What is a QR code? Surprisingly many people still are unsure and don’t use them. A July 2011 article said 35% of Americans own a smartphone and I am guessing that after this last Christmas season that number just got significantly higher.  As a high school teacher in an inner city school I am amazed how many of my students have smartphones. With more and more smartphone users, we should be able to expect to see QR codes becoming more common.

What is a QR Code? Quick Response reader that will scan those funny square “bar codes.”

What is the difference between that and a bar code? Don’t get them confused, a barcode is what you can scan at Target to find the price of an item.  The QR codes are not necessarily tied to an item, they link to information. Usually they take you to a website, but can also link to a video, a piece of information, a phone number, a picture, send a text message, send a tweet and more.

So I just take a picture of them on my phone? Not exactly, common mistake is to use the camera feature on your phone. You need a QR reader on your smartphone. There are lots of free ones, just type in QR into your app store and choose one. Find the one you like best.

I see one of those funny QR codes… now what? Launch your QR reader on your phone and scan the QR code. It might ask you to confirm that you want to travel to the URL it points to.  Suggestion to keep the icon at easy access so you’re willing to use the QR code reader when you see QR codes.

Does the barcode scanners work? No, be careful to download a QR reader not a barcode scanner.

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