Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

QR-CODES: A Real Opportunity for Engaging Administrators and Students

Every once in a while something comes along that captures the interest of the many rather than the few: the spacehopper, the rubiks cube, space invaders, facebook and twitter to name but a few. Now, we think the new 'fun' thing to emerge in the past eighteen months that is going to make a huge impact on our lives is The QR CODE. 
QR Codes are fast becoming everywhere in our lives from supermarkets, to airports, corner shops to hug shopping malls, and as smart phone technology gets on the bus for keeping ahead of the game and qr code readers now an integral part of any 'with it' user's hand set, the opportunities for using the codes are limitless.  Apple are talking about the new iphone 5 promoting the codes for tickets, shopping and even money transactions as one of the major new upgrades to their new ios and forthcoming mobile.
So, we thought we would introduce the quirkiness of the codes to our upcoming new intake of fourteen year olds next week.  However, it is the interest the activity has created with our colleagues that has spurned me on to write this post before we have even tried them with students.  Let me add that of course we realise we are relative "johnny-come-latelys" to using QR Codes, but we just want to share the fabulous reaction we have had thus far.
The activity is actually an extension of one we did last year  when we had students go around the school to find and meet administrative personalities with whom we had already okayed the activity by dropping them an email explaining the whole thing. It was hugely successful, and when I saw QR Codes being promoted on several tech-ed tweets and blogs, it struck me how we could bring the activity into 2012 by incorporating the technology. Below is a step-by-step explanation of what we have planned on doing during our first week back at school.


Find administrative colleagues who are willing to participate enthusiastically. Your school has scores of people who are in favour of participating in meeting students, and equally as important, in love with the idea of the ICT-in-ELT Paradigm.  We have found that it is always beneficial to send a detailed email of the activity first, and then a follow up face-to-face confirmation that they are committed to giving up their time, albeit in this case, very little time, for the activity. This supports the idea of appreciation of other's time in your busy school.

Preparation of the QR Codes for each administrator. We contacted our IT manager, and asked him to send a PHOTOGRAPH of each person we had already asked to participate. The pictures are in the school archive and easy for IT to access and send them via email.  Once you have the pictures you can then go about making the QR Codes.  This is where the fun starts as you go about utilizing the technology and making the activity a reality.

Now that you have the pictures at your disposal, you now need to transform your picture into a URL. We decided to use GOOGLE DRIVE  for this since it means the pictures can be changed at any time, if perhaps the person is off sick.  Once you have the picture uploaded on google drive and added onto a blank document, you can add a PRESENT SIMPLE QUESTION for the students to ask the administrators.  We prepared the first question for the students, but the next one they have to make the question up in their pairs.  This makes the students work towards producing authentic questions independently.

NOTE: Since we are at the beginning of the school year, our focus is on the Present Simple classwork we will have been doing during the days leading up to the activity. Therefore, the students will have been presented the grammar, practised it on several levels before they venture out to meet and use it with confidence and aforethought.

The google drive document is ready, and url can now be uploaded to make your  QR Code.  We chose KAYWA simply because it is first in the google search.  However, it has proved to be very efficient and easy to use.  Three clicks and you have your code ready for saving on to your desktop.

Use Kaywa to generate QR codes for free.

The fifth and final stage is how you get the activity over to the students.  The administrators will be put on a list, each with a number.  You assign a number to each pair of students.  This is their starting point for completing the task.  Students are required to visit two administrators on the list.  Here is where the QR Codes come in.
We will have sent the code for the next person in line to the administrators.  Once the students ask the question they have learned by scanning the QR Code on the class wall with their mobile phone (see code at the top, try for yourself), they then get the next person to visit by scanning the person's laptop screen which has the next person's QR Code displayed.  Once both pictures have been scanned and the answers to the questions written down either on their phones or in their notebooks, the students return to class and we collate all the data and get feedback.
Feedback is further entered into with students being asked to complete a MINI QUESTIONNAIRE also made on Google Drive's survey facility.

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