Deeper Learning With QR Codes and Augmented Reality: A Scannable Solution for Your Classroom


Monica Burns

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    What Your Colleagues Are Saying . . .

    “This is a book that you won’t want to put down. I found the examples and suggestions so exciting that I wanted to try them out immediately. At the same time, I couldn’t wait to see what valuable prompts for learning the next page would reveal. This is an easy read packed with practical applications.”

    —Debra Las, Science Teacher Rochester Public Schools, Rochester, MN

    “This book gives excellent examples for how your students can share their work simply and uniquely with their classmates and the school community. If you want your classroom reach to extend beyond your door, this book can help you reach that goal.”

    —William Chamberlain, Teacher McDonald County R-1, Anderson, MO

    “Monica Burns provides educators with simple, practical ideas for integrating QR and AR in the classroom. As AR, QR, and VR continue to play a bigger role in education, this book is a great starting point for teachers who want to integrate engaging, powerful tools and strategies in their classrooms.”

    Zachary Walker, Professor and Educational Consultant National Institute of Education, Singapore

    “Augmented reality is one of the technologies that will define the next decade. This handbook is an excellent resource for educators to discover classroom ready ways to use AR technologies. This book is filled with exciting ways for students to use AR to explore and—learn.”

    Donald McMahon, Assistant Professor of Special Education Technology Washington State University, Pullman, WA

    “This is a terrific, accessible guide to using scannable mobile tech in education. If you’re acquainted with QR codes or augmented reality but haven’t taken the leap to bring them into your classroom, Monica Burns’s book is the perfect introduction. Her ACES framework really helps you take things well beyond the gimmicky ‘wow’ factor and into meaningful, learning-centered implementation. Without getting too technical, Burns provides enough detail for anyone to begin adding a new layer to their classroom tech. Well done.”

    Gerald Aungst, Author 5 Principles of the Modern Mathematics Classroom and Supervisor of Gifted Education and Elementary Mathematics School District of Cheltenham Township, PA


    To my parents, for whose love and support I am forever grateful.


    I would like to take a moment to thank the network of educators who inspire me daily. From the teacher leaders whose voices are highlighted throughout this text to the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) community that has truly changed my life, there is great work happening in classrooms and many stories to be told. This includes ADE Courtney Pepe, whom I’ve had the pleasure of presenting with to share scannable technology with teachers across the country.

    A special thank you to the team at LitWorld for welcoming me into your programming and providing a space for families to come together for storytelling with technology. Thank you Pam Allyn, Dorothy Lee, Yohanna Briscoe, Jennifer Estrada, Yaya Yuan, and the entire LitWorld team.

    And a final thank you to Corwin and Ariel Bartlett for seeing the potential for scannable technology in classrooms across the world.

    Publisher’s Acknowledgments

    Corwin would like to thank the following reviewers for their editorial insight and guidance:

    Patricia Baker

    Retired Teacher

    Culpeper County, VA

    Darren Bataglia

    Dean of Students

    Glencoe High School

    Hillsboro School District

    Hillsboro, OR

    William Chamberlain


    McDonald County R-1 School District

    Anderson, MO

    Debra Las

    Science Teacher

    John Adams Middle School/Rochester Public Schools ISD #535

    Rochester, MN

    Holly Leach


    Northshore Christian Academy

    Everett, WA

    Alexis Ludewig

    Retired Elementary Teacher (2002 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year), former Supervisor of Student Teachers

    University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

    Oshkosh, WI

    Shelly Markel


    Northern Arizona, College of Education

    Flagstaff, AZ

    Patricia Waller

    Educational Consultant

    Allentown, PA

    About the Author

    Monica Burns is an EdTech and curriculum consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator, and founder of the website In her role as a class­room teacher in general education and integrated co-teaching settings, she used iPads one to one with her students while aligning her instruction to the Common Core State Standards. Monica has presented to teachers, administrators, and tech enthusiasts at numerous national and international conferences including SXSWedu, ISTE, and EduTECH. She is a webinar host for SimpleK12 and a regular contributor to Edutopia and Channel One News. Monica visits schools across the country to work with PreK–12 teachers to make technology integration exciting and accessible. She also provides support to organizations using technology to reach children and families in need. Monica is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Hunter College and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Global Education Leadership at Lamar University.


    In 2011, a delivery came to my classroom that would ­transform the way I thought about teaching and learning. With a class set of iPads, my fifth graders could interact with content in a way that would have been hard to imagine just a few years before. This tablet technology made it easier to differentiate learning activities, made content consumption more meaningful and effective, and increased the ease and number of possibilities for student content creation.

    Mobile technology is transformative. The way we locate directions, check movie times, send birthday wishes, and communicate with friends has become more efficient, creative, and interesting thanks to mobile technology. Preparing students for a world where they can leverage these tools for learning is a task educators must embrace. Mobile technology can support student learning when thoughtfully integrated into curriculum. Students should be able to interact with their learning environments to locate information, explore content, and ultimately improve their understanding of key concepts.

    The influx of mobile tools into classrooms around the world is happening at an exciting pace. Some reports place school purchases of these devices in the millions.1 Just like a textbook or a new set of pencils, placing new tools in the hands of teachers and students does not automatically translate into high-quality instruction. Students must learn to see mobile technology as a learning tool. Teachers need to become proficient users of education technology who can elevate their practice and engage children of all ages by leveraging the power of these devices.

    Technology use in the classroom is so much more than turning on a SMART Board or flipping through PowerPoint slides. Our goal as educators is to prepare students for careers of the future and produce well-informed, productive citizens who think critically, problem solve, and know how to find answers to their questions. We want to make sure students have a skill set that can be applied to all of the unknowns in the future.

    Using scannable technology in the classroom is one step in this direction. It is an opportunity to empower children and students of all ages by providing instant access to information that is connected to a place or space. It can be used to keep students interested and curious while interacting with content across subject areas. It is a simple way to share the digital products of your students to provide an audience for their authentic work.

    So what is scannable technology? Scannable technology is the interaction of mobile devices and a trigger image to connect users to content. In the education setting this most often describes QR codes. When QR codes are scanned they bring students to a website. Scannable technology can also refer to augmented reality triggers that are scanned with a specific app to make content pop off of the page into a three-dimensional model. Outside of education you might see someone scanning their boarding pass at the airport using a QR code on their smartphone or paying their Starbucks’ bill with a QR code displayed on their Apple Watch. Although this book focuses on scannable technology, you will likely make connections to related topics such as pingable technology, a term that can describe iBeacons or the location-based alerts that happen over Bluetooth technology, and wearable technology like a Fitbit or Google Cardboard. The ACES Framework outlined in this book can be applied to a variety of technology and we’ll see the power of this as we begin our discussion looking at scannables in the classroom.

    Scannable technology makes it simple for students to access materials you have curated for them, engage students in traditional and innovative tasks, and help teachers easily share the great work their students have produced on digital devices.

    The goal of this book is to ask you to think beyond the page. Not just the pages you hold in your hand at this moment but the pages in all of the spaces in your learning environment. How can you move beyond the static pages of your students’ textbooks and flat posters on the walls of your classroom to create dynamic learning environments for your students? Let Deeper Learning With QR Codes and Augmented Reality: A Scannable Solution for Your Classroom push you to think big about transforming spaces in your school by starting small with the actionable tips spread throughout this book.

    We are on a journey to provide engaging and meaningful experiences for our children that empower them to become lifelong learners. Let’s dive in and get started together!

  • Appendix

    Glossary of Important Terms

    Android devices: smartphones and tablets that are compatible with Android operating systems, including devices with access to the Google Play Store

    AR trigger: an image that is scanned by an augmented reality app to initiate an augmented reality experience

    augmented reality: a type of scannable technology where a specific app is used to view content layered on top of the real world

    iOS devices: smartphones and tablets that are compatible with Apple’s operating system, including iPads and iPhones

    QR code: a quick response code that connects users to a website when scanned with any QR code scanner

    QR code creator/maker: a tool used to connect a link to a QR code

    QR code scanner/reader: a tool used to read the spaces between a QR code and connect users to content hosted on the web

    shared screen activities: lessons where students use the same device as a partner or small group

    tasks before apps: the idea that learning activities should be constructed in response to student learning, not as a result of popular or gimmicky applications

    Access links and additional resources at

    QR Code Creation Websites and Apps
    • QR Code Maker (iOS)
    • Qrafter (iOS)
    • QR Code Generator (Android)
    QR Code Scanner Apps
    • i-nigma (iOS, Android, Windows Store, Blackberry)
    • QR Code Reader (iOS, Android)
    • QR Droid Code Scanner (Android)
    Augmented Reality Apps
    • Anatomy 4D by DAQRI (iOS, Android)
    • Star Walk HD (iOS, Android)
    • Elements 4D by DAQRI (iOS, Android)
    • Quiver (iOS, Android)
    • Arloon Solar System (iOS, Android, Windows Store)
    • Spacecraft 3D (iOS)
    • Chromville (iOS, Android)
    • Arloon Geometry (iOS, Android, Windows Store)
    • AR Flashcards Shapes & Color (iOS, Android, Amazon Store)
    • CyberChase Shape Quest (iOS)
    • Arloon Chemistry (iOS, Android, Windows Store)
    • Fetch! Lunch Rush (iOS)
    • AR Dinopark (iOS)
    • ARBasketball (iOS)
    • Arloon Plants (iOS, Android, Windows Store)
    • AR Flashcards Animal Alphabet (iOS, Android, Amazon Store)
    • Augmenter Apps (iOS, Android)
    Augmented Reality Creation Tools
    • Blippar
    • Aurasma
    • DAQRI 4D Studio
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