QR Codes Are NOT All Hype - So There!

One of my fav members of my PLN on Twitter is Josh Stumpenhorst - this morning he posted this Tweet about an article on Social Media Today titled QR codes – Don’t Believe the Hype which got my blood boiling because it's flawed logic - especially for educators!
QR codes – don’t believe the hype interesting

Which, of course, leads to great Tweets & discussions. So I decided to write a blog post refuting their assertions because when it comes to QR Codes you know I'm a fangrrl! If you search my blog with "QR Codes" you'll see I've blogged a LOT about them over the years, what they are, connecting with parents and the community, and lessons utilizing them in the classroom & library!

Ha, I love when a blog post gets people fired up! ;-) Would love to read your post!

My dear friend and QR Code long-distance partner in crime Ms. Mensing Tweeted this back!

Student engagement increases tremendously when using . That's worth the hype!

I think you MUST! Defend our beloved ! I got my school K-6 going with them and ALL students loved them!

1. No one understands them

"The majority of consumers simply don't know what a QR code is; they aren't even sure what app they need to be able to read one. Even if you do search for 'QR code scanner' in the app store, you're greeted by a never-ending list of options, there's no clear app to use and all this just confuses people more."

HA! Not true! It's a bar code. It's square. It can hold more information than a standard striped bar code. It can encode a web link, text or audio message, or phone number. It was developed in Japan by Toyota to track auto parts. It's square. Oh, I already said that. Done. Was that hard? But for those that are visual I created this Comic Tutorial to help! I also have a comprehensive QR Codes in the Classroom slidedeck on Slideshare to give out the basics & ideas for use in the classroom!

2. They are too much effort

"QR codes require engagement from a potential customer. If they see a QR code on a product or an advert, they have to download and install an app, take a picture of the code then scroll through the website to find out more. In today's world people want speed and clever technologies to save them the most valuable commodity, time. Unfortunately, QR codes leave you standing still waiting for a screen to load for too long."

What? Now that's just silly! Like the commenter Craig0r on the socialmediatoday article said: "Really? Pulling your phone out of your pocket and clicking the screen two or three times is too much effort? Sure, you have to get the app ONCE, but beyond that, you turn on the phone, open the app, click the capture button, and you're done." My favourite QR Code reading app is inigma - download once - scan forever. -Inigma Reader - Mobile-Barcodes.com Don't know how to make a QR Code?...that's OK, I have a comic for that! How to Create a QR Code in 3 Easy Steps!

3. No one wants to read loads of information on a tiny screen

"QR codes are meant to help you find more information about a product or service. However, if you want to delve deeper into something before purchasing it - if you really want to know the details - then you're more likely to research at home, on you computer. Not when you're out an about and having to thumb around on your smartphone."

Seriously? As my new friend Craig0r said and I vehemently concur "Well... yes they do, that's why people HAVE smartphones, so they can read information on the go. People use them for texting, web browsing, Twitter, facebook, ebooks... how is that any different?" Ok, I'm there with Craig0r with all that except the FB part (cause you know we broke up, right?) but really, that's just re-donkulous!

4. QR codes rely on a good Wi-Fi or 3G connection

"For a QR code to take you from the maze of black and white squares to a website promoting a product, it needs a good internet connection. This is a problem because there are times when the mobile internet is really slow, doesn't work or makes a website look bad if it isn't mobile friendly. There's also the problem of QR codes being displayed in places where there's no internet - I refer back to the confused people wondering why their QR code scanner isn't working on the tube."

Bah! Doesn't everything on a Smartphone or iPad require a connection of some sort? So you're blaming the vehicle of the internet because there may possible connection issues? Really? Well, then let's forget these QR codes and smartphones all together and go back to 2 tin cans and a string otherwise I'm sorry but this doesn't hold water.

5. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch

"In the marketing rush to have a QR code promoting products there were a lot of poor codes slapped around. Some of them didn't scan properly and of the ones that did, some took the customer through to a bad website or linked to something they weren't interested in. These bad experiences have put people off and left the QR code redundant."

OMFG!* Again, hello? That can happen with any link on the Interwebs! Do you quit using the Internet all together because of one clumsy 404 site not found? Do you quit Twitter because one day you got the fail whale? No way. Though I gotta say that was one of your best points. Just for laughs now checkout WTF QR CODES - NSFW humour *Oh my fairy godmother!

Let's Get Real! The first picture in this posting is from a Google+ Hangout with QR Codes! long-distance lesson I did with my friend and Gifted & Talented teacher Karen Mensing. You can see those kids leaning forward with their mobile devises scanning those codes! You can also see MY 6th grade kids holding up printed QR codes up to the screen for the 2nd graders to scan! They get it! Even a 5 year old can "get it!" Also from Karen Mensing: "I had lunch with a fellow teacher the other day and she was telling me how her 5 year old (just finished KG) STILL gets excited each time he sees a QR Code anywhere in a restaurant, store, flier, etc. Five years old! You just do not see that kind of lasting engagement with most things! "

Haters Gonna Hate! QR Codes are free to create, flexible, fun, and engage kids with mobile learning faster than I've seen just about anything in the last few years. With only 2 iPod touch G4's, my iPhone, and a few smartphones that kids bring in (with permission!) my mobile media lessons are buzzing with excitement! I think other kinds of codes will come around but I really think QR codes are here to stay! So there....[grins] Whew! I had to get that off my chest. So There Michael Ruffles ! Reposted by Matt Thomas aka @smartamatt from the UK - I think you're dead spot OFF on this one! (Yeah, I just made that up. You're welcome.) PS. Haters Gonna Hate Meme origin.

(Authorship Clarification) Cheers!

Nice response - but please correct: the piece was written by not me! Assume my account was used to add to site...

What do YOU think dear reader?

Are QR Codes all hype? Here to stay? Replaced by near-field communication (NFC) chips? Your comments are always desired!

Coming Soon!

Gaming with Plants Vs. Zombies, Cyberbullies with Zombies, and the Level Up Book Club!

My Related QR Posts:

QR Code Quest Scavenger Hunt- Part Deux!

Google+ Hangout with QR Codes!

QR Code Quest: a Library Scavenger Hunt (orig post)

QR Code AT-A-Glance Comic Tutorial

HOT QR Codes in the Classroom & Library

MSET Conference, Colbert, Crabs, & QR Codes

QR Code Custom Jewelry, Swag

Library in Your Pocket

Oh and I've gotta give a huge shout out to Mr. Russel Tarr of Class tools for creating a neat QR Code Scavenger Hunt generator! LOVE this idea! My way was more visual with custom .jpeg graphics & answers but my way was also a LOT of work! LOL

Oh and as a little giftie to you dear readers...feel free to download & snag this blank version of my Second & Comic Life tree! Insert your QR Codes on this tree (or just paste them on) - photo of tree taken from my property in Second Life - 4 season SL tree created by Sixpense Ninetails.


  1. Hey, nice piece but may I just add that I didn't write the original post! The author was Mike Ruffles as can be seen on the original link:

    Matt Thomas ask @smartamatt!

  2. Fantastic article with so much wonderful stuff. I plan to send my teacher friends here because I'm going to be using QR codes a lot this year and I want people to see how fantabulous they are! Thanks!

  3. Thanks Matt! I updated the post to include the correct author - Mark Tweeted me back, thanked me, complimented my comics & we're gonna agree to disagree! ;-)
    Jennifer, thanks for your comment! You may want to get in contact with my friend Karen Mensing @MsMensing she's (another!;-) Mobile Media Maven who rocks QR codes hard! She's the shizzle! (heh heh)

  4. I love your response! QR codes are used in the classroom. I blogged about them last week on my blog! http://mesmrswhitesclass.blogspot.com/2012/06/qr-codes-in-classroom.html

  5. I have to take issue with his assertion that people don't get them, but not for the reason you mention. Part of what's awesome and appealing about QR codes IS that not everyone knows what they are--that means they're not great for getting out essential information, but they do let a segment of users feel like they're getting access to something extra that others don't, and that can build excitement and loyalty from these members of your audience.


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