Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tuesday Tech Tip: Know What I Meme?

If you aren't sure what a meme is, we are pretty certain you have seen one somewhere on social media.  A meme (pronounced "meem") is defined by as "a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way."  Memes can be many things and generally terms like valuable and educational are not very high on that list.  We're hoping this blog post will change that.

The Cherry Creek Department of Instructional Technology attended a Project Based Learning workshop not long ago and experienced memes used in a whole new way.  During one task we were asked to summarize and share our learning in a meme.  It was simple.  It was fun.  And it was also meaningful.

It's not breaking news when we say that not all memes have educational value, but they sure can be funny.  Here are a few examples:

Teacher-Created Meme Possibilities

Some of the ways in which teachers can create purposeful memes may include (but definitely aren't limited to):
  • A creative way to post classroom rules, expectations, and norms.
  • Using a meme as a hook for a new unit.
  • Creating a fill in the blank or sentence starter themed meme.  The teacher begins the idea and the students complete it.
Student-Created Meme Possibilities

Keep memes in mind as a way for students to interact, share, synthesize, and reflect about learning.  Memes can definitely have value while also being creative, engaging, and fun!  There are analog and digital ways for students to interact with each other's memes as well.
  • Print the memes out, place them around a learning space, and allow students to give each other feedback via sticky notes.
  • Post the memes into a discussion in Schoology and allow the students to provide online feedback to each other.
As far as the best place to make memes, there are way too many to list here.  One option is Google Documents and/or Google Drawings if you would prefer to keep things more private.  For a more public (and perhaps more efficient) stage, perform a quick Google search for meme generators and see which one you like best.  Please keep in mind that terms of service, safety, and appropriateness are huge priorities so it is essential if an online source will be used by the students that it be previewed and approved by the teacher.

We're excited about the possibilities memes create in a classroom environment and are also excited for you and/or your students to try something new.  If you run across great resources or want to share your classroom experience with memes please post a comment below, tweet about your meme journey (including the hashtag #CCSDTech in your tweet(s)), or talk to your building's Technology and Learning Coaches.  Thanks, please let us know how we can help you, and have fun!

***A special thank you to Kris Edwards who co-authored this post with me.

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