Copying from the Board is BORING; Try a QR Code

By: Mary Kienstra on: November 7, 2015  in: Engagement

How often do we have kids sitting idly copying some content from a powerpoint presentation or from notes that we provide?  I just can’t do that anymore.  Copying from the board is boring.  I realized I can deliver the same information in a way that engages kids and puts them in charge of their learning.  Connect the content to the kids with a QR Code that they scan with an iPad. It puts the learning in their hands.

The content doesn’t matter but in this case the content was the elements of the fantasy genre.  My students needed to learn that magic, special settings, special objects, personification, and special characters are all characteristics of fantasy.  I also wanted them to realize that good vs evil and friendship are typical themes in fantasy stories.  Instead of having them copy all that information from my notes, I put the learning on them by engaging them with video clips and stories.

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The perfect fantasy: personified amphibians that teach friendship

I found video clips on YouTube that showed different elements of fantasy.  A short clip from a Harry Potter movie showed Harry and Ron flying through the air at a quidditch match.  Kids watched the personified candlesticks from The Beauty and the Beast.  The setting of Sponge Bob illustrated that “otherworld” so often found in fantasy.  A discussion between Frog and Toad showed personified amphibians and the theme of friendship.  It was very easy to create QR codes took my students directly to the videos (Check out this QR Code generator)

Students worked with a partner, an iPad, and took notes on a clipboard.  They moved from station to station, scanning the QR Code, watching the video, and writing notes about the elements of fantasy that they noticed.  The discussions that I overheard were outstanding as they identified all the concepts that they needed to learn.  This lesson was anything but boring.

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QR Codes put learning in kids’ hands as they scan with an iPad to deliver the content.

The next day the kids discussed the videos from each station and what they noticed about the fantasy.  They talked about themes and personification, magic wands and ogres.  They understand the elements of fantasy and  can now identify those in the novels they are reading.  This lesson was anything but boring.  Now I’m thinking about what other content I can deliver with a QR Code, engaging them in a new way.  I know the next time I pull out an old powerpoint I will definitely be looking for new ways to teach that content.  What ideas do you have?

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