Barcodes and QR Codes

What are QR codes?

QR Codes, also known as “Quick Response” codes, are an advanced form of a barcode that can store over 1800 characters of text information. With the advent of smartphones and QR code reader mobile applications, QR codes have grown in popularity for their convenience in transferring information to a cell phone.

What kind of information can a QR code store?DataMatrix

A QR code can store many types of text information, including:

  • A website URL
  • Contact Information
  • A phone number
  • A geographic location
  • A SMS message to be sent to a phone number
  • A plain text message
  • A calendar event

What are common uses of QR codes?

QR codes are often found on public signage, usually to direct users to a website with more information about a product, company, or location, but they are also used on business cards, and advertisements to allow users to quickly call a phone number or get contact information.

Educational Technology is currently in the process of posting QR codes for their classrooms and learning spaces to allow users with a smartphone and QR code reader to quickly visit a website with more information about that space, including resources available for that space and how to reserve it.

How do I use QR codes?

The applications of QR codes are limitless, and may even be applied to learning processes as a method of providing instructional feedback for users (e.g. encoded answer keys for self tests, or other self guided learning methods). Generating a QR code is as simple as visiting a website, such as Kaywa or ZXing. Enter your information into the form, and the web site will generate a QR code image for you which can be printed out and inserted anywhere you like.

To read the codes, users will need a QR code reader application. There are many that are available, some with more features than others, and some that are free while others are not. One of the most popular QR code readers is the i-nigma QR Code Reader, which is freely available for many mobile platforms.


Note: Because the iPhone 3G has a fixed focus camera, it can only read QR codes that are 2″ or larger in dimension. Any other smartphone with an adjustable focus camera (such as the iPhone 3GS) can read smaller size QR codes.