If you were following a discussion between myself and euenoconnor, you might have wondered what was up. I was wondering myself when the first query from Euen came through. He was looking for a website to create QR Codes that he could use with locked down school computers.
Locked down school computers can be a real hassle at times. The logic is that an approved set of applications are provided to the school with the hope that they’ll function reliably throughout the school year. The problem in all of this is predicting the applications that will student and teacher needs for an entire school year. At its best, you end up with some good generic tools; at its worst, you get locked out of doing some creative things with new, terrific applications. Fortunately, there is an alternative and that’s to turn to applications that reside on the web. All that you need is internet access to get the job done … and an appropriate web application to make it happen.
So, back to Euen’s dilemma.
At CATC Camp this summer, we did talk about QR Codes and tried to generate some ideas and suggestions about how you might use these in education. Certainly, it’s very apparent if you have a portable device and readers installed there. With the group, I shared the Scoop.it document that I’d been curating with resources for QR Codes. Ironically, I had demonstrated the QRReader.app in my presentation. It turns on the camera on your Macintosh computer so that you could take a picture of a QR Code that you place in front of it. The only problem is that it’s a stand alone application and that doesn’t help if you’ve got a locked down computer. Hmmm.
I did recall tucking a couple of applications away in my Diigo account and ended up sharing them with Euen.
Web Application to Create a QR Code
This application has been the answer to a few questions posed to me by people who wanted to create QR Codes without downloading an application. Just send it a URL and a QR Code is generated. If you’re interested, you can even change the shortener in the advanced settings. SmallQR dresses it up in a frame and then you can download the product as an SVG or PNG file for printing or inclusion on a web page / wiki.
Web Application to Read a QR Code
Now, this is a little more difficult. How to do it. You’ll need an application that will turn on your camera, take a picture, and then interpret the content … maybe. There’s actually a website that does that and more.
miniQR is a web application that has a routine embedded in the middle of the page that uses Adobe Flash to turn on your web cam so that you can take a picture of what you’re holding in front of it and then sends it off for interpretation. I got a really strange look from my daughter as I was holding my iPad up to my web cam to test it out but I get that look often.
So, as I mentioned to Euen, hopefully, Flash is installed on his computers properly so that this will work. As it turns out, miniQR goes one step further. If the QR Code is on the internet, all that you have to do is find the URL of the image (right click on the image to get the URL of the image) and put that into the form and send it off. You’ll get the URL of the code in a couple of seconds.
Perhaps not the slickest way of working with QR Codes (a class set of portable devices apparently isn’t in the works for Euen), but it is functional. I hadn’t actually added the sites to my QR Code Scoopit page – I didn’t see a use for it at the time that I originally found them but I have now. It may be of help to someone else who is addressing the concept in the classroom.