Technology Integration

5 Ways to Use Scannable Tech in the Math Classroom

Using QR codes and AR, math teachers can connect to tutorials, make their word wall interactive, share student work, explore 3D shapes, and update old textbooks.

June 22, 2016
©Ben the Illustrator

Scannable technology can totally alter the way that you think about teaching and learning in the math classroom. This powerful free and low-cost technology can support students inside and outside the classroom and change the way you think about interacting with content. QR codes and augmented reality are scannable technology tools that are perfect for K-12 math classrooms.

A Quick Response (QR) code connects users to a link such as a website, YouTube video, or audio clip. Augmented reality (AR) layers digital content over the real world. There are a handful of apps that have pre-made AR experiences and a few tools that you can use to create your own. Once you explore these tools and understand their capabilities, scannable technology offers exciting possibilities for deeper learning.

How can you energize lessons, differentiate instruction, and share student work in the math classroom? Try these five ways to use scannable technology with your K-12 math students.

1. Connect to Tutorials

One of the most familiar complaints about Common Core math references the "new" or "different" strategies used to solve problems. Parents are frustrated when trying to help their child with homework, and even older siblings may be unfamiliar with a variety of the problem-solving strategies now used in classrooms. A QR code can connect students and families to tutorials. Similar to a flipped classroom model, the links to online tutorials can be connected to a QR code. This makes it easy for teachers to link helpful videos to homework assignments. Teachers can use clips that they've found online or made themselves with a tool like Explain Everything or ShowMe.

2. Interactive Word Wall

Many classrooms have wall space dedicated to posting anchor charts or vocabulary. You can add a QR code next to keywords for the unit that takes students to more information. In a middle or high school classroom, this might include a link to a Khan Academy video hosted on YouTube that explains a concept. In an elementary school classroom, it might include a sing-along video. Another option is to have students create the informative content with a tool like Adobe Voice. Then they can use an AR tool like Aurasma to attach their videos to a poster so that it pops off of the page when scanned.

3. Share Student Work

Earlier this year on Edutopia, I shared my ACES Framework for scannable technology integration. The S in the ACES Framework is all about sharing student work. Encourage students to create products that demonstrate their understanding. This could include math tutorials, Hamilton-inspired hip-hop videos on math concepts, or a step-by-step guide on how to solve a problem. You can attach their video links or online content to a QR code using QRstuff. Another option is to use an augmented reality creation tool to build an AR experience that shows off students' digital math projects.

4. Explore 3-Dimensional Shapes

There are a handful of mobile apps that have high-quality premade AR experiences for teachers and students. One of my favorites is from the folks at Quiver. Geometry nets from Quiver are perfect for helping students interact with three-dimensional shapes. After downloading Quiver EDU onto the mobile devices that students will use, you can visit their website to print the geometry AR triggers. Students can color the pages (but they don't have to) and scan the trigger to see the three-dimensional figure pop off of the page. This is a great introduction or vocabulary-building activity. Students can even record their AR experiences to create a tutorial or reflect on their learning.

5. Update Old Textbooks

In the math classroom, you can use scannable tech to update old textbooks. Most math textbooks don't exactly become irrelevant, but they can feel outdated. Turn different pages into AR triggers, or print out a QR code on label paper and stick it to the corner of a page. These links might take students to a video hosted online, to more information about a mathematician or topic, or to a virtual math manipulative like the ones created by the Math Learning Center.

In the math classroom, scannable tech can be used to energize lessons, connect students and families to relevant content, and so much more! Have you used scannable technology in your classroom? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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  • Technology Integration
  • Student Engagement
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Math

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