QR codes for Attendance and a Digital Hall Pass

There have been a lot of incredible ideas that have come from the staff of the DDSB. It has been a privilege to be a Tech Coach and work with staff and witness the creativity. Every once and a while there pops up an idea that could be revolutionary, but financial or environmental limitations make the implementation of that idea nearly impossible. When that happens most of us look for a less involved/free workaround that will accomplish the same goals. Now it usually isn’t as fancy as the original idea, but it gets the job done and that’s where I have landed with using QR codes for Attendance. 

RFID attendance

In a perfect world, we could use our own PowerTeacher system to work with an integrated RFID access system. I have worked with the Ministry of Labour in Ontario during my University days and it was second nature to access the building and all of its rooms with my RFID badge. Of course, there were areas that I did not have access to and my badge would not permit me entrance. It could be the same inside the schools, more specifically secondary. I imagined a scenario where I come to school carrying two hands worth of supplies for a class I’m teaching today and get my hip up to the RFID reader to unlock the door without putting my stuff down. I’d only have to get my hip within 20 cm of the reader to make it work (so I may look like I’m doing a little dance and the door mysteriously unlocks). The same thing happens when I get up to my office/class door. Now, I don’t teach art, so my badge doesn’t have to allow me access to the art rooms if it has been programmed in that way. Also, I may be a little forgetful and leave my badge at my daughter’s swim lessons venue and now it’s lost. I immediately report it to my school via email and my badge instantly becomes deactivated and no longer has access to the building. Then, I get a replacement badge the following day (programming the cards takes less than 5 min). Students ID cards would double as their keys to enter and they could be programmed to give them access to the building, their classes and common areas throughout the school. Attendance would happen the moment they scan in at the classroom door and automatically be logged into the system. The system would also be able to say who was the last person to access an area in case of emergency.


RFID systems may not be financially feasible for schools that are already built due to certain building requirements, but using QR codes could bring a similar experience that is free and requires no renovations of any kind. It is not going to provide an on par experience with RFID but it may be a fun alternative and here’s how it will work (I will provide links to detailed instructions on how to create everything you need):

  1. Using a Google Sheet and a Google Form you will create an attendance/hall pass system. The spreadsheet will be used to store your class roster and QR codes, while the Form will be how the students register their in/outs of the class.
  2. The actual workflow can proceed with different modes such as:
    • Having the QR codes for each student saved on the teacher’s computer and the students scan them whenever they enter/leave the class using their mobile devices.
    • Having the QR codes sent to each student and saved on their mobile device and scanning their codes using a tablet/teacher’s computer whenever they enter/leave the class.
    • Having the QR codes printed and attached to the students’ ID cards and scanning them on a tablet/teacher’s computer whenever they enter/leave the class.

I personally think option A would be the most productive for this system to work

So now what happens once you have created the QR codes, spreadsheet, and forms? The students sign in at the start of class which will log a time-stamped entry that is stored in a spreadsheet. That student then has to go to the bathroom and signs out by scanning their QR code and choosing an out option such as the bathroom. They return to class and scan back in selecting the return to class option both of which are time stamped. I now have a digital record of that student’s comings and goings for the entire semester. You can then use the spreadsheet to do further analysis of your data and look at the average time in/out for each student for a month. You could determine the amount of class time lost by each student due to their in/outs.

If you have any interest in doing this in your classroom feel free to access my instructional information below or email me and I can help with setup.


Instruction Sheet: QR Codes

Email me: Bejay.Prosser@ddsb.ca

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