QR Codes #1: How to read a QR code using different devices

QR codes are gaining momentum in today’s technology. Many teachers and classrooms are using the very successfully. This post aims to show how QR codes can be used on an Android and iPad device, a smartphone and also on a PC in the classroom.

What is a QR code
Recently I listened to a webinar presented by Steven Anderson on QR codes and I liked the way he introduced them. Here is a screenshot from the webinar.


  • A QR code is a ‘quick response’ move away from the keyboard to easily access information.
  • A QR code used to be a black square pattern arranged on a white background but currently you can colour them to a colour of choice! 
  • The code represents information that you want to share be it text, video, a URL or other data via the Internet.
  • The code is alphanumeric (consists of letters and numbers)  This code has to be created by a QR code generator and it needs to be read by a QR code reader. There are many free apps that one can use some of which combine the creating and the reading. 
  • One of the things that are useful about QR codes is that if the information you wish to share gets out of date or you need to change it for some reason, the QR code remains the same.

How to get started with viewing QR Codes

You will need the following to get started:

    • A phone with a camera or a Smart phone ( iPhone, Android phone, Windows phone etc );
    • If you don’t have a phone or a tablet you can use your desktop or netbook provided it has a webcam to read the codes.
    • A program that lets you scan them .
    • You must have access to internet when you are to scan a QR code.

1. Android devices:
a) Google Goggles


Google Googles is such a useful app as it does much more than just scan bar codes and QR codes. Search by taking a picture: point your mobile phone camera at a painting, a famous landmark, a barcode or QR code, a product, or a popular image. If Goggles finds it in its database, it will provide you with useful information. Read more

b) An alternative – QR Reader for Android



  2. iPad devices

QR Code Reader and Scanner


3. Windows PC

Code 2 Desktop QR Reader (doesn’t need a webcam)


I installed this on my computer. I discovered that it is able to read codes that are on the screen or on a file. Consequently a webcam isn’t necessary. It doesn’t automatically open the file but it gives the link which has to be entered into URL bar.


4. Windows PC and Mac
Quickmark for PC (needs a webcam)

QuickMark for PC is a powerful, yet easy to use PC application that lets you decode multiple popular 2D & 1D barcode formats via a image file (drag & drop), a screen capture, or your webcam. I downloaded this one to my PC. This is an excellent choice because it can do off screen capture, on screen capture and can also create QR codes in different colours.



How to read a QR code


Simply open your QR code reader on your device, point the scanner at the QR code device and it will automatically scan it and take you to the selected resource. Here is a link to a video showing how it is done.


Download one of the scanners on your device and see if you can read the following QR codes:

image image image

Useful sites1) How a QR code works with a smartphone
2) QR codes from a child’s perspective – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSA3YsBy_pU
3) QR code tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjE6ko_WOfc

Next post

This will show how to create QR codes and how they can be used effectively in the classroomQR codes #2: How to create or generate a QR codes on any device

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