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 2013 Professional Learning #26:Create and curate interactive content using iTunesU

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 5.53.10 PM I frequently get asked by teachers,how do I create learning experiences for my students to use the features on the iPads?

I set out to  explore how teachers who don`t have web editing skills can do this in an easy way. I saw a lot of high end complex and expensive options that would not be of interest to busy teachers. Then I found some teachers  using using free software you can download on the web.

I was impressed at the amazing interactive resources teachers are developing for their classes using iTunesU and ibooks author.

These tools allow teachers to create their own interactive digital content that students can access on an iPad or a laptop. The iTunesU site also contains a wide range of material that teachers and students can access and customise. The great thing is it is all free. Lots of the content is created and shared by teachers. This teachers-2-teacher sharing of resources is a very positive and productive movement in education that benefits everyone.

A very exciting development is that I saw the students  creating their own ibooks and sharing them with their peers and their parents. Students can work together outside the classroom and collaborate on joint projects extending their learning. These ibooks can be included in iTunesU courses allowing shared ownership of the learning materials. When students are  looking for reliable content, making connection between sources they are engaging in higher order thinking and I have noticed how excited they get about learning.

You can get the free iTunesU app for the iPad Link

To start creating your own courses you need to set up an Apple ID. Then go to this site

Courses are created on a computer (MAC) and then loaded to the iTunesU site. Once in iTunesU courses can be shared with students privately by sending them a link or open access  freely available courses can be downloaded from the site. You can open all the courses on an iPad, iPhone or an iPod touch. Here are  guidelines on how to start building a course   Creating your course

There are a series of short webcasts that show you how it all works in the classroom

To explore the courses go to iTunesU and search the catalogue by topic, curriculum area or grade most are freely available for you do download.

Australian teachers have been busy creating courses aligned to the new Australian Curriculum to view these course search iTunesU for Australian Curriculum.


Tips 2013 Professional Learning #24:Using iPads for Professional Growth

We are working on the TIPS-2 Project. In this project we are using iPads and iPhones and iPod Touches as tools for teacher reflection and to document teachers professional growth. This is a very exciting project and we have some amazing teachers and school principals as part of the research team. There was lots of discussion on how we reflect on the Australian Teacher Standards (@AITSL) and share our practice at our  recent team meeting. We were joined by Samoa a fellow ADE from Korea who shared her experiences in developing a “flipped classroom”.

TIPS-2 Research Team

TIPS-2 Research Team @ECU with Dr Jenny Lane

I am looking forward to working with this great team to explore these exciting possibilities. If you are using iPads, iPhones or iPod touches in professional learning for teachers please post a comment we would be interesting in sharing ideas with you.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #23:iPads as a productive tool

Investigate, Communicate, Create: Using an iPad as a productive tool in the classroom. Presenter: Dr Jenny Lane

We have a great group of over 250 teachers attending our session tonight. I do apologise to all those teachers who were disappointed because they did not manage to secure a seat to this presentation. I will be repeating this session next term. Thanks to all the teachers for attending this session and a special thank you to those who volunteered to share the amazing productive work happening in their classes and in their schools.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #19: Gopro cameras and mobile learning

The simulation surfboard with wheels

I have been exploring different ways of making learning more mobiIe. We want to take learning to exciting authentic places in the real world. The gopro video cameras capture high resultion video footage of high speed activities. I recently presented at the fabulous Createworld Conference in Brisbane. At this conference the focus is on sharing how you are using  technology to stimulate creativity. A interesting use of mobile technologies was an inspirational performance by Beau entitled “Sliver surfer”. Beau set up a simulation with a silver tarp and a surfboard on wheels. The surfboard was fitted with a “Gopro”
and a small projector connected to an iPhone. On the iPhone were video Images of waves which were projected on to a silver tarp. The tarp was used to form the tube of a wave. The “surfer” then surfed through the tube on the surf board with wheels.

The Gopro captured the experience  of the surfing simulation. The video could be uploaded to an iPad for on the spot editing in iMovie and shared on Vimeo. This raises the possibility of capturing high quality video of simulation and authentic experiences an exciting combination of science, technology and visual arts.

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 #52: Sound Recorder Pro

Sound Recorder Pro is an easy-to-use voice-recorder for the iPad, useful for recording just about anything – meetings, memos, voice emails, reminders, …

It enables users to easily categorise and colour-code recordings, and will soon enable users to download recordings via their computer web browser. (It currently only supports email export).

You might also want to test the free alternatives – QuickVoice Recorder, iTalk Recorder, and Smart Recorder Lite, which we will review at a later date .

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators, Students with Diverse Needs

Cost: $0.99 (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Not for recording, but required to export files.

Educational Applications

  • Oral history interviews
  • Create short audio explanations of learning concepts (good for students with diverse learning needs)
  • Create audio content for presentations
  • Record responses to student assignments (anecdotal assessment)
  • Voice memos, records of meetings
  • Creating podcasts (in conjunction with the iPrompt teleprompter app) via @nathan_stevens


Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #3: Phil`s i-Story

Using iPads to teach English as a second language

Phil Rice is a teacher of adult ESL learners in the state of Delaware, USA. He has taught English Composition and multiple levels of ESL classes. He enjoys using technology to teach and help students to teach themselves. Phil is an avid user of iPads in his ESL classes, and he has shared some of the activities he uses in his teaching
Show me

Show Me

 Phil sent in this i-Story in response to a posting we did on using the Show Me screen casting app to read that post Tips2012 App Guide: Show Me. The Show Me app was also used for ESL teaching  in Schools in India as mentioned in Jude`s i-Story.
With ShowMe, teachers can…

1) Create an online lesson for an in-class topic. Record the main ideas of your lesson and give students a link or post your creation to an online social media site.

2) Have students create a narrated visual presentation on a topic using your/their iPad and show it in class as opposed to a “stand in front of the class” type presentation.

3) Create a Vocab Map using Skitch / DoodleBuddy and ShowMe together. Pick a picture that is related to a topic you are teaching and annotate it with Skitch showing the vocabulary for the picture. Then, upload the photo and use it on ShowMe to narrate and pronounce the vocab.

4) Download the presentation and upload it to YouTube so students have instant access to your ShowMes!

These are just a few uses for ShowMe. I use it all the time, and I’m sure that you will too once you get used to it.

Thanks Phil for sharing your i-Story.

You can visit Phil`s blog, ESL Commando, to find more ideas for using ICT in ESL classes.

Tips2012 Professional Learning #6: Catholic Education

Sharing the learning from TIPS Research Project

I am looking forward to sharing the progress of the Tpack iPad Project in Schools with the management team at Catholic Education in Perth tomorrow.  I will be sharing some of the research findings regarding the needs of teachers for professional learning.

  • The role of ICT in the National Curriculum
  • The importance of the development of Professional Learning Networks.
  • The use of Social Networks as a professional learning tool.
  • The theoretical background framing the TIPS  research project
  • TPACK and the SAMR Model
  • How to plan using the Integrated Challenge Framework.
  • How to support teachers as they introduce iPad technologies in their classrooms.

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #2: Doug’s i-Story

A frequently asked question is “How do I transfer items created on my iPad to other devices?” This leads to the issue of workflows and document management on an iPad.

In this i-Story, Doug Lauder shares his thoughts on how to share content created on iPads. Doug works in education supporting teachers as they use technology.

He will be presenting on document sharing and workflows on iPads at the M-Learning in Education@ECU Twilight events on the 5th & 6th June at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. These events are free for teachers and pre-service teachers. If you would like to join us use the booking link below:

Booking Form for the M-Learning in Education@ECU Twilight Events


iPad and sharing content in the classroom.

The most noteworthy aspect of the iPad is its’ simplicity. When providing Professional Development to teaching staff I normally ask that they forget everything they have learnt before about operating computers. I also ask that they leave behind any preconceptions of how the device works at the door. Don’t over complicate, just tap to get going.

But this is not easy, especially after many years of learning why file structure is important, how a “Home” folder works, and why “housekeeping” is not confined to just your house.

It is this file handling that is missing from the iPad, and it seems that it is Apple who are standing firm here, and for good reason. After all why do you need a music folder when you have iTunes? Pictures and video can be organised very well in the Camera Roll. Word processing now starts and finishes with Pages. But of course, there are times when we need to leave the Apple walled garden, for example; to collect, mark and return two dozen essays, animations or videos.

Email in the classroom
There are many apps which allow for content creation, notably iMovie and Garageband but also Sonic Pics, Comic Life and Photoshop Touch. How can I gather all of this media for assessment? Email is the quick solution, but this method is of no use if the iPad is a shared iPad with no email account assigned to the Mail app. As the recipient of 15-25 emails with attachments, the process is not practical either. Below I will illustrate a workflow which will work for a class set of iPads or a student personal iPad:

1. The Share Icon – to Camera Roll
This little icon is the key and there is one share destination which appears more than most and that is the Camera Roll. If we can export media to the local Camera Roll it is easy to get that to a conventional folder.

2. Dropbox
Dropbox currently have more than 50 million users, they are the cloud storage experts. App developers acknowledge this, and many are happy to allow direct export to the Dropbox app (if installed) from within their app (eg, Explain Everything). If the export to Dropbox isn’t an option from the Share icon simply choose Camera Roll (sometimes called Photo Roll).

3. Upload from Camera Roll to Dropbox
Dropbox allows you to upload content from your Camera Roll to a Dropbox folder of your choice. A good place for students to upload their work may be to a folder which is shared with the teachers personal account. That way the teacher can asses the work from iPhone, PC or Mac at his/her own leisure.

Unfortunately all students who drop final projects into a shared folder can view the contents of that folder too. (and as yet it is not possible to create write only permissions to Dropbox folders). This isn’t a problem if you are using a shared class set of iPads in any case. But if each student has their own iPad, I would recommend that they open their own Dropbox account. That way you will be able to keep private folders with each student, if privacy is a must.

It may sound like I am on commission from Dropbox! But at this intermediate stage (between Lion – Mountain Lion and the expansion of iCloud) I don’t see a plausible workflow which replaces the file structure Dropbox allows us. Looking closely at iPhoto (for iPad) reveals a sharing option called Beam. Could this become standard for iPad communication in the future?

The workflow diagram above illustrates my favourite apps and how I transfer files around. I’m sure that I may have overlooked some “share paths” but I hope that it helps.
Doug Loader

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #1: Richard’s iStory

An exciting new feature on the TPACK iPad Project is “Teachers’ Voices”, featuring teachers` stories and experiences with iPads in education.

Teachers` VoicesPlease send me your stories we can all learn from your experiences. If you would like to share your story and be featured on this blog, please email: Jenny Lane (, and include “Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices” in the title.

Please indicate if I have permission to include your name, and the name of your school. If you would prefer to be anonymous, let me know. Your story will become part of the data collected in the research collection and will inform our work with teachers.

An iStory from Richard  (@rhp123)

We are a small, independent primary school in NSW. Our school has been pursuing the idea of  achieving 1:1 for several years. Our stance has been around the idea of making technology accessible to students and teachers as required. Our motivation for doing this was an evolving one, but at the core was the idea that Technology could enhance learning and create new learning opportunities.

In the dim past we had a computer room. Which consisted of fourteen Apple machines networked and connected precariously to a 28K modem. It was the late nineties and Apple was floundering so we transitioned to PC and escaped from the confines of a computer room moving into a network which threaded it’s way through the school. Small groups of PCs scattered conveniently in shared spaces. Over time the mobile banks of laptops (Windows based) have evolved into our main technological delivery system along with interactive Smartboard equipped classrooms. In 2010 we achieved 1:1 with our Year 6 classes and in 2011 we added 1:2 committed resources to our Year 5 students.

Reading and discussions with various educators had drawn us toward the idea of tablets. I had an Android phone so our first investigation was into Android tablets, which we trialled and tested. The iPad also seemed to be getting rave reviews and many educational institutions were adopting them in the US (not that that was really a compelling reason).

The iPad was by far the best device we tried.

  • It offered a wealth of apps for education (which catered for various needs)
  • A number of State Education Departments /sectors had committed to trials e.g. Victorian Dept of Education
  • A large number of schools internationally were adopting iPads e.g. (New York Times article)
  • iPads were robust and well supported (this was particularly compelling in our small school setting as we don’t have substantial technical support services)
  • iPads had no boot time issues (this had always been an annoyance with laptops) and their battery life meant they could be used continuously all day without charging
  • iPads were easy to navigate and were slick in operation
  • They offered versatility for both students and teachers
  • iPads were competitive in price (especially against our traditional laptop delivery system)

So we committed to the idea of the iPad as a technological vehicle to help drive change and improve the learning opportunities of our students. This involved changing from a Windows environment to an Apple environment. It involved exploring management issues. It involved investigating iTunes and trialling apps. It involved the idea of moving into the cloud and away from traditional networks. It involved raising funds to achieve implementation. It involved upgrading aspects of our network. It involved extensive discussion, collaboration and research.

We launched our iPad initiative with 45 iPads which we distributed both for staff and students. A key part of our launch was to engage staff and familiarize them with the iPads. One of the greatest challenges faced is to involve teachers in change. Especially change which isn’t in the traditional repertoire.

Providing many teachers with iPads certainly moved the swing of the pendulum towards technology. The other positive about iPads from the teacher perspective was that it wasn’t too alien as many teachers were already using iPhones. At any rate teachers found the operating system easy to use and in no way daunting. This provided impetuous to our effort. We had been unable to equip all teachers with individual iPads and they all wanted them.

Students were equally eager and familiar with the iPads as many had iPod Touch, iPhones, or iPads already. They are also the most desired device in the “Must Have” category at the moment.

Our initial roll out was primitive because we didn’t commit to a management system as we were waiting to see what iOS 5 had to offer. A single profile was created and this proved to be satisfactory for our trial. Our lack of a management system created problems in terms of updating our operating system. We had to update all 45 individually. It also meant that we couldn’t manage individual devices or individualize devices to any extent.

We realized fairly early that iPads particularly for older students (upper primary) and for teachers needed to be set up as individual devices. We have now invested in a management system “Casper” which provides a reasonable degree of control at a reasonable cost.

The engagement of students and of teachers with the iPads and the possibilities that the iPad offers for the integration of technology into programs across the school provided a compelling argument for the expansion of the iPad initiative. As already observed we recognized that the needs of some students and their use of iPads would be different.

Our next faze (which is currently underway) will see the implementation of a 1:1 iPad roll out for Year 5 & 6 students. This will enable individualization of iPads for this group and this will particularly enable the integration of devices with “The Cloud”. Services such as Dropbox, Otixo, Evernote, Google Docs, and email require individualization and need to be set up for each student in order to be really effective on the iPad. We will also accommodate all full time teaching staff and provide a versatile supply for various other student user groups from Preschool to Year 4.

One of the negatives of the iPads has been that there isn’t volume licensing available to schools in Australia yet. This means that under the current Apple Licensing Agreement each device needs to purchase its own apps. We will provide the essential Apple apps to our students Pages, Keynote, Numbers, GarageBand and iMovie. The cost of these alone per device is around $40.00AUD.

We consider that if we are investing in an Apple product we should provide an understanding of the Apple platform to our students as we have done with Microsoft. Clearly we are grateful that many excellent apps are free or relatively cheap.

iPads are great, but they are just a new tool in our technological arsenal. We remain committed to providing access to a robust Windows network of laptops and peripherals for use across the school. To this end we are considering options around our mobile Windows devices. We have a good supply of Dell Netbooks which we have been using for the last two years, however new possibilities in terms of hardware are appearing. One of the great appeals of the iPad is its portability and interactivity. We are taking a look at some Windows based tablets.

I must stress that our school isn’t fixated on technology. We are fixated on our students. We are evaluating our learning environments, exploring best practice and implementing change where we perceive benefit. iPads are just an element in our journey towards achieving “success” for our students.

 Thanks to Richard Prowse for sharing his inspiring i-Story.

Tips2012:Embedplus manage video clips

This post is an answer to Jamie’s question today about working with video footage. This is not an app but I hope this does what you need Jamie. You may have to do this on a computer and then upload to the iPad. I am still searching for an app to do this.
Embed plus lets you crop, loop, annotate and embed video footage. Let us know how you use it in your class.

Jenny’s iPad Tip: User Guide #4 iPad = document camera+

A while ago I bought a document camera costing about $700, a really useful device to replace the overhead projector. A document camera can be used to capture an image and project the image onto a large screen.

Then I bought a VGA connector to connect my iPad to a data projector or any other screen or monitor, and for just $30 my iPad became a portable document camera with a heap of extra functions.

How To:

Secure the iPad to a small tripod / retort stand to keep it stable. Then select the camera icon to use the the camera function to project and share any image.

There are fantastic ways to use this in education, for example if you are doing a dissection, you can capture the image and project it for the class to view. You can capture images of objects and plants for science experiments. You can even demonstrate mathematical concepts using concrete manipulative.

I would love to hear how you are using this function in your teaching.


Jenny`s iPad Tip – Create your own Digital Texts

Digital textbooks are becoming a highly discussed and contentious issue. I am not a huge fan of textbooks, but where we do use them, they need to be interesting and engaging.

My flight today was delayed due to a cyclone, so I took the time to catch up on my reading. A report on the plans for wide scale introduction of digital textbooks in the USA was very interesting: “Playbook:Digital Textbook direction in the US“. It follows the plans in the USA to use digital textbooks across different states, and describes the huge financial investment by the government in textbook creation, high speed Internet provision, computers and tablets for students.

The launch of iBooks 2 showcases Apple’s new venture in digital textbook publishing. I have reviewed some of the digital textbooks and have found them very disappointing – they are just glorified PDF’s.

The challenge for textbook writers is to exploit the interactivity and engaging nature of ePubs in textbook production. They can be rich multi-modal documents with the embedded multimedia.

Many students don`t approach text in the way we have traditionally, reading pages from top to bottom and left to right. They tend to scan pages with their attention moving to the embedded hyperlinks and multi-media. It is also important that digital texts allow the reader to engage with the text through annotation and highlighting functions.

Digital textbooks can encourage student collaboration through the sharing functions. The e-book “Our Choice” by Al Gore uses some of the engaging, interactive features of digital publications that can be used in textbooks.

There are a number of apps and traditional software that allow you to create your own e-books. You can create an e-Pub in Pages, but you need the full computer version not the iPad app. Book Creator is the best ePub creator for the iPad.