Thursday, August 14, 2014

Use QR Codes to Display Student Work

Someone recently inquired about #22 on my post on using QR codes in the classroom. Here's what I said on #22:
Hallway decor: use QR codes in hallway decor for Open House or conference nights. You could display students' pictures (or self-portraits) on the bulletin board, and attach a QR code to their latest and greatest achievement right next to each student. Parents could get a "quick response" on what positive things have been happening for that kid lately! This would be easy to update as the year went on, since you'd just change the content of the webpage (not the actual QR code).
{You could use the title, "Students are having a 'scantastic year!' -- borrowed from this picture.}

Short answer: Each student needs to have a page on the web where the URL stays constant throughout the school year, but the content on the page can be changed whenever you want.

Need more info? Below, I'll go into more detail about 4 different options for using QR codes in a bulletin board display to show students' portfolios.

Option #1: Use Weebly.
  • Create a free classroom website with Weebly. {Weebly is the best website for making your own website, IMO! It's SO easy to use, and there are lots of options for free.}
  • After you create the site, you can start adding pages {these can appear as tabs at the top or side of your site}. You have the option to make all of the pages visible in a tab view, stack them on top of each other {only to be revealed when mousing over}, or make them all invisible. Whatever you choose, make a page for each student in your class. 
  • Grab the link to each students' individual page and put it into a QR code. You can add, edit, or delete things on each students' page whenever you want, and the QR code on your bulletin board will always link to the newest version of that page.

Option #2: Use Dropbox.
*Reminder: Dropbox is an option for storage in the cloud. You get 2 GB for free, plus an extra 500 MB for signing up with and/or having someone else sign up with  your referral link. Store files of all types in folders, and organize them very similarly to how you would organize folders on your computer.
  • Create a folder for each student in your Dropbox account. {Don't have a Dropbox account? Use my referral link to sign up, and we'll both get extra, free space!} 
  • Grab the link to each students' folder and put it into a QR code.
  • I haven't tried this option myself, but in theory, it should work. Dropbox annoyingly seems to change the link whenever an individual document is updated, but as long as the name and location of the folder remain the same throughout the entire year, you should be able to edit the content inside the folders without changing the link.

Option #3: Use LiveBinders
*Reminder: LiveBinders is a digital 3-ring binder that is fabulous for organization. Free users get tabs and subtabs in which to organize their things. Paid subscribers get tabs, subtabs, and base tabs -- great for even deeper organization. Embed webpages or HTML components, upload any document, type directly onto a page, and/or add a page of mixed media split the way that makes the most sense to you. 
  • 3A: Because the space in a free LiveBinder account seems to hold quite a bit of things, you could probably create an entire binder for each student {or have them create their own on their own account, if you don't want to manage it yourself}. Link to the binder in your QR code. The beauty of this is that students can add SO MUCH to their online space.
  • 3B: If your LB space is lacking or you simply don't want to create and maintain a binder for each student, create ONE binder, and then create a tab for each student. Students can add and organize things to their tab by creating subtabs underneath. Students can still add lots of items to their space, but not as much as if they were to have their own whole binder.

Option #4: Use Smore
*Reminder: Smore is an online tool that creates pretty posters for free. The posters can be e-mailed, shared on social media, printed, or embedded into another website. Users can make 5 Smores before they are asked to pay. Add titles, text, small pictures, large pictures, links, videos, and a few other things into the poster, and finish by customizing the background and theme.

  • Each kid needs their own Smore account if you want to keep things free. {If you want all the kids' smores on your account, you'll have to upgrade to the premium version.} 
  • Each students needs 1 personal Smore for their portfolio. 
  • Put the link to their Smore poster in a QR code. As far as I know, you can make Smore posters infinitely long, so you could keep adding all year long.

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