Get Reading - QR Style
Looking at what lay before me I wondered how my I.T skills might assist my students in engaging actively in our Unit of Inquiry investigation. Thinking about the goal of creating knowledgeable and entertaining story writers and tellers I knew that I would need a novel way of grabbing the students attention...
Two letters popped to mind and an idea was born. Teaching in an International School in the Middle East, providing opportunities for students to access a wide variety of stories was going to be challenging for a few reasons.
1) ESL students vocabulary and reading strategies inhibited their ability to enjoy reading picture story books.
2) Time constraints make it a near impossibility to read a story to each student consistently.
3) I, myself, am not bilingual yet my students are. Making both Arabic and English stories available was possible, but I would be unable to read them myself.
Like most teachers I had to think about what skills, technology and expertise I did have available that would meet the needs of the students. Things I identified were; a one-to-one iPad program, a broad knowledge of iPad use in the modern classroom, fellow staff members who were willing to roll up their sleeves and donate 5 minutes of their time, memories of a past colleague who had once mentioned these code things that link you to something and a library full of books.
Towards the end of the previous unit I had began to look into those code thingy’s and was starting to gain a little confidence and working knowledge with them. I started small, in our weekly newsletter I placed a QR Code linking a selection of photo’s of my students artwork from our inquiry to a code I had made using the QRReader App.
I wondered at first if I could simply link a photo only to find out that I had to find somewhere online to ‘host’ it or them. I settled on Flickr. First, I uploaded a number of images in a set (what they name a gallery of photo’s on Flickr). Second, I took note of the URL or website address that my photo’s were being hosted at. Next, I opened QRReader on my iPad and clicked on the create tab. I chose website URL from the options and then typed in the web address of my photo’s. Next step was to email it to myself so that i could drag and drop it into the newsletter on my laptop.
Our student iPad’s are sent home on weekends so I asked the computer tech to push the App to the students devices. I showed the students how to use it and scan the code so they could share their artwork at home with their families. Parents were also provided with instructions in the newsletter on how to access their students artwork.
Back to the future, and engaging students in story writing and reading. I had plenty of books at my disposal, but my students were not able to read them without assistance. How could i provide this in a time efficient and unique way? QR Codes of course.
So what did i do?
I appealed to my fellow staff for help. I needed readers to entertain my students and engage them.
I set the task – select a children’s story that they enjoyed or that they enjoyed reading to students and video record themselves reading it on their iPads.
Transfer – I had to find a way to move recordings across devices in an easy and efficient manner. Enter the Mover+ App. I Downloaded it for free on to my device and Mover Connect on my Macbook Pro. An easy to use interface that works quickly to transfer images and video across platforms. Simply select your video on the device, it compresses it for you, then slide it off the screen to the name of the detected device. Ensure you open Mover Connect to receive the file before sliding.
Storage – I needed an easy to use and free site to host my videos. I selected Vimeo. Being that my colleagues wanted some privacy of their work, the settings feature was ideal as it allows for the use of passwords.
QR Codes – using the same process as mentioned above I made individual QR Codes for each video in QRReader.
My first idea was to place the QR Codes around my room so students could scan them when they wanted to have a story read to them. It seemed like it lacked some flair an awe and would not be very engaging.
Bringing it altogether. I had videos, I had QR Codes and I had devices with the apps needed to make it work. But a QR Code in itself is not very enticing and you don’t know what you are getting until you scan it. Besides, they all look the same! How would the students know which is which?
I settled on making posters. I searched cover photo’s of each book to put on the posters. Using the Pages software I placed the QR Code and cover photo of each book on the poster with a brief description which included the guest reader, story title and instructions, including the password. The posters were then shared amongst KG2 to Yr2 classrooms.
A wall was set up with the book posters for all students to access in a common area as well as in classrooms. The posters were placed from KG2 to Yr 2. With more time and differentiation in mind it is a learning tool that could be used school wide. Students could even make their own video reviews (with customary QR Code, obviously) that they could paste on to the posters for other students to listen to before listening themselves.
Below is the link to the story I read for my students. The password is: read.
Reviewing my Vimeo account on the first night vindicated my work and vision as i noticed double figures in the views column for each video. And that is just from other grades.
The following day I introduced it to my class and they were thoroughly engaged. Give it a go! It really is achievable with a touch time and some willing friends who will be your guest speakers.
I hope you have found this enlightening. Check out my blog at http://websurfersimon.edublogs.org/
QR codes are everywhere these days and have many applications in the classroom. In this article, Simon Moore shares a brilliant idea for using them to allow learners to access books in a new way.