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Introducing 4D Books – Linking analogue to digital

Heathfield Primary School have been producing and publishing so much digital content on our blogs we have encountered a new problem. With OFSTED due, regular book scrutinies, lots of interested visitors most weeks, LA Advisors/SIPs visiting school it has become apparent that if we don’t shove the evidence in the faces of our visitors our fantastic evidence could go unseen.

Being innovative has meant that much of our learning has ended up NOT in the pupil’s literacy books! Evidence can be found on Voicethreads, Videos, PrimaryPads, Wallwishers, Blog posts and photographs.

Here’s our solution to our problem: 4D books with the help of QR Codes!

Below is a recent presentation on 4D books that I made at Teachmeet Blackpool3 in November. The Prezi was made just for my reference so some of it won’t make sense. It was a very pleasing moment to hand out a set of my literacy books into the crowd and see them starting to scan the QR Codes and see the magic being revealed before their eyes!

It’s that simple that our 10 year olds can make the QR Codes in minutes and stick them in their books without ANY support. We had our first official visit by two School Improvement Partners on Tuesday 17th November and I planted a QR Code reader in their hands alongside ALL my Literacy and Numeracy books and asked for good old honest feedback.

They were both absolutely blown away! So much so that one of them is asking the powers that be to be able to come back in under the term ‘Innovation’ and delve deeper and see if this is a model that the LA can use for other schools.

I knew that what I had produced was right for Heathfield but it was nice to get an ‘official’ nod from the high up powers that be.

One of the best ways in which QR Codes was seen in my books was to illustrate instructional writing. In their literacy books, my pupils had completed a plan of a Camtasia Screencast Video showing how to create a blog post or how to leave a comment. Under normal circumstances, these videos would sit on our blog or our network, however, now they can come alive within the books. All that is needed is a smartphone or an ipod touch!



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  1. Miss Lotriet
    November 20, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    I love the merging of the analogue and digital. When I first heard teachers on Twitter going mad for QR codes, I have to admit I thought it seemed a bit ‘out there’. Cool, but I couldn’t understand if it was really relevant. Perhaps just a good piece of tech, which would be nice to use but have no real purpose. However, this has total purpose. In fact, I can see how you NEED QR codes to be able to see the full scope of your children’s work. The problem of work being ‘lost’ in the digital either is definitely an issue for teachers who are increasingly using blogs etc. I just wish my school had some iPod Touches! Good luck with your big O visit.

    • Mr Mitchell
      November 20, 2010 at 9:07 am #

      There are sone great ideas being generated for the use of QR Codes and I love just about all of them! The best ideas are the ones that solve problems and books not showing the whole story (in fact only 25% of the story) at Heathfield was an ever growing problem! What was great this week was that our SIP’s visited ANC gave us some great feedback on it!

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Rob Jones
    November 20, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    This blew me away as well. I did see them in use in one school but it was only in a very early stage of development and wasn’t reflected in outcomes..yet. Can see this being really useful to draw together EYFS profile assessments, photos, e-profile info. Hmm..

  3. Ideas_factory
    November 20, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    As usual-very innovative practice.

    Food for thought indeed.

    Well done.

    Consider it well and truly nicked!

    • Mr Mitchell
      November 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

      That’s what all this is about Julian! Take the good from what’s out there and improve improve and improve on it! Cheers for commenting! 🙂

  4. Graham Cullen
    November 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    One word: innovation!

    Incredibly impressive stuff.

  5. Pam Thompson
    November 22, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    I was just reading an article about QR Codes and, to be honest, my initial reaction was “pretty cool & a bit of fun, but what’s the point?” Now, I’ve read this I can see a point, which is what we all need for any application. I’ve thought about this issue of digital work a lot as out of 3 upper primary classes my students have the least amount of work in traditional exercise books.This could be an innovative way to share with families – these days who doesn’t have an ipod touch or smartphone?

    January 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    You and your children are truly inspirational….thank you so much for all this and for sharing so many of your ideas!!

  7. Cathy Beach
    January 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Thanks David! This is exciting! And you’ve just confirmed and inspired me that the idea I’ve been had for my Grade 7 kids to create a QR code activity for kids to use at the local @CndnCanoeMuseum is completely right on! I’m excited to present the idea to both the museum and my kids next week – they’ll have a blast with it, as it covers our History curriculum unit, and I’ll have them do it as their culminating task. So cool! I’d also like to know more about the kinds of written work the kids linked to … could you email me?

    • David Mitchell
      January 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks for your comment. Are you referring to the blog work they referred to? If so, was their blog. LOADS on there.

  8. John Bidder
    October 11, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    This is a classic David and it seems like only yesterday! For peeps who want to make QR codes and emulate what you did here, track how they’re scanned privately in a secure dashboard & spend NO money whatsoever (yay) is worth a punt! Cheers


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