QR Codes Everywhere

Published: 2015-08-04 12:05 |

Category: Technology | Tags: teaching

In my continuing effort to make things more available for students, I’ve started rearranging my Google Drive files. I’ve realized that thinking of Drive as a traditional file system isn’t as effective as using it more like a topical organizer and then power searching for quick results. Because of this change in mindset, I’m getting rid of all of my old unit packets (as traditionally defined) and moving individual pages (notes, assignments, etc) to one big “Handouts” folder. The main reason for this is so I can quickly and easily create a la carte handouts for students missing papers, school, etc. No more trudging through packets and printing one page before hunting for another.

From the last post, I’m also rebuilding my class website to make it dead-simple to find information. In short, lots and lots of descriptive links.

Everything is going to be fed through the individual document this year.


From the document, if they’re accessing on their phone, the title of the page jumps them to a YouTube video for help. On the other hand, if it’s a handout they get in class, the QR code does the same thing. Access. It’s important.


Since I have a lot of handouts and a lot of videos, making a QR code for each one is time consuming. But, thankfully, Scott MacClintic came through in a big way. He shared a blog post which outlines making QR codes using Google Sheets.

I ran into an issue copying the code from the blog post (plain text is important!) If you want to use a sheet similar, use the code snippet below.

One more short note: QR code complexity is determined by the number of characters you’re encoding. So, longer string, more complex code. Using a URL shortener to make your string fewer characters is a good idea. Then encode the short URL. Again, this is something a script can do wonderfully. This WebApps post has code snippet (also below) which you can use in the Sheet you set up. If you’re curious, here’s mine.

The best thing about this is that using the Sheets method means I don’t have to download each one locally – they’re saved in Drive. It also makes updating URLs for videos (updated content, reorganized, etc) much easier to manage because the code updates with the data change. Lifesaver right there.

Comments are always open. You can get in touch by sending me an email at brian@ohheybrian.com