Wednesday, September 6
QR Codes have been around for a while. They are one of several different attempts to improve on barcodes, offering a small image that contains machine readable data.
You may not realise, but your phone could tell you that the one on the right says "www.m-learning.org"
QR Codes are one of several similar systems to start being used with camera-phones, and this is where it gets interesting to us mobile learners. I can embed a URL, and attach the code to a picture in the museum. If I point my phone at it, I can get taken to a mini-website with more information about that picture.
Or for the tech-savvy businessman - why not include your email or phone number in a QR Code. It will save your contacts typing them in.
But the main reason I am blogging QR Codes, is that Nokia has started shipping the reader as standard in their Japanese phones. And that this format is fast becoming mainstreamed there. Consumers are finding links on supermarket shelves, bus shelters and magazine ads.
So - if it is being taken up by industry, why not at school too?
There are (as always) many different ways to do the same things. Semacode is another variant, and hypertag is a more feature-rich and advertising-friendly approach. But for me the big take-up in Japan is a taste of mainstreaming-to-come.
If you are interested in the specifics, wikipedia has a good summary of QR Codes (of course!)
and hypertag have made a great animation, to show what can happen when your phone starts getting real digital data from the world around you!
for more on the Japan usage, see Mike Love's links on SmartMobs