I have just been speaking to Paul Simbeck-Hampson (he gets around, doesn't he?) about QR codes and both of us have been waxing enthusiastic. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he posts about them too!
In case you're not familiar with them, a QR code is a kind of variation on a bar code, only instead of bars, it has tiny squares of black and white, in which information can be embedded. The information can be text, or a URL, or even audio.
With the means to scan these codes, all manner information can be shared. Paul and I have both loaded an app onto our smartphones that reads and generates these codes. He has an Android, while I have an iPhone. If our conversation is anything to go by, the Android version seems to be better.
Also, Google translate has a QR feature (and an app for Androids). Using the smartphone, you can scan and decode the code for the word you have looked up.
We were discussing possible learning applications for these codes and I shared about a speaker at the eLearning Africa conference in May (it pains me that I can't remember his name, even though he and I spoke at the same session), in whose organisation QR codes are being used to overcome language barriers. The code may be placed upon an item of furniture, for example. When scanned, this reveals the name of the item of furniture in the desired language, together with an audio of the correct pronunciation. I guess you could link to a list of the words for that item in any number of languages.
Similarly, the codes are being attached to informational posters in the office, containing a translation of the content in the user's language.
Just think about the potential applications:
- shipping consignments
- museum exhibits
- tourist attractions
- bird identification rings