Podcast EP 32: QR codes & logging systems

Welcome to Episode 32 of Ten Minute Tips to Teach Music.

Well today I want to talk about QR codes and how they can be useful in a number of areas. There is a great little video on YouTube by Darlene Smith which explains it really well. All you have to do is to create a Google Form which links to a Google Sheet. Once you have the form, shorten the form link, paste that into the QR code generator and get a code for that form. Obviously you then print out the QR code and then it can be laminated and used how you see fit. 

So the setup process is simple, and that is not really what I am going to talk about. I want to talk about what to use it for and how to use the google forms. 

  • Logging into rehearsals: One of the things that always bothers me is that fact that I need to keep a manual roll for my rehearsals. The only reason I do this is because all of my rehearsals are after school. I had a situation a while ago where a student was saying to their parents that they were attending band rehearsal when in actual fact they were going to someone’s house. I was completely unaware of this child’s actions until I contacted the parent. So now, I use a QR code for the students to log into rehearsal. I have a record and if they are not there, send an email to the parents finding out where they were. 
  • Instrument Hire: All instruments in the school have a QR code on the back of their tags. This is for logging the instrument. When a student hire’s an instrument or borrows one, they must log it out. The QR Code takes them to a Google form that allows them to complete the logging out process. For returns: I will always go to the google doc and move the line to the “logged back in” tab at the bottom of the logging in Google Sheet. 
  • Loaning resources out to students, staff or other schools:  this is great if you have things that are given to students for research or to borrow for a gig. Again, I log it back in manually but at least I don’t have to go it out. 
  • Room usage: this one has been fantastic. We have three class rooms and three practice rooms so break times are incredibly busy. In each of our rooms, we have a usage chart. This is just the 2 week timetable showing the students when the room is free. For the booking of our rooms, we use an online system called Skedda. All of our tutors use this system and we have found it to be quite useful. For the rest of the time, we have open availability. A senior student can book a room for a free period but not for a break time. Break times are reserved for first in best dressed. All students booking a room for a break time must ask permission first and then they log in using the QR code. This gives me a record of who has been in the room so that if things are left in disarray or something gets broken, I know who to see. It also means the students have to be accountable because their names are on the booking sheet. 

Some things to consider: 

Don’t try to do everything all at once. With the resources, we printed a bunch of copies of the QR codes and as things were borrowed, we put the QR code on them. This way, we did it as we went. 

With the instruments for hire I did a similar thing. I added QR codes to the active instruments and asked the students to fill out the form and then when I sent another instrument out for hire, I just added the code before it went out. 

Logging into rehearsals was easy. We simply printed out the QR code and laminated it. When we go to rehearsal, we attach it to the white board outside the room and the students log in before they enter. 

The room usage was the only one that required a lot of work initially with the setup and of course the usage did change a little during the year but on the whole, it worked well. 

Here is the link to a Sample Room Usage Form I created: https://goo.gl/forms/LnG4RrmkxrydRvoo1

This QR code should take you there. 

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