Replacing the Modern Language Textbook with QR Codes: The Advantages

In another blog, I argued how textbooks can be replaced with QR codes.  I think that modern language classroom is an ideal place to replace the textbook with QR codes.

The advantages to QR code -based modern language learning:
– With QR codes, teachers can link  to a comprehensive list of vocabulary for a given topic. The teachers can indicate critical vocabulary and useful vocabulary.  Some  textbooks introduce certain fruits in one unit and, then, more fruit in another unit.  Many textbooks have only a partial list of vocabulary for a topic even when it is the only unit for that topical vocabulary.  Many textbooks do not include verbs, adjectives, and typical sentences when they present the  noun vocabulary list  for a topic. The teachers may link to various language apps that not only illustrate the word but show it in English and the target language.
– With QR codes, foreign language  teachers can link to videos that  introduce and review grammar  in diverse ways.  The educators can have QR codes that link to different types of online grammar practice.  The educators are not limited by the textbook’s manner of presenting or reviewing grammar.
– With QR codes, modern language  teachers can link to audio or video files of native speakers who are talking about important topics.  Either the teachers or the students can record the native speakers as they talk about such things as family, eating, weekends. These conversations are authentic conversations, not ones designed to teach a particular grammar point.  Likewise the teachers can link to radio or TV shows from the target area.
– With QR codes, foreign language teachers can link to current or past cultural events in the target language country.  Students can learn about the culture as it happens as opposed to waiting for the textbook to possibly cover it in a future unit. The teachers can use QR codes to show what is happening at this very moment in the target language country.
– With QR codes, the modern language teachers can link to  pictures or videos that serve as speaking prompts or the basis for a conversation.  These same pictures or videos can serve as writing prompts.  The teachers select  target language cultural pictures.  For example, students look at a family having a  Sunday picnic in Tijuana, México.
– With QR codes, the foreign language teachers can link to quick formative assessments that students take in just a few minutes to demonstrate their achievement of some learning goal.
– With QR codes, modern language teachers can link to target language reading such as  the news,  magazine articles, and  literature.  They can have the students read authentic materials.  Students can select which aspect of the news they want to read about  such as  sports, TV, politics, and food.

Why not try a mini-QR code lesson  to see how engaged in the target language the students become?

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (25+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask their  partners a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: I have a series of modern language visual stories (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students.  These can use in any language since there are just visuals, no words.

My book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and my book, Formative Assessment, Responding to Students, are available at

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