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 #47: Drawing Pad

The highly-awarded Drawing Pad app is a fun early-childhood art app for the iPad, where you can create drawings using realistic crayons, paint brushes, pencils, pens, and more. You can purchase colouring-in books via in-app purchase, and save drawings to the Photo Roll, or send via email, etc.

For more information, please visit the official site:

For: Early Childhood to Middle Primary Students

Cost: $1.99 AUD (Download Link)

Requires Wifi?: No.

Tips2012: i-Kids make a difference:#1:Jude`s i-Story


Jude the “Living Statue”:  A boy who makes a difference…. 


This inspiring i-Story started with some emails in response to the TIPS2012 blog. Jude and his mum Tania asked questions about using iPads in schools in India and how to cope in settings with no WiFi network.

I directed them to the resources on the blog, and a while later received this email…

Dear Jenny, …

Thank you all so much for supporting Jude “The Living Statue” in raising money for an iPad for an Indian school. He raised a total £220 – which is quite amazing and inspiring, especially as it was all his own idea to do this.

The iPad caused huge amount of excitement and the children kept looking at their fingers  when they were drawing/writing on the iPad, as they couldn’t understand why there wasn’t ink on them!  

Here are some photos of Jude showing the kids at the school how an iPad works.

Jude showing the children in India how to use the iPad

We spent hours at a rather nice hotel in the local town, using their free wifi to download some educational apps.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, and Australian Dr Jenny Lane of iPad project in schools, we found some fantastic apps that can be used without wifi.  Especially good were the animations and puppet shows with self recorded narration, which are great for story telling, imagination and those not confident in speaking English – plus they are lots of fun.

Thank you all again for your support…

Tania & Jude

Tania, Jude`s mother comments “I am amazed he had so much courage to stand on Ledbury Road, which is quite a busy street in Notting Hill.  I am very proud of him and very happy for you to include on your blog – which was so helpful for us.”

Living Statutes

“Living Statues” are people who dress up like a statue and stand motionless on the street, usually on a pedestal.  They are usually painted from head to toe – white, bronze or gold, etc. and will only move, or shake your hand etc when you give them some money.
Jude (Millais) is the great-great-great grandson of the painter John Everett Millais (


Tips2012:iPad App Guide #34: Doodlecast for Kids

DoodleCast for Kids is an iPhone/iPad drawing app specifically designed for preschool children aged 3-6. The app provides visual (pictures and word bubbles), and audio prompts to support their drawings, and also allows them to create drawings from scratch.

Children can use the different coloured markers to draw, and their voice is automatically recorded once they touch the screen. Their narrated drawings are recorded as videos (up to 3 minutes long) within the app, and these can be easily exported to the iPad camera roll by tapping “Save”.

For: Preschool, and Early Childhood

Cost: $1.99 AUD (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: No.

Educational Applications

  • Drawing / art
  • Storytelling
  • Encourage imagination and creativity

 Further Reading

Please contribute to our iPad research by completing a short survey, and entering our draw to win an ITunes voucher!

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #33: ShowMe

Screen-casting is capturing what is on the screen of your iPad and adding a narration or music sound track. You can capture a drawing showing how the picture develops. This works well in teaching mathematics where the teacher can demonstrate the calculation as if they are working on an interactive whiteboard. The whole process gets recorded and can then be shared and replayed.

Show Me is a simple screen-casting app suitable for early childhood through to early secondary students. It provides a whiteboard, pens, eraser, and support for importing images.This app is extremely user-friendly; simply “Tap to record, and start talking”.

Completed screencasts are uploaded to the ShowMe website, where they can be shared (for free) with a unique weblink, and embedded into class blogs or webpages. The ShowMe website features a community collection of screencasts for all learning areas, which teachers can use in their classes for free.

More advanced screen-casting apps include Educreations, Screen Chomp, and Explain Everything.

For: Students (Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary)

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, to upload finished products. It is not possible to save completed work to the iPad.

Management Tip

To use this app in class, teachers recommend creating a shared class / teacher ShowMe account, and establishing a standard naming convention (using students’ names) to identify student work. (Tip via EdTechTeacher Tip & @nate_kremer)

Educational Applications

  • Create a repository of video lessons for your class / school wiki / website
  • Explain mathematical thinking, written work
  • Present an argument, or explanation of a topic (literacy)
  • Enable students to demonstrate their learning, comprehension skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.
  • Click here for more ideas

Further Reading

Have you taken part in our survey? Click here and enter the draw to win a $ 50 iTunes voucher!

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #22: “Toddler Sandbox”

Toddler Sandbox, formerly  known as “Wipe and Learn”, is an early-learning iPad app for K-2 children, which is also highly recommended for children with special needs.

“Sandbox” involves children swiping their finger across the screen to reveal a hidden picture. The word for the background picture is then spoken aloud. It requires close attention, accuracy and fine motor skills to complete successfully, making it a useful app for developing fine motor skills and word recognition.

For: Early Childhood Students, Students with Special Needs

Cost: $0.99 (Download)

Requires WiFi?: No.

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 #16: Popplet

Popplet is a hugely popular mind-mapping tool which enables teachers and students to visually represent and organise information using text, hyperlinks, images, and sticky notes (popples). Available as a web application (beta, via subscription) and iPad app, Popplet is remarkably simple to use, and is suitable for all ages.

Popplet requires a free account (we’d suggest creating class / group accounts for students), and completed ‘popplets’ can be saved as JPG or PDF files, embedded into web pages, or shared via Twitter, Facebook, and Email. Printed popplets make great classroom displays.

If using as a web app, teachers may be interested in the Popplet Education Licensing scheme.

For: Teachers, Students (Early Childhood through to Secondary)

Cost:  Popplet Lite is free, but we highly recommend the full featured Popplet app, which is available for $5.49AUD (Download Link). The full app allows users to sync Popplets across devices and the web. 

Requires WiFi: No, but required to obtain images from online sources.

Educational Applications

  • Create curriculum plans, mind maps, shared bulletin boards, scrapbooks, photo galleries,
  • Remember, organise and comprehend new information
  • Map concepts and create timelines
  • Use to assist note-taking and planning for writing
  • Enable real-time student collaboration via shared ‘popples’ – on iPads / iPad and web.
  • Use Popplet as a presentation tool (Click here for details)
  • Click here for more creative ideas 

Recommended Reading

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #8: Toontastic

Toontastic is a play-based storytelling / animation / cartoon creation iPad app for young children (K-3). It enables children to create stories using their own voice and drawings; and provides them with a safe online environment to share their cartoons with authentic global audiences on ToonTube.

To find out more about Toontastic’s learning goals, please visit their website.

For: Students, particularly (but not restricted to) Early Childhood

Cost: FREE! (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: No

Educational Applications

  • Reader’s Theatre
  • Cartooning
  • Story Writing (teaches storytelling elements)
  • Develop oral language skills & vocabulary (helpful for ESL)
  • Tell number stories in Maths
  • See the “Toontastic for Teachers” website for more ideas!

Video Tutorial: Toontastic

Further Reading

How do you use Toontastic in your classroom? 

We’d love to hear your thoughts!