Subway Supermarket

21 July 2011 1,669 views No Comment

A supermarket chain in South Korea has come up with a way to allow commuters to do their shopping while they wait for the subway. They hung life size banners along subway walls that recreate supermarket aisles and included QR codes for each item on the virtual shelves that when scanned add the item to the shopper’s online cart. When customers check out, the order is placed via the supermarket’s website and then delivered to the customer’s home later that day.

This is brilliant – not only does it improve the shopping experience for shoppers, both by bringing the store to them and by allowing them to shop during what would normally be dead time, it does so in a way that is also beneficial to the supermarket because it is much cheaper to hang some posters in ad space in a subway than to build new stores. I do have a few questions, such as what happens when the train comes and you’re in the middle of an order? Can you continue at another stop? At an actual store? How many abandoned orders will their site have now? But these are unimportant details.

This is exactly the kind of technological innovation we need in education – can libraries use this model to “expand” when there is limited physical space, and add new “books” without building new shelves? Perhaps library patrons could browse or even check out ebooks simply by scanning QR codes printed on pictures of books, or even book titles. When I was a kid we had one wall in school that was lined with photos of all the presidents (eventually the hallway ended, so to this day students don’t know there have been any new presidents since Ronald Reagan….. 🙂 ). What if each photo had a QR code that when scanned opened a webpage with info about that president, perhaps a video of that president talking to the student about their lives?

What about science posters such as this table of the elements that takes this science lab staple to the next level? English books that link to essays and quizzes about the book? Lunch room menus that link to info about the food being served so students can learn about nutrition? Most kids are walking around school anyway with cell phones, many with smartphones that already have QR readers – how else can we turn these into tools of learning? What ideas do you have to add? Let me know via Twitter Reply to @edtechtoday with the hashtag #bbl-gbl

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