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QR codes at FOTE11

A lot has been written about the use of QR codes for marketing in general and conferences in particular. If I’m honest until recently I didn’t really like them. Let’s be honest they are not very easy on the eye and as a passionate marketer & social media geek I do feel that looks are important. Having said that I’m slowly starting to see past their unattractive façade and realise their potential to connect the online and offline ‘world’ to deliver an integrated user experience (or marketing campaign for that matter).

Are QR codes a waste of time?

In a recent post for GigaOM Joe Gillespie shares his ‘5 reasons you’re probably wasting time with QR codes’. The fact that he’s the “President and CEO of Zoove, a registry of self-chosen, short dialing codes, called star-star numbers, that brands can use as an alternative to QR codes” makes his arguments look less impartial.

I’d argue that although valid, his reasons are more likely to be barriers to entry and a reason for the lack of widespread adoption of QR codes, rather than proof that QR codes are waste of time.

Why QR codes at FOTE11?

Well, running a conference called Future of Technology in Education is all very well – and sometimes you have to walk the walk. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeling like we do something ground-breaking here by using QR codes throughout the conference – not having any printed delegate packs and delivering all relevant content via our FOTE11 conference app, is probably more cutting edge.

The FOTE community has always been a pretty tech-savvy crowd with a healthy proportion of ‘early adopters’ who are happy to try new things. Using QR codes on our stand (to sign-up for Echo360/ULCC hosting offer & download a press release about Bloomsbury College moving to Moodle) and on the conference signs to download the various app version – if you’ve been too busy to do it before the conference – tweet about the event and take a note of the WiFi password just seems to make sense.

Recommended Apps

We have used Qrafter and Scan to test our QR codes and recommend you download either of those two app from the Apple App Store.

For Android users I have attached an example of a QR, which takes you the FOTE11 App on the Android Market.

You can scan it directly off the screen to make sure whatever QR code reader you are using works properly.

What are your thoughts?

What are your thoughts on the use of QR codes for conference, marketing and even teaching & learning? Have you used them or are planning to? Once FOTE11 is over, tell us what you thought of their usefulness during the conference and if you have any other ideas for their use in the future.

posted by fote-conference on September 29, 2011

11 thoughts on “QR codes at FOTE11”

  1. AppSherpas says:

    I agree with your comment and QRCodes have a part to play and your use is just one example. However, I also agree with the post on GigaOm that QRCodes can be distracting, especially when an organisation spends significant money on producing attractive artwork for their campaigns. That is why we have created illumiEye to provide a multiple media access with support for QRCodes, other barcodes but also image discovery. i.e. Using an actual image to make the connection not a QRCode, leaving the original artwork in perfect condition.

    QRCodes are just one tool. These, along with image discovery, location services (both external and in building), NFC and other technologies are all part of the toolkit and if you can access then all from the same client app on your mobile then the choice is in the hands of the marketing department where it belongs.

    @AppSherpas @illumiEye

  2. Andy Mabbett says:

    People viewing your site on their mobile device can’t use it to scan your code, so please also include a good of-fashioned hyperlink.

    Also, when viewed on your mobile site, the code isn’t on the left:

    1. Frank Steiner says:


      The whole point of the post is for people to view it on a desktop and test whatever QR code scanner they use works to make sure they don’t struggle on the day.

      The post also links to a blog post about the FOTE11 mobile app which contains all the links to download the various versions of the app:

      1. Andy Mabbett says:

        I’m curious. I saw a link to your post, tweeted, and read it on my Android mobile. Why would you not want me to be to access your content, and download your app directly, that way?

        And thanks, but I already know my QR code reader works.

  3. I have long been a user and advertiser of using QR Codes in (and out of) the classroom, and have written several blog articles on the different elements of their uses. This link is one of the more recent that outlines what they are and some of the uses they could offer all levels of student/material interactions:

    The rest of my work on QR Codes can be found here:

    All the best, and see you on Friday. David

  4. Dave Webster says:

    I do use them – but it us easy to let them become an annoying gimmick… Less is more, as with a lot of tech…

  5. Sue Beckingham says:

    David’s ‘Nuts and bolts’ post is a great intro to QR codes. There are so many ways you can use them but what I personally value is the ability to quickly scan and learn more without the need to type in a search query or a url. It enables you to bring to your phone useful ‘of the moment’ info quickly and easily. That said there should also be alternatives to ensure the info is accessible to all.

  6. I recently did a short presentation on using QR codes to enhance fieldwork (based on your posts and a few others like Mike Ellis). The audience seemed very keen on looking into the possibilities.

    I think what appealed was the ability to add extra layers of information to real world objects and locations without the complications of augmented reality.

    But it’s also that they’re one of these “low bar, high ceiling” technologies – very easy (and cheap!) to use but with plenty of creative potential.

    1. Oops. This was supposed to be a reply to David Hopkins’ comment, in which case the mention of “your posts” would have made a bit more sense!


      1. Thanks Chris … I worked it out!


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