It’s a long story with lots of background but let’s cut to the chase and say that I have been very leery of allowing my grade 3 students to do research on the internet. Given the limited amount of time we have had using technology in our class this year, I don’t feel as though I have given enough attention to teaching my students to search responsibly and analyze the veracity of the search results. I do know, however, that on the internet there is a lot of really good information about ancient civilizations specifically geared towards elementary students that I would like to them to explore.
So, how do I access what I know is the quality content on the internet without risking my students “accidentally” stumbling upon extraneous information?
I decided to introduce QR codes to my students as a way of allowing them to visit certain selected websites without having them waste time finding relevant sites or getting sidetracked with irrelevant ones.
It was a pretty easy introduction actually; this was a nice surprise. Some of them had seen them before; all of them made the connection between scanning a barcode at the grocery store to find the price and scanning a QR code to access the information behind the code.
The afternoon before the lesson I posted several QR codes (generated with a free app from the Google Chrome Web Store) with a subtitle “What in the world is this?” Students were engaged and intrigued by these posters and some of them went home and inquired into their use.
The following morning we used the scan app on our iPads to access the link. The common craft video it linked to explained the basics of QR codes and we were off to the races!
I had prepared a research exercise where students were able to practice scanning and this novel way of accessing information kind of took the edge off of having to read a text for information retrieval. Score one for sneaking in some learning without your students even knowing it.
My students were able to think of some ways of using these codes in our classroom and we hope to incorporate them into our unit of inquiry summative where students will create a museum artifact from the ancient civilization of their choice.