This is just a quick description of a project I have going at school. I’m being ably assisted by a student with a love for technology and an understanding of networks (that I don’t possess).
We have been keen to get QR codes working in an everyday way at school. Most kids have a smart phone or iPod that is capable of running a QR reader app. As another way of interesting and engaging kids in the use of technology we decided to build a wireless server that was capable of hosting our QR URL’s.
We got our hands on an old laptop that had been superseded and I had a wireless router that was no longer needed. It would become a local wireless server, with no connection to the internet. The laptop had a WordPress blog platform installed on it. The URLs that the QR codes link to will be posts or pages on that blog.
The trial we started was a Geo-Treasure hunt. Without a Web connection, we obviously couldn’t go out to places like Google Maps, so we came up with an alternative.
We actually created our own Google Map images of the school, with key locations pinned.
We snipped an image of the pin location (using the Windows 7 snipping tool – awesome utility) and embedded the image into a new post on the WordPress blog install. This gave us the unique URL to create a QR from. The QR code was printed out and put on the noticeboard outside the room with the wireless router.
The instructions on the page also tell them what to do – find something, collect something, do something and where to go with the evidence. The winners get a prize. The results of our tests are very encouraging. We are going to roll out the Geo-treasure hunt to the wider school population in Week 10.
No need for reams of QR codes cluttering your noticeboard. A QR code can be re-used, just by changing the blog post contents. The range of the wireless router is pretty impressive too, with reception up to 200m away, which gives us plenty of scope for code content and sites of deployment.
Although we are not in the roll out stage yet, many kids have noticed the wireless network on their devices and want to know what it is. Their interest is certainly piqued. Once this picks up momentum, and I’m sure it will, I’m sure things like daily notices, permission notes and other mundane daily tasks will become more engaging and fun for the kids.