Why would anyone want to utilize these strange little squares?
The following YouTube video explains QR codes in about 2 minutes so instead of writing a detailed description – please take a second to watch the short clip. Following the clip, I will be talking about some ways that I have been using QR codes at school.
How do counselors use these QR codes?
Wonderful question! I have been using them more and more with students when I am asking them to interact with a website or online form. I would say about 90% of our kids or more have a smartphone or wifi enabled device like an iPod. Utilizing those devices, our students can scan a QR code, be directed to a site, and interact with it without the trouble of typing in a long URL or having many errors in the link for them to stumble over.
In the past few months, I have been gathering data from students using surveys on SurveyMonkey and through GoogleDrive Forms (feel free to steal my College/Career Reporting Form by copying it to your drive). I have been providing students two methods of reporting: a paper survey to complete and a QR code linking them to the online version of the survey. As I keep providing these to students, more are utilizing the online QR route than paper. This cuts down on manual data entry (by me or student aides) and printing/paper costs. I have also used them with parents and teachers when sending out information about signing up for my MailChimp newsletter (check out the School Counseling on Air Marketing Monday for info on MailChimp!).
What do I need to do to start?
Getting started is pretty easy. If you have a smartphone, most will have an embedded QR code reader already installed. If not, they are easily found on the App stores of your OS. They basically use your camera to highlight the QR and then provide you with a set of options, much like in the video.
To create your QR code, one handy site that I have bookmarked and utilize is Kaywa QR Code (http://qrcode.kaywa.com/). The basic functions of the site are free, but they do also sell upgraded features like analytics, dynamic QR codes, etc. For our purposes, getting the free stuff is good and will suffice.
Once you have your link to your survey, document, signup, website, phone number, or contact info – just select the appropriate field on the site and paste your link. From there – you can right click on the new QR code that shows up where the X is in the screenshot and save it as a .png/.jpeg. Then it is as easy as pasting it onto a flyer, printing it out to hand out to students, or including it on the cover page of your survey.
Interested in trying your hand at using your QR code reader? Here is one for you to test with: