Wednesday, September 6

QR Codes anyone?


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

6 comments:

geoff said...

if you would like to make your own QR Code: try here: http://nfggames.com/system/qrcodegen.php

Leonard Low said...

I'm delighted that someone is listening! I've been advocating the use of QR Codes (and other 2D Barcodes) for quite a while now, and this is the first sign that a software development organisation has become aware of the enormous potential QR Codes have in education - to provide situated, contextualised, or location-based learning much more cheaply than creating RFID tags, and without requiring any specialist reader hardware. You can check out my ongoing research into the use of QR Codes in education on my Mobile Learning blog, if you like:
http://mlearning.edublogs.org/tag/mobile-phone/2d-barcodes/ will show all my posts relating to the use of 2D barcodes for mobile learning!

Leonard Low said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, you can even buy t-shirts from my site that feature QR Codes on them! Check this out: http://mlearning.edublogs.org/store/

geoff said...

Thanks Leonard. I totally agree.

I discovered another, totally un-related use for barcodes that is transforming learner's lives. Bar codes on your ready-meals that the microwave reads cooking instructions from.

so simple, yet so smart

We are working with a bunch of learners who need more-or-less round the clock carers. Currently they can do very little for themselves, but we are trying to use technology to help them live more independantly.

and this microwave (plus the very few supermarkets who currently bar-code their food correctly) are really transforming lives and helping to build independance.

Great, huh?

webopadmin said...

Brand Attention Mobile seo and QR code application service:

Brand Attention loves QR codes, however it seems that people are missing a vital element in ensuring the users of the qr codes are getting the most out of the experience. Most people who make QR codes are making them to utilise the URL function, i.e. to send someone to a website. However,these URLs usually point to a standard website, i.e. not one suitable for mobile viewing. Only the top phones (Nokia N95 etc.) can view these sites and even then they are a pain to navigate. Makers of QR codes, espeicially in the commer4cial sector need to think about where they are sending the end-user.
Brand Attention provides business's with the ability to send users of QR codes to mobile websites specifically designed for mobile platforms. i.e. the site will render exactly the same on all mobile devices. Visit the Brand Attention Mobile QR Code and SEO Service site.

john said...

The QR codes, ones that look like fancy bar codes that you take a picture of with your cellphone that brings up some bit of info or trivia on the display. Those are being tested in SF right now on 500+ restaurants/shops/businesses reviewed by City search.
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john edwin
SEO

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