e-Learning Stuff Podcast #056: QR Codes in the Library

August 1, 2010

We’ve put QR Codes in the Library to enable learners quick and easy access to electronic resources.

With James Clay.

This is the fifty sixth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, QR Codes in the Library.

Download the podcast in mp3 format: QR Codes in the Library

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

Shownotes

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BIG QR Codes

June 11, 2010

I have been interested and using QR Codes for a while now. I mentioned them on this blog nearly three years ago.

You then take a photograph of the barcode, and with special reader software you are able to convert the barcode into information, which could be a link to a website or just plain information.

Since then I have used them myself a fair few times. I used them at ALT-C 2009 to allow people to more easily vote for my poster (didn’t win by the way).

In presentations I have used them for titles or to share my contact details (though to be honest in the main to show people the potential of them).

We are using them in the Library at our Gloucester Campus to allow learners to access more information, links and further resources.

With the advent of Augemented Reality (AR) with Apps like Layar on the iPhone and Android, I have been wondering if there is a real future for mobile phone 3D barcodes.

There seemed to be very little use of them made in the mainstream public environment. Though interestingly Mashable reports today on how the City of New York has “outfitted Times Square with giant QR codes”.

[img credits: NYC Media]

To celebrate Internet Week 2010, the City of New York outfitted Times Square with giant QR codes earlier today. It’s called “The City at Your Fingerprints” and eleven New York agencies participated in the interactive billboard initiative.

Times Square denizens could use their smartphone barcode scanning app to scan the QR codes — which were featured in an animated sequence on the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET — and pull up information relating to specific agencies being featured.

Some mobile phones come with a reader built in, I think my Nexus One did, and the Nokia N95 certainly did. Other phones don’t and need to have an app downloaded, I use Optiscan on my iPhone for example.

So where are we with QR Codes?

The University of Bath have been doing some extensive work on using QR Codes in education and their blog is well worth a read.

They are not mainstream and I know if I show them outside the mobile learning community and geekdom that most people have no idea what they are.

Are we at a point where they will take off?

Probably not.

I am sure AR will mature more and will be more useful.


Unexpected barcode in the bagging area…

March 8, 2010

A fair few times on this blog I have mentioned QR Codes, even a few times I have mentioned Microsoft Tags.

Both are mobile phone barcodes that store a lot more information than your standard product barcode that you scan at the supermarket.

By encoding information into print, users (or learners) can scan into their mobile phones, information, data, URLs,

So the question you may be asking, which of these two mobile phone barcode systems you should go for?

Well sometimes it is not a matter of comparing the two systems, but asking what device do your learners have and be using.

I have been using an iPhone 3G for nearly a year now and the main issue with using the iPhone and QR Codes is the quality of the camera. Due to the fixed focus it has real issues in acquiring and reading QR Codes. Now the iPhone 3GS has a much better camera and the variable focus does allow it to focus much better on QR Codes and decode them. However I still have issues and both the 3G and 3GS don’t even come close to the scanning ability of the Nokia N95.

Having recently installed the Microsoft Tag Reader on my Google Nexus One and reading the Microsoft Tag Blog I noticed that they said they had an iPhone App.

So out of curiosity I installed and tried it with my iPhone 3G and was surprised to see that it worked very well.

Now I do have issues with some of the privacy issues relating to Microsoft’s implementation of mobile phone barcodes, but if your learners all have iPhones and specifically the lower specified iPhone 3G then using Microsoft Tags may be a real option in getting learners easy access to information and URLs.


ALT-C 2009 Day #2

September 9, 2009

It’s Wednesday and it’s day two of the ALT Conference 2009 here in Manchester.

An early start for me as I am running my Hood 2.1 workshop on Web 2.0. We had fun last year, I am hoping to have a similarily good session this morning.

Due to a scheduling clash, it does mean I will miss David Sugden and Lilian Soon’s excellent Active learning with Mobile and Web 2.0 technologies workshop.

After the Wednesday keynote, over lunch is the poster session, and I shall be showing off my Glossy poster.

glossyposter450

After the poster session I am hoping to attend the demonstrations looking at Xerte and Mindstorms Communication in Second Life.

After the ALT AGM I will be going to Learning Innovation which has two short papers, 240 Students’ experiences of wikis for a collaborative project: technology choice, evidence and change and 167 Enhancing University Curricula via Adventure Learning.

Final session of the day will be the Epigeum Award for Most Effective Use of Video Presentations. I was one of the judges so will be at this session.

In the evening is the ALT Gala Conference Dinner. Last year’s conference dinner was really good and some of you may remember this video I made of last year’s dinner.

Should be good, long and busy day.


QR Coding

July 16, 2009

Today I was in Bristol for a meeting about QR Codes as part of a JISC LTIG project being run by the University of Bath.

We discussed lots of different uses of QR Codes, barriers to use of the codes and ideas for the future.

After lunch we visited an exhibition in Bristol city centre which makes use of QR Codes, whilst there I shot some video and made this short film.

Watch out for QR Codes at ALT-C this year.