Friday, March 30, 2012

QR Code-based Amazing Race

So this week as part of a review for a test, I came up with 12 review questions, put each one individually into a Google document, then generated a QR Code using that linked to each document/question. The QR codes were then posted in different places around the building. (some are still there...I need to take them down!...)

Students were placed into teams of 4 or 5, with one person designated as the contact person--he or she was the only one who would email me during the competition; I would not reply to others. (That person happened to be the one with the weakest grades on prior tests so he or she would have the reinforcement of writing answers...) Teams were made up of students with mixed ability/performance levels.

All teams began in my room with the first QR Code. They had to email me the correct answer to the question, at which point I emailed them a little bit of doggerel poetry that was a clue to their next destination and they were off. (Each team had a different first clue so the teams wouldn't bunch up).  Every subsequent correct answer generated a clue to the next location.  Incorrect answers got a response that included a hint or a suggestion if their answer was headed in the right direction. Each team that completed the 12 questions and returned to the classroom before the end of the period would receive 5 extra points on the test. But the last team to check in, as Phil says, may be eliminated and not get any points.

I've never seen students run so fast... ;)

So I would do it again, but I'd change a few things. 
1) 12 clues all over the building was too many to complete in a 45 minute period. 10 would be better, or closer placement of codes.
2) Some teachers are upset by students running in the halls...
3) I wouldn't use email, I'd us the iPad's messenger system.  It's faster, believe it or not... but it also helps with the next point...
4) It was logistically tough to keep track of what teams had gotten which clues via email, in part because they tended to create a new email for each question, rather than build a thread. So the messenger feature might or might not help with that by keeping a threaded conversation going, or I would require that they respond on the same thread if I were to use email again.
5) Some clues for the locations were hard and some were easy...they all got the front statue clue, but were flummoxed by the newspaper stand in the library clue...I'm not sure if that is good or bad, but the varying degrees of difficulty of the clues also slowed them down, so if the point is to review the content, I'd streamline that part of it.

But it was fun! I'm not sure how valuable it was as a review tool in the end, but as an activity, it was great.  The student feedback was that they enjoyed themselves a great deal, but felt it was too limited in terms of content.  We followed it up the next day with a game of baseball for further review. (Draw a baseball diamond on the board, I create questions that are worth a single, double, triple or homerun--harder questions for more bases--split the class into teams and play innings.)

1 comment:

  1. I did something like this too with the following website:

    I built the clue for the next code into the QR code and student kept an answer sheet (We are one to one with Mac Airs...they used their phones for the QR reader & I borrowed a few iPads from curriculum developers (which is a whole other pet peeve). They love it. Next year, I'm going to add a map component to it to hopefully prevent "helping" other teams out.