Our Space | Commentary
Breaking the QR Code
T.H.E. Journal is not a how-to guide, but it can guide you through some of the issues and challenges you face in creating technology-rich 21st century schools. Also, it occasionally can take advantage of some of those ideas and technologies--and not just by simply telling you about them either.
I have been executive editor of T.H.E. Journal since May. During that time, it's been a relief to meet and communicate with some of our readers. The reason? It's been nice to learn that not every single of one of you is more tech-savvy than me.
I'm always the last guy to get whatever the newest device is. Everybody I knew was absorbed in the Android vs. iPhone conversation while I was still fumbling around with the free phone Verizon gives you when you sign a two-year contract. My wife and I haven't actually downloaded a movie from Netflix yet--even though we've been paying the monthly charge for almost a year.
And I've been happy to learn that many of you who spend much of your day either in or working with people in the classroom are like my wife, who is a teacher. This year, she's got a new interactive whiteboard in her classroom. Before the fall semester started, she had a couple of whirlwind training sessions with a frazzled tech specialist. It wasn't enough. So far, she's managed to screen a few movies on it; that's about it.
I'm sure this is a situation that is familiar to many of you. You and the teachers you work with have the stuff you see here; they just don't always have somebody to show them how to use it.
T.H.E. Journal is not a how-to guide, but I hope we can guide you through some of the issues and challenges you face in creating technology-rich 21st century schools. Also, we hope we occasionally can take advantage of some of those ideas and technologies--and I don't mean by simply telling you about them either.
Turn to page 27. You'll find a QR code. Snap a picture of it with your smartphone and you'll be connected to a list of citations for the sources our guest columnist, McREL's Andrea Beesley, uses in her column, "Keeping Rural Schools Up to Full Speed."
The first QR code, sort of an advanced bar code, was created for Toyota in 1994. The automotive industry used them for years to keep track of the millions of parts required to put cars together. Because they're so easy to read and have such large storage capacity, other segments of society have begun to use them too--even education. Type QR code into an article search at thejournal.com and you'll learn how science teacher London Jenks is using them in his classroom at Hot Springs County High School in Thermopolis, WY. Or you can find out about the prize that history teacher Melanie Wiscount won for the innovative way she uses QR codes in her classes at Palmyra Area High School in Palmyra, PA.
And you can look for more of these codes in future issues of our magazine, as we continue to look for ways to move beyond the printed page to supply you with the information you need to do your jobs.
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.