2020: The QR Code Period

Advanced Practitioner, Sammy White, reflects on the supercharged importance and versatility of the QR code in the year 2020 and beyond.

The QR code has always been ready to be called upon when needed. The year was 2020, the QR code received the call, this was it’s moment. Celebratory congratulations all around as the QR code adorned the entrances to every building. Every phone now instinctively sought QR codes to scan. The QR code had met its objective, it was common language and everywhere! The QR code wasn’t going anywhere, it was here to stay. 2021 and any web page in Google Chrome will now generate you a QR code. More congratulations, the QR code was overwhelmed. It knew it still had more to give though!

March 2021 and colleges return.

a person scanning a QR code on a projected screen from a tablet

Thanks @HelenKardia for use of this image to illustrate how to scan a QR code

The QR code happily adorning entrances again. More people out and about for the QR code to meet. But it didn’t make it into those spaces, always left at the entrance, it wanted more still. Inspired by my EM Booth podcast with Hollie Barnes I wanted to share how I am using QR codes in my classroom. In this new yellow box on the floor, in my classroom, I can’t get round to hand out work as easily, nor does anyone want me to! I made the call and the QR code stepped up! When I’ve written my resources for the lesson I quickly download the QR code from my Google Chrome and print it out. (If you’re not a Google Chrome user this can be replicated with many free QR code generators that can be found online, the QR code is ready for your call!)

Adorning my yellow box marked floor area are QR codes on my walls. The alternative choice task for my main activity, my challenge work, the answers to the tasks. My students sit, safely 2m apart, and use their phones to scan the QR code to get the work they need in the lesson. They zoom in on those QR codes and are transported to my next activity. It may be a pdf that I wanted them to read or answer questions on, they sit, 2m safely apart, with their own pens and paper and answer their work. The QR code is substituting the me wandering round handing out worksheets and tasks in the lesson. The QR has kept me and safe in my yellow box marked out at the front! Thank you QR code!

a QR code with a dinosaur in the middle on a piece of paper on the wall, labelled 'Next Weeks Prep'Normally in class I have a help desk, literally a desk with helpful things on! It has textbooks, workbooks, dictionaries, my templates for students to brainstorm, my notetaking templates for students, my lattice multiplication grids and more. Pre covid my students would freely wander to the help desk and grab whatever it is they needed. Be it a worked example from a textbook or a brainstorming template. The QR code heard my plight and offered itself again to be of assistance. The help desk is now a wall display of QR codes linking students to each of these resources. Thank you QR code for keeping my students safely 2m apart behind their desks.

The Staffroom is a lonely place to eat lunch now. We are smaller in numbers and working from home when we are not teaching. I am missing key messages, light-hearted humour. The QR code has heard my call and offered itself again. The Staffroom has a QR code to a staff Jamboard where we can post notices to each other. Thank you QR code for keeping us connected on our lunch breaks.

The QR code stands ready whenever you need it, this is the period of the QR code!

Sammy White

Experienced FE Maths practitioner, supporting edtech and blended learning across a college group. First female Google Certified Coach in Europe. Google Innovator, one of 78 selected globally in 2020. Right tool, right job.