Digital Hall Passes using QR Codes

Monitoring student activity in and out of the classroom may become extremely taxing using a traditional pencil/paper sign-out sheet. The log sheets can go missing, are difficult to share, and may take up valuable classroom space. But, QR codes make it simple for students and teachers to use technology to log student activity.

Why QR Codes?

By linking a Google Form to a pre-filled QR code, students may scan the correct code whenever they need to leave the classroom. All data is then stored into a spreadsheet if it needs to be reviewed.  The information may then be sorted and shared with parents, co-teachers or administrators.

If you decide to use a QR code, then students can just scan the code and go!

Step 1: Create a Google Form.

The first thing to do is create a Google Form. Create a question for every QR code category that you would like to create. For example, you could have a code for the bathroom, nurse or principals office etc.

You could list the students names or go with a generic numbering system as seen below. If you go with a generic numbering system, you may then reuse the form each year without having to edit student names or codes.

Step 2: Create a “Student Name” Tab

If you used a numbering system in lieu of student names, then create a tab within Google Sheets listing each students name and their corresponding number. This way, you can easily reference student names when viewing the Google Form.

Step 3: Create a “Code” Tab

This tab will be used to create the QR Codes. You want to put the URL for the code in the 1st column and the name of the code you are creating in the 2nd column. For example, “Bathroom-Out” or “Nurse”.  Then, list the student names or numbers in the 2nd column.

Step 4: Copy the link for each student from Google Forms

Go into Google Forms and get the pre-filled link for each student response. In this example, I am creating QR Codes for “Bathroom-Out” and “Bathroom-In”. That way I can quickly create codes for students to scan when they leave and enter the classroom. Here is how to get the link for each student. And, also note that if you are creating a generic numbering system you will only have to do this once and not every new school year.

Step 5: Edit the link in Google Sheets

Now that we have the link, we are going to paste it into the Code tab in Google Sheets. But, we are going to edit the link and change it from “viewform” to read “formResponse”. Then we will copy the code for the remaining students. (Note: Google Forms will automatically change the code to read Student+1, Student+2 etc.)

Step 6: Add QR Code Generator Add-On

Once you have finished copy, pasting and editing the codes, you will now add the QR Code Generator Add-On for Google Sheets. This allows you to highlight the URL for the Code, along with the student names, and create a printout of all the QR codes for your students. It’s pretty simple to use. Just go to Add-Ons, select “Get Add-ons” and add the QR Code Generator.

Step 7: Test your QR Codes

You now have a QR Code for every student. Try printing and scanning a QR Code and see if it works by logging the information into your form response tab in Google Sheets. When you scan the code it should timestamp the activity and place the student name in the appropriate column.

Step 8: Distribute Codes

Determine how you’d like to distribute codes to students. Some teachers may use a binder and provide a page for each student. Other teachers use keyrings and place a code on the ring for easy access. One teacher created a laminated nameplate to go on student desks.

Step 9: Explain routine to students

You did it! Student QR Codes are ready to go and all student activity will be logged into Google Sheets. Now, explain the routine to students and you are ready to go!

Do you have a better system? I’d love to know!

21 thoughts on “Digital Hall Passes using QR Codes

  1. Melanie Caudill says:

    I would like to set this up so that students are each given a “card” with their qr codes on them and they scan the card using my document camera connected to my PC. I tried scanning one of the qr codes, but nothing showed up in the sheet. Would you have any idea what is wrong?


    • Joli Boucher says:

      Hi Melanie. Did you use the directions in my blog or do it a different way? I’ve never had “nothing” come up. I’m happy to help though 🙂


      • B Gonzales says:

        Did you ever get yours to work? When my QR codes are scanned, I’m not getting a timestamp either. I’m sure I’ve missed a tiny, important step, but I don’t know what it is.


  2. Andrea Kavalieros says:

    Hi there. Thanks so much for this wonderful step-by-step information. I’m looking forward to setting mine up. I’d like to create one for bathroom sign out/in only. Do I create two google forms, one for sign-out and one for sign-in? A little confused on that part. Thanks so much!


  3. Daisy says:

    Hello!! I want to create a qr code card for each student. Can I set a number of scan for the code? I kind of want to do like punch card where students are allowed to go out the classroom for set amount of times each six weeks. After the six weeks is over, then be able to reset it again. Is that possible? My students can’t use phones in the classroom, I would have to scan it on my phone. Thanks in advance.


  4. Claire says:

    We are wanting a QR code to sign-in/out chromebooks every day. Would you suggest making a QR code that each kid needs to scan or a QR code for each student that I scan?


    • Joli Boucher says:

      For a whole class or individual? For entire class set of Chromebooks I use Google Calendar Appointment Sheets. You could use QR Codes for students sign out. I work in a smaller sized elementary school and we have teachers sign out the cart- and students are assigned a number for the year. If there was a serious issue, admin can see who signed into the Chromebook last from admin panel.


      • Claire Phillips says:

        It’s for the individual student. We have to document that each kid signed out their chromebook and signed them back in at the end of the day. I’m just trying to go away from paper.


  5. Jamie Knesh says:

    I am trying to set this wonderful system up but I am stuck on step 4. It says here is how to get the link but I can’t find the directions of how to get the link. Can someone please help me. TY


  6. Olivia says:

    Hello! I am having the same problem where my QR codes are not registering a timestamp. I used a different QR code generator, since I am using it for 68 students. When I scan the QR, it takes me to the Google Form…should it be doing that?


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