Sunday, March 4, 2012

Memes in the Classroom

 WIKIPEDIA defines an Internet meme as: 
an idea that is propagated through the World Wide Web. The idea may take the form of a hyperlink, video, picture, website, hashtag, or just a word or phrase. The meme may spread from person to person via social networks, blogs, direct email, news sources, or other web-based services. An Internet meme may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, parody, or by incorporating news accounts about itself. Internet memes can evolve and spread extremely rapidly, sometimes reaching world-wide popularity within a few days.
In order to better prepare our students for their digital citizenship, access to and understanding of internet culture is imperative. 
Internet Memes are the sharing of popular culture. Every student with internet, cell phone, or iPad access will know which are the popular and current memes. Memes might have more place in middle or senior schools than in younger grades.  In my role as a teacher librarian and literacy leader in a middle school I can offer an introduction to memes as part of the media curriculum. Until we educate our students about the basics of meme-ing we can't expect to have discussions about ethics or social action.

MEME Basics
-define meme
-identify currently popular memes
-learn to recognize memes vs. truth (critical thinking piece)
-define the audience ("remixers, "sharers") for a particular meme
-how was this meme spread?
-why did this meme spread?
-how was the meme created (skills required)?
-how was the meme remixed?
-recognize the collaborative, modification and sharing nature of memes
-identify counter memes
-create a remix of a favourite meme or create a counter meme

Memes are engaging, motivating and relevant. I might even suggest memes be included as part of our media or technology classes. 
One issue which will continue to create discussion amoung educators is where will we access engaging and more importantly appropriate meme content.

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