by Jason Hanslo, International School of Gabon Ruban Vert

During my university days I always had a soft spot for technology. As a student, on a student budget, I would spend a great deal of time finding out the cost of groceries by scanning their barcodes. The fact that those zebra stripes of varying lengths could hold a lot of information at once was mind-boggling at first, but after much research I started understanding their applications. The idea to use it one day was short-lived by the introduction of QR codes.

Quick response codes were invented in 1994 as a quick response to finding newly manufactured vehicles. It has evolved from being just another barcode by being user-friendly in that it can be scanned using a smart phone. QR codes also links directly with a URL. Therefore, no large information capabilities are needed for information storage by the user.

Now, as the year 4 teacher at the International School of Gabon Ruban Vert, introducing QR codes in the schools’ playground presented a great opportunity to extend my students’ learning. During creative week last year Mrs. Bakker, the art teacher, and I had students paint animal footprints tracks on the primary school playground. The tracks represented animals indigenous to Gabon like the silver back gorilla, forest elephant, the elusive leopard, a grazing Bongo Antelope and a few other primates. At the very end of each track, students meandering the paths discovered a QR code. When scanned using pre-programmed QR-code readers on their iPads, students found information related to the animal track.

ERV boasts some of the most interesting animal and plant species ever seen on an international school campus. This year the school’s Sustainability department, spearheaded by Edward Packshaw and Asifa Hashim, aims to create a species archive of the biodiversity on campus. Some of the campus species include the African Harris Hawk, the Side-neck turtle and the Serrated Hinge-back tortoise. Information about all these and many more will be available to students using QR codes dotted around campus.

Future plans are being explored to create paperless libraries in classrooms too. A QR code bookshelf poster on the Year 4 classroom wall will allow for greater use of space in the classroom, and teachers will be able to swap out QR codes instead of the whole book. Auditory learning students could have the choice of using headphones to access the book, but these possibilities are for a later issue. The possibilities of using QR codes are endless…my school will never be the same again.

At the International School of Gabon Ruban Vert (ERV) a Jason Hanslo has discovered the extraordinary application of using QR codes around the school as a resource to incorporate information and communication technologies (ICT) into teaching. He labeled a few things around campus by imbuing information into the QR codes. The QR codes not only create a buzz and overwhelmingly many questions by inquisitive students, but also assists in furthering the inquiry-based learning facilitated at the school.

FURTHER READING:
  • Seideman, Tony (Spring 1993). “Barcodes Sweep the World”. AccuGraphiX / History of Bar Codes. Archived from the original “QR Code Essentials”. Denso ADC. 2011. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013
  • Hanslo, Jason (2017) http://blogs.ibo.org/sharingpyp/2017/08/08/qr-codes-adds-mystery-to-inquiries/
Posted by CIS on Friday February, 2