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 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.

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.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #10: Explore ECU with iPads

Welcome to the Clontarf Girls

For the Explore ECU Program today we welcomed the year 10 & 11 Clontarf Girls to spend a day experiencing University life with us on campus. We are going to be using technology in a fun way in to support learning.

Clontarf was one of the schools in Perth that the Queen visited when she was in Australia see the pictures on their website. Clontarf is a unique sporting academy with a specialist curriculum to develop the leadership skills of Aboriginal girls.

We had lots of fun – watch this space …

Clontarf girls become movie producers at ECU

I was very fortunate to work with this delightful group of enthusiastic fun loving students. For many of the group it was the first time they experienced using an iPad. There was much laughter and excitement as they became movie directors for the day. We discussed creative ways of using mobile learning tools like phones and tablet computers for learning.

“Focus, action, shoot, let the camera roll”

For some more details on this event, click here.

We are celebrating NAIDOC Week at our university. NAIDOC Week celebrations are held in Australia in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by all Australians. At Edith Cowan University we participated in a range of activities and to support our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #61: Solar Walk

Solar Walk is a stunning 3D Solar System model for iPhone / iPad (and now Mac), from the makers of Star Walk. It enables users to explore (fly though) a scale model of the solar system, exploring the planets, moons, satellites, etc.

The app also includes in-depth information and short educational videos about each planet, and can be viewed with 3D glasses – on the iPad or 3DTV. For more details, we highly recommend reading the official User Guide, available here.

Highly recommended by educators worldwide.

For: Teachers, Students (Primary and Secondary)

Cost: $2.99 AUD (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Not for general use

Educational Applications

  • Any studies relating to Astronomy / Science / Space

Further Reading

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.

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #42: QuickGraph

QuickGraph is simply the best graphing calculator app for the iPhone and iPad. Using a simple visual & touch interface, this app makes it easy to enter, edit, and visualise 2D and 3D algebraic equations and inequalities (optional) in all standard coordinate systems. Graphs can be copied, emailed, and saved to the iPad photo library.

Please click here for a complete technical description of QuickGraph’s capabilities. Some optional features, including the ability to project visualisations on your interactive whiteboard, are available via a $1.99 in-app purchase.

For: Secondary Teachers and Students

Cost: Free (Download Link), some advanced features available via in-app purchase

Requires WiFi?: No 

Educational Applications

  • Secondary mathematics – algebra, graphing, calculus

Further Reading

Tips2012 iPad App Guide: Aurasma – Augmented Reality App

AurasmaMake the pages come alive by using augmented reality.
Augmented reality combines computer graphics and  images of natural objects to make a 3D image or simulation. This is used in advertisements and texts indicated by a large A icon.

To use this app in class, the students can create their own video footage to link to an icon. This is good for learning journeys to showcase project work.

It can also be used outside in treasure hunts and discovery trails, where icons are posted around the school. When students scan the icons using the Aurasma App or the iPad the Auras they have created will spring into life giving the audio and video commentary.

For: Students (Secondary) & Teachers

Cost: Free for lite version (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Educational Applications

  • Create augmented reality learning objects for lessons for your class / school wiki / website
  • Students create auras to demonstrate three dimensional properties of objects
  • Present videos, images and sounds in response to visual cues
  • Enable students to demonstrate their learning,skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.
Please post how you use this app in your classroom

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #28 – History: Maps of the World

History: Maps of the World is a free iPod & iPad app for Social Studies, History, and Geography teachers, compiling maps from different eras throughout history. Viewers can explore maps by theme, historical events, and geography.

The digitized maps are easy to navigate using touch gestures, and can be zoomed in to show fine detail. While the app is a large download, the maps are available for offline viewing.

For: Teachers, Upper Primary and Secondary Students

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: No

Further Reading


Tips2012 iPad App Guide #17: Numbers

Numbers for iPad is the Apple mobile version of Excel spreadsheet, enabling users to create and edit spreadsheets and data-entry forms (similar to Google Forms) on the iPad. This app will be useful for teachers and students, particularly in business and economics; but is probably best used for editing existing spreadsheets.

Files can be exported (via email) to Numbers for Mac, Microsoft Excel, or PDF; but can only be removed from the iPad via iTunes or WebDAV. SendToDropbox is useful too (via @samgliksman).

For: Teachers, Secondary Students, Administrators

Cost: $10.49AUD (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?:

Educational Applications

  • Business, Economics class
  • Financial Records
  • Data Entry Forms (eg. Attendence, surveys)


Numbers for iPad (Alternative Tutorial)
Creating Forms in Numbers on the iPad – Video

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #14: TED Talks

The official TED Talk app puts talks from the world’s leading thinkers, education radicals, tech geniuses, business gurus and music legends … at your fingertips.

TED presents ideas to inspire, educate, and inform … in 5-20 minute videos – which you can watch, or save, on your iPad. Click here for a sample of Education themed talks.

For: Teachers, Secondary Students, Administrators

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Educational Applications

  • Use as springboards for classroom discussion
  • Teacher Professional Learning
  • Great models of presentation skills.

Further Reading