I ran a short QR Code workshop a couple of weeks ago and thought I’d share a couple of icebreakers I used which seemed to go down well.

Icebreaker 1: Retrieve your free RSC Pencils

I split participants into pairs, primarily because I didn’t have enough phones to go round and assigned them a team name. It also got participants chatting. Beforehand, the fun bit in the office was coming up with the team names. Included for reference! :-)

Laurel and Hardy
Fred and Wilma
Tom & Jerry
Starsky and Hutch
Morecombe and Wise
Lone Ranger and Tonto
Randall and Hopkirk (non-deceased)
Marks and Spencer

Their task was to scan the QR code displayed on the data projector screen at the front of the room and follow the instructions.

Decoded, the QR Code reads “Your task, should you wish to accept, is to find the set of pencils with your team name on it”. So it very quickly gave participants the opportunity to scan in a few QR Codes and find their RSC pencils. The QR Codes encoded with their team names, along with the pencils were laid out on a table.

Icebreaker 2: Name the conferences we ran in September

The second activity was to scan QR Codes attached to the RSC Posters on the wall. I asked a question about our website and they had to visit the resource to get the answer.


I was lucky enough to be able to borrow my colleagues phones. I didn’t want to use their bandwidth so turned off the phone part and flipped on wifi. Icebreaker 1 worked well because it wasn’t using any network resources. There was an issue with a couple of the older phones getting them linked up to the hidden wireless network at the institution we were at so Icebreaker 2 was a problem for those phones – although the QR code could still be scanned and the web address stored and visited at a later date.

If participants are using their own phones in a workshop and want to install QR Code software, a site I’ve found useful is http://percentmobile.com/getqr If they go to that address on their phones it suggests and links to a few QR Code readers that will run on their phone.

If you’re using QR Codes with student it might be worth checking your WiFi network. Can your students access it? Andy Ramsden at the University of Bath recently published The level of student engagement with QR Codes: Findings from a cross institutional survey. It indicated that only 18 percent of students would be willing to access mobile learning material using their own bandwidth.