Tuesday, March 29, 2011

QR Code Quest: a Library Scavenger Hunt


(UPDATE: This is the original post about this mobile media digital discovery lesson but I've also updated it recently in Part Deux! Pls. check it out! :-)
I remixed this awesome scavenger hunt originally created by Joyce Valenza and added a QR Code Twist!
I re-worked some of the questions for a lesson with my adorable ESOL kids (we have 35 right now in our ESOL program & one cute be-freckled girl just came yesterday & speaks no English at all but she LOVED scanning the codes when I handed her my Droid Fascinate!) The rest of the kids have varying degrees of English proficiency but still will benefit from a few visual clues. So the scavenger hunt questions are intentionally simply & clearly worded combined with pics I created as QR Code Hints.
You can also use this lesson for special needs classes, Library Media orientation, or even re-mix the questions, QR Codes, & hints for just about ANY subject area!
To create the hints I used a combination of Photoshop, Flickr, bit.ly and my favourite QR Code generator, Kaywa.
First I created the Hint. For my kids who are just learning English I thought it would be better to combine the hint with pictures. So I combined Creative Commons images with clearly worded (simple) hints - but I also wanted to add in some key words that we've been working on like genre, fiction, nonfiction and title.
Multi-step clues & questions were important, too. To give a little insight on how this lesson was created I'll go through questions 6-8 which all had to do with Italian cookery.
In Question 6. I wanted them to find two of our Italian cookbooks in the 641 section of Nonfiction. I found online pics of the exact two cookbooks we have in our collection, combined them with a sporty red & white checkered cloth jpeg, a pizza, and the hint. Putting this all together with photoshop, I saved this as a .jpeg & uploaded it to Flickr.
Taking the Flickr .jpeg URL of this pic I pasted it into Bit.ly to get a shorter URL (that makes an easier to scan or read & prettier QR code - more on that below in the Tech Tip section!) Now with the shorter URL it was time to open another tab on my browser and go to my favourite QR Code generator, Kaywa which makes terrific codes in S, M, L, & XL sizes of any URL, text message, phone number or SMS!
Back to the Italian cookbooks - I taped the laminated QR code hint with the pics of the cookbooks really close to the 641 shelf & they had a great time finding it by both number & sight!
Question 7. Then I wanted the kids to locate and use our big unabridged dictionary on the swively stand & while we were there point out the other dictionaries (including all the foreign language ones we have!) I chose Risotto for them to look up because it was a word covered in both of my Italian cookbooks, it's not obvious like Pizza, and I thought some of my kids would recognize a risotto & translate it to "arroz con camarones." The QR code with the visual hint was taped on the globe next to the dictionary. The kids identified it right away!
Question 8. Now using that new word, I asked them to find a Risotto recipe in their Italian cookbook index and write down the pages of that recipe. I loved that this lesson combined good old books, traditional reference materials, and our PAC catalog with spanking brand new QR Code techie fun!
Want the whole lesson?
Visit my Daring Steam-Powered Wiki to download the MS Word Worksheet in both .doc and .pdf format with the QR codes or visit my QR Code Quest Flickr Gallery for all the .jpegs and pics of the kids scanning & learning!

The codes that the kids scan are NOT the ones on the side of the worksheet next to the questions...those are just for purty! The QR Codes are on pages 2-4 - I also created a test scan page for fun & to get them used to focusing and grabbing the QR Code. During the class we scanned the codes using our iPod Touch Gen4 and my cell phone as our other iPod Touch was loaned out. With larger classes I ask the kids to bring in their own smart phones or iPod touches & ask them to download a free barcode scanner first. I really like the i-nigma FREE barcode scanner available on both the Apple & Droid markets.

Tech Tips!
1. Why do you need to use a URL shortener to make a QR Code? See the example above. Same URL - with bit.ly the code is clear & easy to read and without it's more complex. The more data you have in your code the more complex the 2D barcode. Oh and when you're making a QR code message with text you can't use a QR code shortener - I tried! LOL

2. Not only is Bit.ly great for shortening URL's they keep stats on the links you share! All you have to do is to click on Info Page+ and you can see how many people followed your link & when. Another COOL tech tip! Add a .qr on the end of any Bit.ly URL and you will get a QR code! Now these aren't big enough for me - that's why I use Kaywa which offers XL codes which are better for posting around the library....but still it's neat!


BEST Presents in the World! Thank you notes from my adorable ESOL kids! I'm keeping these for a rainy day!!!!
Here's the slidedeck from my recent MSET preso!



16 comments:

  1. Could you be any more awesome? Oy, it'd make my head explode! So, you mentioned that you let one girl use your phone for the scavenger hunt, but what about the other students? What did they use?

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  2. This is great, you're so creative it's awesome.

    Those kids are lucky, I bet they had a blast.

    Check out our platform, if you see any use, I'd love to donate some space for you to do a fun project with it.

    http://scan2.co

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  3. Aww thank you, Natalie! Yeah, sorry - I didn't make that clear & just fixed it - We have 2 iPod Touch Gen 4's in the Library but one was loaned out that day so I had the kids use my Droid Fascinate to make up the diff. Right now we really can't afford more than 2 iPod touches - but depending on the size of the group we just have them share - it's all good!
    Cheers!

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  4. What super ideas, Gwyneth! I'm going to ponder how I can adapt this for a high school orientation scavenger hunt in the fall. I've been using bit.ly for my QR codes, and love how easy it is, but am going to check out Kaywa now, too.

    Jane

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  5. Jane, I always love hearing from you & getting your feedback, thank you dear! Would love to see what you come up with - don't forget to share it with me!
    ---
    Natalie, I also forgot to mention that with bigger classes you can send home a permission slip with FREE barcode scanner apps for kids to bring in their own iPod touches or smart phones. Kids love to hear "let's take 5 min & go to your lockers & get your cell phones!" or "bring in those cell phones tomorrow we're gonna use them!"
    ---
    Riel, thanks for your comment! but I'm not selling anything! I try & give as much as I can away (except for my speaker's fee! LOL - I do charge for that!) Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Nice review of URL shortner in QR codes. They are also called dynamic qr codes. I have been using http://www.bwscan.com to generate free dynamic qr codes with free scan analytics!

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  7. I wanted to do this for our library scavenger hunt next year! this is awesome! :)

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  8. Very cool. My yearbook staff and I added QR codes to our yearbook this year. We used Yearbook Unlimited's QR code service because longevity of content was our primary concern, given the nature of a yearbook. I wrote about what my staff and I experienced in the process here:

    http://www.squidoo.com/yearbookqrcodes

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  9. Just learned something new from you about bit.ly. Thanks :)

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  10. What do you mean when you say "tap" a book? I'm still learning how to use QR codes.

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  11. Thanks for your comment, Laura!
    Students "tap the book" with their finger...just to physically re-enforce that they found it! :-) Nuttin technical about that! LOL Cheers!
    ~G

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  12. Fab! Just started creating inquiry buckets on specific subjects and have been playing around with QR codes on the bins to connect print and digital resources. I will definitely be trying your idea out! Thanks for sharing : )

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    Replies
    1. Super thanks for the comment April! Inquiry buckets? Do tell! Did you blog about this or put it on a wiki? I want to see!
      Cheers!
      ~G

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  13. You are an amazing teacher! I love how you are using the QR codes for the scavenger hunt! I created a QR code from a flickr jpg - but when scanned it did not have just the nice big pic like your - it had my flickr account with all thumbnails - I followed your directions to a 't' from question #6 - what do you think I am doing wrong?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Peggy! Thanks for your comment. OK, as mentioned above you gotta grab the Flickr URL. To do that click on the size image you want & choose View Image or Copy Image Location - THAT is the direct link to the big image! That's what you take to Bit.ly, or Goo.gl to make your QR Code! YAY!
      Cheers!

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