The feedback from staff who participated in the QR code treasure hunt (http://wolseyweb.ucs.ac.uk/blogs/elevate/?p=799) was mixed and very illuminating: 49% felt that it was an improvement over a traditional paper-based treasure hunt, emphasising the potential of QR codes as an engaging learning tool and 51% disagreed. A further analysis revealed that those who disagreed focused on the technical failures such as difficulties with scanning software and in accessing WiFi or GPS networks.
Comments from staff at UCS who took part in the treasure hunt reveal an awareness of the potential of the technology, tempered with guidance as to how the experience could be improved for students:
“It was fun and good to do something different. If this is going to be carried out during induction then the WiFi needs to be heavily promoted during this time so students can log on.”
“The use of mobile technology seemed really relevant considering it is to be used more widely for communication with students. It was useful to gain a first-hand insight.”
“We couldn’t get our team’s smartphone to work.”
When asked haven taken part in the QR Code treasure hunt are they likely to scan a QR Code if they saw one in the future? The responses (n=27) tended to be equally spread, 41% responded yes, and 59% no.
Interestingly, when asked to explain their answer there was fewer positive comments. Many focused on poor technology ownership. While, the positive responses tended to include explicit reference to the additional information being relevant to them.
So as a course team wishing to develop QR Code based learning activities, what can you take from this? I'd suggest the findings imply the need to devote significant time to supporting people on the technical side, especially around recommending (supporting) a QR Code reader, making sure you have consider any GPS blackspots, ie. see if you can get phone reception where you are going to place your QR Code, developing a clear set of instructions for people to follow and providing a practice QR Code for students before the event.