Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents 36 TEACHER APRIL 2011
and computers when they are within close
The idea to use a bluetooth ser ver with
students came to me during a trip on a ferry
that provided instructions for turning on my
phone's bluetooth to receive free content.
After a quick Google search I discovered Blue
Magnet, a program that allows you to set up
your own bluetooth ser ver that automatically
finds and sends the content you specify to
mobile phones as they become discoverable.
This means that as students walk into your
classroom, they can be automatically sent a
video or image that will frame the focus of
the session. You could also take it a step fur-
ther and offer your school newsletter via a
bluetooth server, meaning that as students
walked past a designated point they would
receive a prompt on their phone to dow nload
the newsletter to view on their devices.
As bluetooth is a technology designed to
send data over short distances, it will never
charge students anything to receive a down-
load as the phone is receiving the content
directly from a computer nearby.
A quick response or QR code is a 21st-
century version of the barcode -- but the
nifty thing about these codes is that they
can contain much more information than
the traditional barcode. Each QR code is
basically an image which when scanned by
a mobile phone automatically connects to a
website. An example might be a QR code at
a bus terminal, which when scanned con-
nects the user to a timetable. QR codes may
appear in magazines and on signs, buses,
business cards or just about any object that
users need information from.
QR codes are an excellent way to link
the physical world with the digital world
to create real-time learning in an outdoor
A student needs to have a mobile phone
with a camera, the correct reader software
and internet capabilities to use QR codes.
The student can scan the QR code, which
will cause the phone's browser to launch
and redirect to the programmed website.
After having my students install QR
code-reader software or activating the
already- existing software on their phones
it was time to use them within the class.
First, we used the QR codes for a 'treas-
u re hunt' -- an orienteering activity that
utilised QR codes in the place of the mark-
ers. Students had to move around the town
locating each QR code. When they scanned
a QR code with a phone, we could log that
they had reached that marker. Scanning
the code revealed a riddle, which students
had to decode to work out the next set of
directions. For a more detailed explanation
of the activity check out the blog post at
The next step was to create a QR-code
version of task cards for particular sporting
skills. As students moved around to each task
card, they simply scanned the code to reveal
a video of how to complete the skill correctly.
You can also use QR codes to create a
choose-your- own-adventure reading activ-
ity. Students read the beginning of a story on
their phones, then have choices, depending
on what they want to happen next, say, 'scan
code 1 to open the door' or 'scan code 2 to
run away.' Students make decisions about the
next code they want to scan. The codes are
scattered around the school or park and stu-
dents are given a map of the codes' location.
Students then move around the school read-
ing and creating their own reading adventure.
Read more about it here http://bit.ly/gesDf5
Sure, QR codes sound complicated, but
I can assure that they couldn't be easier to
create and use. Simply go to http://qrcode.
kaywa.com/ and enter the information or
the web address that you want to link to and
hit generate. You will have a QR code that
you can print off and scan with your mobile
phone to reveal the content. QR coding is
an important emerging technology that will
contribute to changes in the way we seek
information in the future.
For all the information you need about
setting up QR codes on your mobile phone,
see a presentation I made for teachers, avail-
able here http://prezi.com/n xocvfz79hhp/
Don't confiscate: collaborate!
Expert in new media Professor Stephen
Heppell, speaking to Learning and Teaching
Scotland in 2006, said that 'If we'd been
doing this interview in 1986, and I'd said
"Well, my dream is that everybody will have
a computer in their pocket and they'll have
a wireless network that will allow them to
connect with the whole world". . .you'd have
thought either a) I was mad, or b) we couldn't
afford it. Now we've got all that, and blow
me dow n we're confiscating the things. But
smart schools aren't -- smart schools are
embracing them and smart kids are too.'
In Australia, now, almost all students
have such devices and most schools are con-
fiscating them as students enter the school,
without even thinking about their potential
When television and video were first
introduced in classrooms, many teachers
worried they would impede learning -- but
these are now accepted as powerful learning
tools. Before that, people were afraid of the
printing press, and before that, the inven-
tion of writing itself -- and yet education as
we know it today could not exist without
these steps along the way.
As Greg Whitby wrote in Te a che r in
October last year, 'new technologies have
always been scary, but that doesn't mean
we should ban them.' My preference is to
explore today's potential and find ways to
make learning more engaging and more suc-
cessful for every student.
Jarrod Robinson is an ICT-trained PE
and outdoor educ ation teacher at Boort
District School, a government school in
For Jarrod Robinson's blog, Mr Robbo:
The PE Geek, visit http://thepegeek.com/
To set up QR codes, visit http://qrcode.
For a prese ntation on QR codes, visit
To view the Stephen Heppell intervie w,
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