QR Codes are those square pixelly things you see on a lot of marketing material. With the right software you can scan them using the camera of your phone. You might already use them quite a bit. They used to be a bit faffy to use because you needed to find an app blah blah blah. Now in iOS Apple devices they just work straight out of the camera. In this post I’m going to suggest some ways they can be really useful for outdoor staff and centres.
It is really easy to create and download your own using online QR Code Generators. There are loads of free ones available accessible from a quick Google search. I created the one above using goqr.me. Try it now if you can.
Using a generator you can create a scanable QR Code that can then be easily downloaded as a JPEG or PNG file and inserted like any picture into a document or whatever else you can creatively think up.
Here are some suggestions I have that are specific for outdoor staff and centres.
1 – Quick sharing of contact details
Create contact details QR Code for key details you regularly share. Examples would include your contact info and/or the Duty Manager Phone. You could then include the QR Codes in a document/card you laminated and keep in the top of your pack. If you are working with someone new who needs your contact details and/or the Duty Manager’s in their phone you can just whip the card out and they can scan it. Takes literally a second for each one and it also eliminates any spelling/data entry errors
QR Codes with important information like Duty Manager numbers can also be included where the information is posted on notice boards etc. Just add an instructional note like ‘try scanning with your phone camera’. Its a faster, simpler and less error prone way to share this info.
Importantly using a QR Code to share contact info or text does not require a data/internet connection.
2 – Quick linking to qualification scans folder
I now include a QR Code on my CV that links to a Dropbox folder that I put digital copies of all my qualifications in and keep updated. In many organisations CV’s form a key part of the safety management system. Centres will keep a hard copy on file. Having a QR Code on there linking to certificates allows them to easily view up to date copies and keep their records accurate as easily as possible. Easy is good for everyone.
I have an A5 laminated card that has not just my contact details with corresponding QR Code for easy sharing but also on the back QR Codes that link to my CV, Qualifications folder and a couple of other files in Dropbox with information I sometimes need at centres to complete the endless HR forms that seem to be required nowadays. I also have the info on my phone if I need it but using the card I could even pull it off Dropbox using someone elses phone if mine was unavailable (e.g. in the car). I’ve used this a couple of times now.
3 – Wifi access sharing
QR Codes make joining wifi networks super easy on devices that have the functionality. Putting a QR Code up on the staff room notice board and any other locations where it would be useful (and secure of course) allows people to log on super quickly and accurately.
4 – Linking to online compliance forms
There are many instances where outdoor staff need to access online forms on their smart phones to fullfill compliance needs for organisations. On Thursday I used one for end of programme vehicle checks. A QR Code in the same place as the the info on the notice board or on the vehicles documentation would have been really handy.
QR Codes can be created to link to the correct form and then used on either vehicle documentation or notice boards to facilitate fast, accurate access for staff
5 – Visitor information around a centre
The key functionality that makes QR Codes so useful is the ability to create an image that ‘does’ something when viewed on a smart device. These images can be easily printed and placed where the information is needed. With a bit of ingenuity and creativity some really interesting ‘things’ could be done.
Linking to an online video with a member of staff explaining what it is that is in front of them. It would be super easy to create an interactive nature trail
Staff room resources like activity kit lists or venue details in Dropbox (would be easy to do off a wall map). I’d love you to hear and share any ideas you have in the comments below.
So to summarise QR Codes are free to create and easy to print/share. They can be simple contact details, vCard details, 300 characters of text, web links, email links, they can create sms messages and events, share a geolocation or log you into a wifi. All this functionality is normally included as part of the native camera app on most mobile devices.