March 2011 Archives

QR Codes

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Here are some of the websites I found talking about educational uses of QR codes:

Educational Qrcodes

Posted back in 2009. The most interesting example they listed to me was the "Test tubes with QR codes" entry.

Blog post from Duke's CIT
Basic overview of how they work and a list of some common examples.

7 ways higher education can use QR codes to connect with current and prospective students
Quick post by Noel Levitz around QR codes. Lists 7 ideas about how to use QR codes in academia.
For me, the self-guided tour of campus was the most interesting.

Use QR Codes for Flashcards You Can't Cheat On

Example of someone using QR codes as flash cards for learning a second language.

Here's an example of QR codes being used in a way you might not have seen before:

From their website:
Books2Barcodes is an ongoing effort to convert all the world's great books to QR codes (2D barcodes). Each work featured here is the entire text of a piece of classic literature translated into several thousand barcodes. With a mobile device equipped with a camera and a barcode-scanning app, you can experience the joy of a great book as read through 800-character fragments on your cellphone.

My reaction:
You might see this and respond like I did, "Why would anybody do this?" Obviously, this is not the use intended when QR codes were first used at an automotive assembly plant to keep track of parts more efficiently; you can read more about their history at if you'd like. Considering that, I see this as a proof of concept, rather than an implication that this is the future of the medium.

It is possible, of course, that books and QR codes could be intertwined in a library or bookstore environment in ways that are more sensical. Imagine the example of walking out the door with synopses and citations without writing anything down. But the possibilities for text embedded in a QR code go on.

Perhaps consider a course syllabus stamped on the inside of a course text, letting the student recall today's class topic without fumbling through a folder. How about ingredient lists (or even a full recipe) under buffet tables? I could also picture easy-scan nametags at conferences, so you could scan one another's nametag and avoid the pile of business cards that get lost on the way home.

Have I missed anything? Feel free to add your ideas.


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The iClass Interactive Class Response System was developed by teachers and students at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Hong Kong. It is a tool that provides interactivity in the classroom in support of instruction, collaboration, and peer interaction. Its major features include a notepad module, a drawing module, and a student response capability. iClass Mobile supports mobile devices for the Android and iOS platforms. The lecturer app/server is downloadable to a Windows machine. The student app is downloadable from the Web site for the Android version, and from iTunes for the iOS version. A user manual is also available for download at the Web site:

Derek Bruff has compiled a very comprehensive bibliography on classroom-response systems:

Last year I led an ATIP review on clickers that included folks from several colleges around the U and the IT Director for the Rochester campus and the head of ITSS at UM-Duluth. Part of this process included taking a look at what's next for clickers beyond the device specific options offered currently by most vendors. We opened this question up to a broader interpretation to include polling systems, etc.... I'm reformatting most of those finding as my blog post. The information is about a year old, but still relatively new in the field.

Popular Polling software (most used by some faculty at the U):


  • Text message (SMS) polls and voting
  • Can display results on web or through PowerPoint (updates automatically)
  • Can also vote via Twitter or Smartphones
  • no innovations - simply a free/for pay pro options easy to use online poll and survey tool
  • Internet's Largest Poll Database
  • free and easy to use
  • polls made by accounts are searchable
  • automatically adds a threaded discussion for every poll that folks can go to immediately after completing poll
Software driven clickers (including mobile devices):

iRespond AnyPlace - web-based version of clicker

  • Allows for essay answers
  • Homework
  • vClicker mobile edition - virtual clicker
  • ResponseWare - web-based polling on laptops and cell phones/smart phones with web browsers
    • works on Wi-Fi and cell/data networks
    • Allows alphanumeric entry
    • Aids with accessibility issues
  • RemotePoll - Simultaneously connect multiple lecture rooms through the internet using ResponseCard hardware and RemotePoll to enable the host site to gather and display results immediately from all locations.
  • web>clicker - browser-based voting system that combines the simplicity and reliability of i>clicker with the flexibility of laptops and handheld devices.
    • works with laptops
    • works with mobile devices that support a browser
Systems adding new functionality beyond traditional clickers:


  • Q7 Presenter Tablet - allows teachers to draw, annotate, and control computer applications without being tethered to a computer. Additionally, presenters can view notes, presentation indicators, and input from participants on the tablet's LCD screen.
  • Q5 instructor remote - can start and stop media as well as initiate a spontaneous question right from the remote.
  • Slide/question bank available for many disciplines from company
  • Intellislate - device that allows annotation over presentations, programs, documents and web pages Clip Art Library for Geography, Math, Science, History and more
  • iRespond mini tablet
    • Control your PC using the iRespond Mini-Tablet!
    • Tablet technology functionality at one-half the cost
    • Issue questions to students
    • Use as a teacher's/presenter's remote
    • Draw and capture capability
  • InterWrite WorkSpace - vendor provided content (content, lessons, assessments, etc...)
  • InterWriteMobi - The teacher and student can concurrently interact with and contribute to the same digital content - ideal for team activities, learning simulations, student exploration, and more.
Hotseat (developed internally for use at Purdue http://www.purdue/hotseat):
  • Enabling collaborative micro-discussion in and out of the classroom
    • social networking-powered mobile Web application
    • creates a collaborative classroom, allowing students to provide near real-time feedback during class and enabling professors to adjust the course content and improve the learning experience
  • Students can post messages to Hotseat using:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • text messages
    • logging into Hotseat site
  • Students can also vote on questions posed to help instructor prioritize questions to answer
DyKnow (more of a technology classroom management tool):
  • Has a polling tool
  • Unique in that there is 2-way communication through the tool (faculty can address students questions individually)

My weekly beat seems to be rather indirect and broad. In no particular order, I browse Hacker News, the Register, the Inquirer, arstechnica, nytimes, nytimes blogs, bruce schneier's blog, the Economist blogs, the Atlantic blocs, the chronicle of higher ed, and mit technology review. Occasionally, I check out front pages of Nature and Science.

I must admit that I don't really use blogs to find about new technology. I typically go looking for new technologies to solve problems/issues rather than consistently scanning the horizon.

Top 3 places that I do tend to find information include:




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This page is an archive of entries from March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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