Wednesday, November 18, 2009

QR codes and the mobile web

This is a poster I presented yesterday at the UTS Teaching and Learning Forum called "QR codes and the mobile web". There was much interest in the poster and I demonstrated how they work with my iphone which has the i-nigma reader installed (I think this is the best reader I have tested for the iphone as it auto takes photos very quickly with low error rate - much for efficient than the BeeTag reader). The poster was aimed at raising awareness of QR codes and their potential use in teaching, learning and research environments. The audience was mainly academic staff and most had seen QR codes before but weren't sure how they worked. I explained how we're using them in the library and suggested ways they could use them in their contexts. Most people were enthusiastic about trying to use them in some way and appreciated the way QR codes can bridge the gap between physical and digital learning environments. The full abstract is below.

At UTS Library we are engaged in the delivery of high quality information literacy training and services to clients. We endeavour to maintain awareness of emerging trends in technology and communications with regard to their impact on educational and library settings. Through this process we hope to better meet client needs and expectations by creating an evolving and dynamic teaching and learning environment. One way UTS library is trying to achieve this is through the use of QR codes. QR codes are barcodes for the 21st century that can be scanned by a mobile device and lead you to a website, video, podcast, quiz, pdf, or almost anything! They are simple to create and use as will be demonstrated live during the poster session. As more and more people use mobile devices everyday, the need to provide mobile content for accessing on-the-go is increasing and QR codes are a simple way to achieve that. Mobile devices allow the digital and physical worlds to interact via QR codes and enhance the teaching and learning environment.

At UTS Library we are trialling QR codes in our promotional bookmarks and flyers for example, a flyer promoting the new catalogue will have a QR code leading to a short screencast of how to use the new catalogue. While this is a simple idea, it provides library clients with an immediate interactive experience of how to use a new hands-on service that is better explained by demonstration than in reading a flyer. QR codes have been used in a wide variety of contexts such as advertising, events, music, museums, games, libraries and education. In an educational setting QR codes could be introduced to handouts or UTSonline as a way to enhance the learning experience. For example, websites, quizzes or video content referred to could have a QR code attached allowing people to access content on their mobile device in the classroom or on-the-go. It is also possible to create short screencasts or vodcasts for specific classes in minutes and link them to QR codes for placing in handouts, lecture slides or UTSonline. An added benefit of using QR codes is that they can be scanned by the mobile device and stored to be accessed anytime.

We will be educating our clients about QR codes and monitoring this pilot project by tracking usage statistics of the content we link to. We hope to enhance our existing library services through the use of QR codes by creating a more engaging and dynamic teaching and learning environment.


  1. It looked pretty cool in life - the Library had the best posters by far!!! Not that I'm biased.

  2. Fantastic use of QR Codes, well done. Maybe you would be interested in my latest presentation 'The complete guide to QR Codes in Education'

    or my own blog posts about QR Codes in education

  3. Hello,
    Can you use QR Codes for Navigation purposes around a campus for new students?