QR Codes in Education! But not quite here yet…

27 07 2006

I was very excited to come across the first documented instance of QR Codes actually being used in an educational context today. This edublog documents a classroom example in Japan, where, instead of long URLS or information being copied down by students, the same information is captured with a single click of their phone cameras.

Qr_code_detailsLike me, the blogger realises that behind a QR Code could be a whole range of resources. Instead of a student copying down homework tasks, they can simply capture the information, or a link to it, with a camera snap. When they get home, they gain access to, say, a del.icio.us (or mobilicio.us) page, where their resources are assembled. Some of the resources might even be mobile themselves, such as resources developed in mobileprep – a mobile phone flashcard creator.

I’ve been doing some work behind the scenes to try to get QR Codes implemented in Australia. Last week, I sent emails to the general information contacts at Telstra, Optus, Vodaphone, and Virgin Mobile, viz:

As part of my job I am researching the use of mobile phones as tools to support
education. I’ve recently become interested in the use of 2D barcodes (QR Codes)
to access information from mobile phones. The technology could be used to help
students to access supplementary online learning materials through mobile
phones.

Given that QR Codes have demonstrated extremely high success in
Japan (where over 30 million users now have QR Code readers built in to their
mobile phones), are there plans to investigate or deploy QR Code readers in
Australian phones, for a myriad of commercial and educational applications that
would ultimately also be advantageous to carriers such as [carrier], due to
increased mobile phone usage?

The responses I got were in quite a different order to what I expected. I got a reply from Telstra first, thanking me for my enquiry, but advising that Telstra don’t seem to be pursuing this application. Vodaphone were next, and have asked me to call their Head Office to discuss the issue. I haven’t received a reply from Optus or Virgin yet; the latter particularly surprises me, since I’ve always thought a brand like Virgin would seize an opportunity to innovate.

Anyway, I’m pursuing this further. I will call Vodaphone and see if that gets anywhere; but I’m also going to try telephoning a couple of other Head Offices, getting details of someone who’s responsible for strategic development, and sending them some data to demonstrate that there are good commercial reasons for implementing QR Codes in all new mobile phones.

In the meantime, I encourage other interested educators to also contact their carriers and ask about QR Code implementation in Australia:

For those who would like to try integrated QR Codes, and own a relatively recent Nokia phone (other makes and models soon to be supported), Kaywa recently released a free version of their QR Code reader.

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