Tuesday, August 6, 2013

QR Codes and Icebreakers

I am already a big QR Code fan, but I recently came across this post from Tony Vincent that
combined QR Codes with Cubes and Web 2.0 Reflection Tools. I can't wait to try it out in my class this fall. However, the opportunity arose for me to create something very similar this summer. I am working with our recent graduates from the college at the Beginning Teacher Institute and was placed in charge of the Icebreaker the first day. Now you either hate or love Icebreakers, but they can be helpful in getting the conversation flowing at a table. We knew as a team that we wanted to connect our recent graduates with other 1st and 2nd year teachers and share their experiences. We came up with two lists of Icebreaker Questions:

Current Teacher Icebreaker questions

What was the funniest thing that has every happened in your classroom?

What was your first parent/teacher conference like?

What one thing did you wish you had done differently on your first day of school?

What topic/activity are you most excited about teaching this year?

What are your extra duties like?

What does your dream classroom look like?

What was the most used supply in your classroom this year?

What internet resource do you use the most to get teaching ideas?

Who inspires you and how are you a bit like them?

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

First Year Teacher Icebreaker questions

What is your favorite “teacher” movie?

What was your favorite moment from student teaching?

If you had to pick a song as your own personal “theme song” what would it be?

Who was your favorite teacher as a student and why?

What excites you the most about the first day of school?

What were your best/worst subjects in school and what subjects would you want to learn now?

When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

Name your favorite children's story.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Name 3 things you think will become obsolete in ten years.

What is the best or most interesting class you have ever taken in high school, college or graduate school?

Making QR Codes

Now that I had the questions I wanted to make them into QR Codes. One of the nice things about QR Codes is that they don't have to be just web URLs, they can be text or numbers or geo locations. I used http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ to generate my "static" qr codes. I then used a basic cube template and added my qr codes to each of the sides. I printed them on different colors for each set, and voila my icebreaker was born!

Why QR Codes

The advantage of using QR Codes in this instance is that a person doesn't know which question they are going to be asked, it is truly at random. QR codes are great for self-check or anytime you need to conceal an element of an activity. I brought some iPod touches with a QR Code scanning program on them, but most of the participants already had an app on their smart phone.

All in all it worked to be a great icebreaker and a nice introduction to QR codes and their applications to the group.