Tips 2013 Professional Learning#29Talking QR Codes

Talking QR codes

We are always looking for ways to encourage our  students to tell their stories or express their learning. A “talking” QR code is a fun activity to engage students young and old. This activity can be used for digital storytelling and to promote literacy as well as mathematical understanding. Use talking QR codes to encourage students to create authentic stories and share them with their peers and their families. Students in early childhood settings can tell the story about their artwork or  read a story they have written. Students who are at  pre-reading and prewriting stages can record themselves “reading”  the print written by their teacher. Older students can add a narrative to a project or make their thinking visible by explaining the process they followed to solve a maths problem. Talking QR codes can be used for learning a language or to describe a science experiment. I am sure you can`t wait to get started, the best part is that it is so easy the students can do it themselves. I have selected a very quick free way to do this in your classroom. It works with a computer or any mobile tablet or smart phone.

How to create a talking QR code

You start by creating a recording and linking to it with a quick response code or QR code.

Scan this QR code and hear how to create an audio file

Scan this QR code and hear how to create an audio file

  • You need to record an audio file and store it online which can be accessed via a QR code.
  • To do this activity  you will need access to wifi
  • Go to this site
  • Vocaroo is  easy to use.
  • It starts recording immediately you just have to press stop when you are done.
  • You can listen to your recording and redo it if needed.
  • It gives you a range of options for sharing the recording- select Qr code on the bottom right hand corner
  • You can read the QR code with any QR code application these are free for mobile devices-
  • If you are not sure go to my  previous post No # 28 which describes how to scan QR codes

Sharing options- click on the bottom right to create a QR code

Tips 2013 Professional Learning #28:Having fun with QR codes


What are QR codes?

A QR code is a quick response code. There was a lot of interest in QR Codes at a professional learning session I presented to a group early years teachers this week.

There were lots of questions about QR codes, as promised here are some great ideas on how to use QR Codes in your classroom

Load a free QR code scanning app to your iPad, tablet or phone and see if you can read this QR code then start making your own QR codes

A QR code is a quick response code . It looks like a big bar code and contains data that can be read by a camera on a phone, a computer, an iPad or any tablet device.

A QR code

Scan this QR code

How do I read a QR code

You need to download a QR code reader this allows the camera on your device to scan the code and reveal the information it contains. Many of the QR code readers are  are free.

The QR code readers that I use are i-nigma and Q-rafter. To read a QR code select the QR code reader on your device. Hold it close to the QR code. It will very quickly take you to the URL or webpage  and will reveal the information embedded in the code.

What do I need to use QR codes in my classroom?

A QR code directs you to a website. To use this successfully in your classroom you need to have a good wifi system and devices that are able to connect to the web. You can use QR codes using your mobile phone data- parents can do this- but it could be expensive for students to connect using a 3G or 4G connections

How do I make a QR code?

To make a QR code you need to pro ( paid) version of the app. This allows you to insert a URL and generate your own code.

Why would I use a QR code?

A QR code is a quick way to take you to a site on the web without you having to type in a log URL. This makes it great for students to use, even the youngest students can point a device and scan the code. You can create QR codes to use in your classroom-
print the codes and place them on posters- students scan them to get more information,
use them in a treasure hunt- scan for the next clue,
place them on students’ artwork add audio to hear them telling their story,
put them in the school newsletter to take parents to your class blog site or link to an interesting website, the list is endless.

Create a Treasure hunt with QR codes- no wifi required

This site allows you to create a free treasure hunt or quiz using QR codes.

Develop your questions and type them into the space provided on the classtools site-

QR codes are generated for each question or clue- P

Print these and put them on display or hide them in the playground- students scan them uisng a qR code scanning app- Qrafter- I-nigma- the question is revealed -no wifi is required

Use Qr codes to gather responses from a group or class

Create a QR code using the URL to an online google form or an online form in Adobe Forms Central- students fill in the form and submit the information online- all information is collated in a spreadsheet

Get your students to create their own QR codes

The fun really starts when you get your students creating their own QR codes. Try this in your classroom and post a comment back on this blog to let use know how you are using QR codes.

How are teachers using QR codes?

Here are some links with great examples of QR codes in educational contexts

  1. Take a look at my Pinterest board to see some great ways to use QR codes
  2. Kathy gives some great ideas for using QR codes 
  3. Seven fun ways to use QR codes
  4. Exploring the educational potential of QR Codes.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #20:Which app is right for you?

When selecting apps my rule is “less is more”…In my experience it is better to have a few carefully selected apps that you can use in multiple ways than an app for every topic.

For many teachers at the start of a semester or the beginning of  a new school year you will be deciding which apps you will be using in your teaching. Selecting the right apps can be a challenge when there are so many applications on the app store. Always keep your educational objective clearly in focus, it is easy to be seduced by bright colours and cute animations. Think carefully about what the student will do… will this app allow the students to create, engage in higher order thinking and connect in new ways? There is some value in apps that allow students to consolidate their skills in an engaging manner. Apps that support the teaching  and can be used across the curriculum are good value per use as opposed to apps that will be used once or twice in a specific area.

A colleague Jan Clarke from AISWA has shared an extensive list of apps that she has complied. Classroom apps  Thanks for sharing all your hard work Jan. I look forward to hearing from you about the apps you find most useful in your teaching.

Tips2013: Teachers’ Voices #4:Miss D & the Superstars

Add your own images to create personalised puppets

Add your own images to create personalised puppets

Miss D and her class the Superstars have been taking a journey back in time this term to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their school.


“The students worked in small groups using the Puppet Pals app on the iPads kindly lent to us by Dr Jenny Lane from Edith Cowan University. Our class has been lucky enough to take part in the TPACK Project, which is researching the integration of iPads into classrooms to help teachers successfully integrate this technology in the future.

Our class has loved using the iPads,  movies made with the Puppet Pals app show how our class has been reflecting on their learning in History this term and having lots of fun at the same time.”

Tamara Doig




Create your own animated puppet show

Create your own animated puppet show

Puppet Pals can be used for digital storytelling. Students develop a storyboard, create scripts with dialogue, design their puppets and select backdrops for the story.

This is a great tool for learning a second language because students have to narrate their story. The stories shared recorded and shared

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #57: Prezi Viewer for iPad

Are you sick of boring PowerPoint presentations? Why not try Prezi, the zooming multi-modal presentation tool?

Prezi Viewer for iPad enables users to view and present your prezis anywhere, anytime … You can touch navigate, revise, and download your presentations for offline viewing.

Note: To use Prezi, teachers and students will need to create an account – the EDU Enjoy license is free, providing you sign up with an .edu email address (video).

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, to download presentations for offline viewing.



Educational Applications

  • Enhance presentation delivery – in class, at staff meetings, for student presentations
  • Provide a fun, creative way to explore visual content & written material, and demonstrate learning
  • For more great ideas, check out the collaborative brainstorming documents below!

Further Reading

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #21: Puppet Pals HD

Puppet Pals HD is a highly regarded animation / storytelling app for iPad, which is suitable for K-10 students, and has a variety of educational applications.

To use Puppet Pals, students select characters, settings, and a title; and then narrate a story while animating the characters and props using their fingers. You can create your own backdrops and characters using pictures from your Camera Roll, and export the finished video files to iMovie, YouTube, etc.

The app itself is free, but we highly recommend purchasing the Director’s Pass (about $3 via in-app purchase), which allows you to download and use a wider choice of characters and backdrops, including any future content. 

For: Students (Early Childhood – Secondary), English Language Learners

Cost: Free, but (recommended) Director’s Pass costs $2.99.

Dec 2012 Release – Puppet Pals 2 – $5.49 (Introductory Price)

Requires WiFi?: No.

Educational Applications

  • Create short instructional videos (in different learning areas)
  • Storytelling, News Reports, Historic Retells
  • Help reluctant public speakers present to the class
  • Help ESL students practice their fluency & language skills
  • Check out this website for some great literacy ideas!

Classroom Examples

Further Reading

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #20: Comic Life

Comics and cartoons have a HUGE range of educational applications across the primary and secondary curriculum, and can be easily integrated into a range of subject or topic areas.

Comic Life for iPad is an easy-to-use comic / cartoon creation app for students from Grades 1-12. It provides a range of templates, and enables users to import pictures (from their Camera Roll, or Creative Commons sources on the Internet), captions, and special effects (thought balloons, onomatopoeia).

This app mirrors the Windows / Mac version of Comic LIfe, and allows users to print, email, or share their comics on Facebook. Comic Life for iPad also features an “in-tray” option, which allows users to share comics with other iPad users nearby).

For: Teachers, Students (Grades 1-12)

Cost: $5.49 (Download Link)

Requires WiFi: No (only for sharing comics)

Comic Life Tutorial for iPad from Jessica Pack on Vimeo.

Educational Applications

  • Social Studies – Timelines, history retells
  • Literacy – instructions, grammar practices, story retells, information brochures
  • Science- instructions, reports on learning, explanations of concepts
  • Cartoon Tutorials for students and teachers (e.g. The Daring Librarian)
  • Food Technology – illustrated cookbooks
  • Inspiring Examples from Porchester Junior School (UK)
  • Click here for more ideas, or check out the links below!

Tutorials and Lesson Ideas

Recommended Reading