Barbara Erretto Capstone Story

QR Codes Take Students to Far Away Places

Barbara Erretto
Diocese of St. Augustine

The Mission of Nombre de Dios, located in the heart of St. Augustine, Florida, home to America’s Oldest City and the Catholic Church’s first parish, was the site where students from Cathedral Parish students connected the origins of the Catholic Church with Pentecost. This activity is suitable for students aged 12 to 16.

Catechists chose 10 stations in the parish, designed the “QR” codes, and researched the distant learning websites. When students arrived the morning of the activity, they came with their smartphone and a “QR” reader app already loaded.

Maps and a starting point were determined for each team of four students. Once teams were complete, they began their adventure. When they arrived at each station, they read the poster that included a QR code.

A QR Code is a matrix barcode readable by Smartphones and mobile phones with cameras. Students scanned the code that connected them with a site in another part of our universal church. All team members worked together to answer the given questions, then took a picture of their team in front of the station. The answers and picture were then texted to the designated number. The catechist designed a private wiki website to post all answers and pictures from the activity.

Students learned about the history of the Nombre de Dios Mission and Our Lady of La Leche Chapel. They learned how artifacts in St. Augustine connected them to other parts of the world and the universal Church. This enabled students to understand how Catholicism is universal. For example at Nombre de Dios Mission there is a Great Cross that marks the spot where Pedro Menendez de Aviles placed a small wooden cross in Florida’s soil when he found the Mission four hundred years earlier.

This is a fun learning activity for students old enough to have their own smart phone, and who will appreciate the history of their local parish and diocese.