I want to teach in Dysart Schools

So today’s post comes from a discussion I had with my boss yesterday. His children go to school in the Dysart Unified School district in the Phoenix area. Over the weekend he attended a technology night the discussed what technology they are using in the classroom. By the end of the conversation, I was green with envy. the thing I was most impressed with is there implementation of QR codes. Apparently what they are doing is recording the classroom lectures. The homework assignment has a QR code already printed on it. The teachers then upload the video of the lesson that the did in class, attach it to the QR code. Bingo Bongo you have help on your homework if you get stuck! Now I could probably figure out I way to have implemented this on my own, but the fact that this is a district imitative just amazes me.

The second item for discussion is a paper I’ve been reading that is wrinkling my brain. I want to say that it’s completely changing my thought process on teaching, but really it’s putting things I’ve observed onto paper in a more educated way then I could put it. The paper is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge and it’s been awesome. Basically the authors, (side note, I had a professor in college who would make us write abstract’s on Supreme course cases that had to be 300 words or less. Let’s see if I can still do it), breaks down teaching into 3 realms, Content, Pedagogy, Technology. Often these three things are handled mutually exclusive of each when in reality we should be building our knowledge on how these things intersect. For example, author talks about how not only is there Pedagogy but content pedagogy. How is teaching history different than teaching math. The author mentions preconceived notions that students have and having to overcome those. This put my teaching in government in DC in a whole new perspective as my students have an inherent distrust of the government, specifically the federal government, that I didn’t happen when teaching government in Arizona. In the realm of technology, the author put into words a problem I had with my principal that I discussed in my second post. She wanted me to use more technology for a lesson that in my opinion didn’t need it. As my wife pointed out later, pens and paper are technology. The author states that these have become transparent technology, something we are so used to they have become common place. When new disruptive technology comes out, we have to rethink our pedagogy to understand how that technology is going to change the way we teach. To sum it up, “Thus, our model of technology integration in teaching and learning argues that developing good content requires a thoughtful interweaving of all three key sources of knowledge: technology, pedagogy, and content.” (Bonus, summary is under 300 words when taking out the initial sentence used to set up the paragraph. Still got it!)

Power On!

Review and How to QR Codes


For this post we are getting both a review and tutorial on QR codes. At least I’m going to share how I have implemented them in my classroom recently. QR codes began as a tracking device for auto manufacture. With the rise of smart mobile device (smartphones, iPod Touch, iPad, other tablets)(SMD), they can be utilized in the educational setting. The code allows you to link a website, 160 characters of text, phone number, SMS, or contact information on a scan able item.

I’ve used QR codes once and I have another lesson set up to use them again soon. So far I’ve implemented them gallery walk style. When we were studying World War I propaganda, I found the posters I wanted the students to study then created a Google site with those posters. I then created a QR code that sent the students to the link to look at the posters individually. This proved beneficial for me as my printer doesn’t have color ink, color being critical for propaganda. In addition, instead of creating a PowerPoint where every student had to go at the same pace it allowed the students to go at their own pace.  They could have just visited the website, but the QR code isolated each piece of propaganda as a small chuck. This system also opens up differentiated instruction possibilities. For instance, when reading a document you can put a code on for students that could provide different scaffolding tools like word definition. You can specify to students what codes they need to scan or what codes that they don’t need to do. The next lesson I’m using QR codes with will be examining the effect of World War I on African American life in the U.S. For this lesson, instead of creating a site, I’ve linked to codes to other sites and the students have to take notes and report back. This negates the need for a computer lab, but still allows students to access outside material using their smart mobile device.

The students seem very receptive to the process. They liked the ability to get up, walk around and go at their own pace. For the few students who didn’t have an SMD, they were able to share with another student who did have one and still accomplish the task.

The process is rather simple. There are several QR code generating sites. I use www.qrcode.kaywa.com to generate mine. This site gives you the option to create either free static codes, so once they are created the code can’t be altered. You can also do 5 free dynamic codes, or more with a paid monthly subscription. Dynamic codes give you the ability to alter the destination of the code. They also give you the ability for analytics, but these are mostly geared towards businesses.

There are numerous other ways codes can be utilized. I’ve read of teachers putting them on worksheets to get the answers for previous homework assignments. I’ve seen a Periodic Table of QR codes. And this website has even more ideas.

How To

Step 1: Decide what you want to codify.

Step 2: Go to www.qrcode.kaywa.com


Step 3: Create the code.

Step 4: Right click on the code and select copy


Step 5: Insert QR code into Word document and print


Step 6: Post and have fun

Power On!