- Education and Science
Reaching Out To The Busy Parent: QR Code Usage
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The second part of the series on how to build a quality school community that enriches the learning environment.
Today's parent is faced with multiple responsibilities at work and raising children is a top priority which needs to balance out with work, social life and personal needs. As parents, our children's needs come first and our desire is to keep abreast of what is happening in their lives and engaged in as many school and social activities as possible.
In the past, schools posted news and parent information on bulletin boards, sent notes home with children (which sometimes were lost in transit home), and printed newsletters to keep parents informed and involved. Some school still use these methods and they work well. The parent with a full agenda is the gap many schools try to fill, knowing that if they can be reached it will benefit child, parent and school. With the technology we have today it is quite possible to reach all parents, especially the busy ones, better, quicker and still keep within the school budget.
Schools can effectively use a QR code to draw attention to important information by using creative means of distribution. The Quick Response Code (QR Code) is a 2D barcode with square-like mazes or pictures that contain a URL to a web address, phone number or even a text message. They are read using a smartphone app which immediately leads to the specified content.
Let's look at a traditional way of reaching parents and update the method using QR code technology.
Family Literacy Month: BINGO Event
The adjacent picture displays a BINGO sheet handed out to parents listing activities to complete for a prize. The sheet is a bit fuzzy but some of the activities included:
- Attend Family Day
- Complete A Homework Sheet From Your Child's Teacher
- Visit the Public Library
- FREE SPACE
- Read 5 Books With Your Child and Send in Form
- Work As A Parent Volunteer
- Read To Your Child's Class
Using the paper version, parents simply cross out the activity as it is completed. Activities that involve a visit, such as the library, need evidence such as a receipt of library books listing the date of visit. Activities attended at the school are initialed by a teacher or stamped by the administration. The "Complete A Homework Sheet From Your Child's Teacher" requires the parents to obtain the form from the teacher.
As you can imagine, using the paper method works well with some event activities but in others parents have to either check the child's book bag, ask the teacher or the administration for forms. Here is where using a QR Code can help save time for the busy parent and keep them engaged in the school event. The QR Code can be displayed on posters hung in the classroom and around the school where they are highly visible. Parents are directed to the website after scanning the code, the landing page displays the event upon which visitors can click and be sent to the webpage holding event information and all the forms (BINGO form, Homework Sheet, Volunteer Sign-up, etc.).
There is so much more a school can do using a QR code. For example, posting a QR code in the school lobby where parents can easily scan it not only gives them quick updates but says "we value your time". Your parents will appreciate your efforts.
VOTE ON QR Code School Usage
Would scanning a QR Code to obtain school information be useful to you?
QR Code Logistics
QR Codes cost a minimal of $25 per design. Prices vary with size, customization and content contained in the URL. Besides Website address, codes can contain direction to pictures, videos, text messages, and links to social networks. They can also be used as "check-in" on location providing a low-key method of advertising.
The bigger code designs work better in versions 1 or 2. Designs with fine dot image preventsome smartphones from reading the code accurately. Also, lighting has an effect on the code so it is recommended that a low gloss paper be used when posting the code on your flyer's, envelopes and forms. Printing companies are eager to promote this new technique and will sometimes run discounts so it is worth it to call ahead and check for savings.
If you want your parents to remember your QR code or just want to call attention to it in advertising, you can customize your maze design using familiar symbols or logos and include pictures. (See the photo below for an example.)
The QR Code is still fairly new and only accessible through newer technology such as the smartphone. It has its drawback indeed but for those who are wanting to stay ahead of the game, it is worth the consideration.