3 Ways to Use QR Codes to Make Word Walls Accessible to ALL Students #UDL

Word Walls are a great instructional tool for having students see and potentially use vocabulary terms for a chapter, unit, or school year. They are used across both elementary and secondary classrooms across the globe. Unfortunately this helpful tool can become more of a barrier than a point of access because of its design.

If students just see a word on a note card or poster, then how can they understand it or use it? What if the student is unfamiliar with the language, pronunciation, or definition? What if students cannot see or read the term? Today I want to focus on ways to make Word Walls more assessable for students of ALL ability levels.

What is a QR Code? 

If you are not familiar with a QR code, it is an electronic symbol when scanned (with a QR reader) will visit a specific URL. Anything with a URL can be accessed. This means video clips, audio clips, websites, etc. are all available. To get started, all you need is a web address (aka URL) and a free URL generator like QR Code Generator or QR Stuff, where you can customize the color of your code!

What if students could walk into your classroom, see the vocabulary term and a QR code next to it? What if students could use a classroom mobile device like an old iPod touch, a tablet, or their own mobile device?

What if you don't have technology available in your classroom? What if gave students a printed document with the word and a QR code next to it? What could you do? QR codes allow you to build scaffolds and supports to help students understand vocabulary terms. How you use QR codes all begins with thinking about the high-probability barriers that exist in your classroom and how to overcome them.Here are some ideas:

Check out the text by scanning this QR code!
1. A Text Definition? 

Barrier: Students cannot remember the definitions of terms

If you use QR Code Generator, you have the option of typing actual text. You could have students type their own definition and examples of the term on QR C
ode Generator, then generate a QR code. You could place that QR code next to the term. Now students have the ability to revisit the definition if needed.

2. Audio Options? 

Barrier: Students cannot pronounce the terms or remember the definition

For instance, you could have each of your students record a 10 - 15 second audio snippet of the word and definition using Vocaroo. There is no sign up needed. Just click record and publish when you are finished. It will even generate a QR code for you automatically.

NOTE: Vocaroo is a temporary option because recordings will be deleted after several months; however, this may not be a bad option if you are using a Word Wall for a chapter or unit.

3. What about Visual Options? 

Barrier: Students need to see a visual of the word in use

Not every student can visualize or have the background knowledge to understand the meaning of a word in their head. To overcome this barrier, you could have your students create short video clips using their tablet, use their webcam and MoveNote, or utilize YouTube clips. Google images are great ways of giving students background knowledge. When you right-click on a picture, you can copy the URL address of your picture. Take your URL and make a QR code for students to understand the term.


As new information enters our student's brains, we need to find ways to stimulate their brains and represent concepts differently. This does not stimulate:

But this does:

Why? Because it provides students with another outlet to understand the meaning of the term. No matter how you use QR codes with Word Walls, view them as a tool to connect students to learning opportunities. 

If you have a great idea, I would like to hear about it! Please share your ideas with me through social media or making a comment on this post. I am by no means an expert and would love to learn from you!


  1. Students could use a webcam to record the audio on YouTube. Great ideas can't wait to share!

  2. Should be ACCESSIBLE in your title. I hate it when teachers spell things wrong.

  3. Using sketch.io to create word doodles and connecting to a QR Code could be cool...wonder if that would work. Hmmmm...


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