Another code breaker from Bletchley

I am very proud to live near Bletchley Park, home of the WWII codebreakers and a brilliant, inspiring place to visit for budding historians, maths wizards and computer geeks.  If you aren’t any of these before you go, you will be afterwards!


So this week in ICT, I was amazed to find out that I too could encrypt my own codes – QR (Quick Response) codes that is – and what’s more they are really simple to make and FREE, music to any teacher’s ears!  I’ve had a QR scanner app on my mobile phone for a while but, apart from watching the occasional advert or price checking books in a shop against Amazon online, I haven’t found much use for it up until now.

In the session I started to put together a tree safari, a ‘treasure hunt’ style quiz.  It’s not difficult to guess where the inspiration came from as we had just been squelching our way around the uni grounds in the drizzle and mist for our Science seminar just before ICT.  I have written the first question as an example and created a QR code to check the answer.  I’ve also added a QR code for an article that you might find of interest.  You should be able to scan the codes from a screen so you don’t have to print out the sheet and can avoid wasting paper.  This could be extended to include GPS codes.

Tree Safari with QR codes

Here’s a link to a fantastic idea by Jon Gill with Balmullo Primary School in Fife who created a QR safari, a resource that the whole community could use and enjoy.  This has some great cross-curricular links with Geography and History for studying a local area.  Let me know what you think.

I read Tammy Worcester’s ideas for using QR codes and really like the idea of using them to record children’s book reviews – this is definitely something I will do.  For example, the QR codes could be printed onto labels and stuck into the books in the classroom.  On placement with a Year 3 class I observed the teacher hold a short session each week during carpet time for one or two children to tell the rest of the class why they had chosen a particular book (fiction and non-fiction) to recommend to their classmates and who they think would enjoy it.  This is a great way of encouraging children to read and provides an opportunity for them to practise their speaking and listening skills.  This type of activity could be recorded and a QR code created for display in the book corner with ‘this week’s recommended books’.   I couldn’t get to work in the ICT classroom but had no problems with it on my laptop.  It was very easy to use and so here’s one I’ve since made at home:

My review of Even My Ears Are Smiling by Michael Rosen

Photograph of book cover taken by me

 I also love Tammy’s idea of children explaining their artwork on a display via a QR code that parents/carers can then scan and hear their child explain their work in their own voice.  Other children, especially those that may not be able to access written work, can also scan the code and listen to other children’s views and thoughts.  I also see this as a super way for children who may not have the writing skills to record how they developed their ideas and provides a tangible record for assessment.

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