one.

– Rely solely on the technology. Keep a backup plan resource like a textbook, reading or something low tech that contains the same information. Internet might drop, or other tech issues may arrise.

– Micro-manage the activity. Students will lose interest if you try to do it for them, let them come to you if the tech isn’t working, they won’t learn if you step in when they fail once.


Now for the positives – DO:

– Create very clear directions. Take the extra 10 minutes to explain expectations and rules, it will save you 30 minutes of classroom management and repeating yourself later.

– Allow enough time. The beauty of this technology is that it is NEW and students are supposed to fail or stumble while figuring it out. Allow time for this.

– Ensure they have time to share. Students are creating something new and unique, let them show this off to each other.

– Have fun with it. Even though you will want to pull your hair out at a few points, just enjoy the fact that all the students will be yearning to figure out how to use these devices and accessing the information you have created for them. Even though you will find pictures like the ones below on all of the devices when they are done, allow them to enjoy the process of completing your assignment.



What do you find when 90 Freshmen are allowed three days to use iPod Touch devices……


Creation of my QR Code Activity

To prepare for this lesson, the first thing I needed to do was ensure I knew what I wanted my students to be looking at the QR Codes for. I decided that they would be receiving the following information from the first QR Code on the maps. (Pic to Right)

African Nation:
– Leader: ____________
– Government: _______________
– Independence Date:________________
– Colonizing Nation: _________________

Next QR #____

From here they were to scan another QR code that was attached to the board. This would give them the following information below.

Colonization Information:
– Former Name: __________
– Origin of Name:___________
– Date of Colonization: _____________
– Significant Information: _________________

They were to use this information to create a poster about the nation. They could make the poster however they wanted, but they were required to include this infomariotn from the two QR Codes.

What my students saw:

QR CODE – Angola

Student Sees:

QR Code #2

Student Sees:

I created these QR Codes using the Chrome Browser App The QR Code Generator.

After I created the six nations QR codes, I created the six QR codes for their independence movements.


The students were required to create a poster using the QR codes, but they were also allowed to use the QR codes to work on the charts and worksheets they were also assigned. I found that most student choose to keep working with the QR codes even when they were not required.


Students interacting with QR Code: