I have been hearing so much talk, and seeing use, of QR Codes lately. Maybe I am noticing it more because I started dabbling in them myself or maybe they are on the rise. Either way, I want to share a few things about QR Codes. First off if you do not know what they are, here is a quick definition:
A QR Code is a specific matrix bar code (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR bar code readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.
To simplify, with a QR Code reader on your smart phone you can use the phone’s camera to scan the QR Code (like the crazy black and white thing at the top of this page) and it will take you to a web page, display text, phone number and/or prepare a text message to be sent.
The great thing is they are extremely easy to create and use in your online learning or in the traditional classroom. Using a QR Code generator (e.g., Kaywa, Snap.vu, etc.), you can create and copy the code to a web page, PowerPoint slide, add it to a manual, print it, etc. Now when it is seen in your classroom or online course participants can scan the QR Code and visit the site, obtain the text info or data.
Here is a demo showing how easy it is to generate a QR Code.
Here are a few ways I am starting to use QR Codes:
- Adding my contact information to my classroom powerpoints and manuals. I even posted one with my contact info outside my office.
- Include QR Codes in manuals and job aids that take the user to relevant URLs.
- Adding codes in e-learning courses. For example. the video below shows one in a course that directs the user to social bookmarks containing additional resources and tutorials.
Here are also my QR Codes bookmarks where you will find more resources on this subject including links to QR Code generators. Of course the QR Code for this link is below too.
Well it’s that time again. Here are my e-learning predictions for the coming year.
- You know I have to include a Flash prediction. So, here you are… I predict a Flash player will finally be included on the iPad and iPhone this year. This will be mostly due to the fact that so many more phones, and tablets, will be released with Flash, pressuring Apple to do the same.
- Say goodbye to the “e-” and the “m-” and say hello to just “learning” in 2011. I think we will be less concerned about the medium and will call it “learning” regardless of whether it is in the classroom, computer, phone or wherever else you are finding it.
- The coming flood of tablets in 2011 will move m-learning much further along. However, I think people will be distinguishing less and less between the terms e-learning, m-learning, and just learning. After all, where does m-learning stop and e-learning begin? See prior prediction.
- With the economy improving, we will see reinvestment in classroom training and classroom trainers. I believe too many organizations have hastily delved into online training, resulting in developing courses that are better off in in the classroom than online. Plus with so many rushing into e-learning without investing the time in understanding the design end has resulted in ineffective “rapid e-learning.” I think we will see these people who had good intentions are going to move away from e-learning. For those that may be in that boat, don’t give up on e-learning, but please read “Hey You Rapid e-Learning Peeps, Slooow Down and Take a Little Drive on the ISD Side of Town.”
- QR Codes will become more prevalent in the U.S. In fact, I just started using them myself by including them in a new e-learning course. I also plan to start adding them to job aids, manuals, presentations and anywhere else when appropriate.
Even I will admit the iPad is an exciting device, but because it is missing Adobe Flash it is not something in which I am willing to spend the money. As you can see in the video below, we will be able get a tablet with Flash, which is enticing to me. Who knows, maybe with enough tablets coming to market with Flash on them Apple will rethink adding Flash to the iPad.
There is obvious potential for m-learning, including quizzes, educational games, mini-courses, informal learning.. really the sky is the limit. If development is as easy as they claim, then we can focus even more on design and are not as limited by the complexity of app development. The App Inventor uses Open Blocks, which is distributed by MIT’s Scheller Teacher Education Program. Please note, the apps are for Androids and I will assume they will not be supported across all smart phones, which is a hindrance in developing m-learning.
According to the site, they will be granting access to interested users in the coming weeks. I have put in my request and will let everyone know if/when it is granted. All that is needed is a Google account to sign up.
Here is a video Google provides showing the development of a very simple app.
Google also provides descriptions of examples that have been developed.
Here are a couple of great and innovative uses of mobile devices I stumbled upon on SmartPlanet,com. Not only do these innovations increase the ability to provide better healthcare in the developing world, but also has great potential in mobile learning (m-learning).
You can read more about the CellScope at UC Berkeley News.
Visit Tapan Parikh’s page to learn about the social media and mobile technology projects in which he is involved.
As we all know, that tablet everyone has been talking about recently does not have Flash. Oh well, I am over it. However, Dell will be releasing a multi-touch tablet of their own, the Mini 5, and it WILL have Flash. Take a look of the preview below from Adobe TV.
Yes, I know what you are thinking. A 5 inch screen and they are calling it a tablet? It may be a stretch, but Dell is talking about scaling it up and offering larger versions. Beyond a 5 inch screen and I will let them slide on the semantics.
I am a big user of Flash and find it to be one of the most effective tools in my e-learning toolbox. Earlier this week I was very disappointed to learn Flash will not be included in the Apple iPad. I was hoping the iPad would be a great new medium for m-learning delivery, but without Flash it will be very limited in its ability to deliver the level of interactivity mobile learning deserves.
Now that I got that out of my system, here are a few resources on the history of Flash.
Of course there is “The Rather Amazing and Slightly Distorted History of Flash” created by Nectarine.
Each time Flash appears on another mobile phone I get ever more hopeful about Flash becoming THE delivery platform for m-learning.
So, will Flash be on the new Google phone that everyone is buzzing about? It is not currently, but Adobe will be making it available for download sometime in future and here is a preview.
We are moving a little closer to a world were Flash is on every smart phone… iPhone, where are you?
A free e-book, New Technologies, New Pedagogies: Mobile Learning in Higher Education, is available for free download through the University of Wollongong’s Research Online. This book provides examples of m-learning implementation and concludes with some recommended design principles for m-learning. For anyone involved in m-learning, this is a worthwhile read.
You can also download the e-book (PDF file) directly via this link.