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Taking It to the Street: Using QR Codes to Tell Student-Created (Hi)stories on Location

Social Education Volume 77, Number 2, ISSN 0037-7724


One of the challenges that social studies educators face daily is how to make student learning relevant. Digital technologies can play an important role by connecting what happens in the classroom to the world beyond. One way to do this is by turning students into producers of information and having them create content rather than simply consume. This article describes an initiative in which teachers and students used a variety of digital tools to research local history and create digital stories accessible at their relevant location by way of QR codes. QR, or "quick response," codes are small squares made up of black and white pixels that function much like the more traditional bar codes. QR codes can be scanned by smartphones or other wireless mobile devices to access a variety of digital content. Examples of embedded content include text, map coordinates, and hyperlinks to websites or multimedia content such as videos and podcasts. QR codes are ideal tools for education, as they can be used to enhance learning inside and outside of the classroom by amplifying physical resources with digital ones. For example, in the social studies, QR codes can be used to make maps, timelines, displays, and even physical locations interactive by linking them to websites or multimedia with questions or clues related to various learning activities. They can also be used to scaffold learning by connecting students to additional information, hints that might help them solve problems, or video tutorials. The article continues with the development of a digital learning class project and creation of QR codes.


van 't Hooft, M. (2013). Taking It to the Street: Using QR Codes to Tell Student-Created (Hi)stories on Location. Social Education, 77(2), 99-101. Retrieved December 5, 2019 from .

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