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  • Tausif Mulla

Using Memes in the Classroom as a Teaching Methodology

When it comes to teaching, there are a million different ways to do it. Some people swear by traditional methods, while others always look for new and innovative ways to engage their students. And then there are those like me who think outside the box and use memes to teach in the classroom.

That’s right, memes.

Educators using memes

In recent years, memes have become a popular way to communicate online. They are often used to share feelings or ideas in a humorous way. The content that is shared online is always changing. This is due to the creativity of users who remix, parody or caption popular images or videos to create memes. Even though memes may seem basic, they are actually quite sophisticated from a linguistic point of view. They are able to express and share ideas and opinions.


But could they also be used as teaching tools?


I believe so. The use of memes can help students engage with the material in a fun and creative manner. For example, memes can provide students with a better understanding of math concepts or make historical events more relatable with the help of a meme. Because of their popularity, memes have even found their way into the classroom as a teaching methodology. In this article, I will explain why educators should use memes in the classroom.


Origins of memes

Memes have their origins in the world of academia. The term 'meme' was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. A meme is defined as "a unit of cultural transmission or imitation." The word comes from the Greek 'mimema', meaning imitated. In other words, a meme is typically an image or video with text superimposed over it. The text usually contains some sort of clever pun or play on words. Memes are often designed to be funny, but they can also be used to communicate serious messages.


The rise of the memes

The rise of the meme has been meteoric, to say the least. In just a few short years, memes have gone from being an underground internet phenomenon to a mainstream form of communication. This is due in part to the widespread adoption of social media platforms like Meta (Facebook), Instagram, and Twitter, which have made sharing memes incredibly easy. The earliest meme on the internet was the sideways 'smiley' :-). The practice of using tone of voice marks to show emotion spread quickly and subsequently other icons, such as :-( and ;-) were added. The first appearance on the web of a digital viral message is the Henny Lopez meme - rows of dancing hamsters GIFs - by an artist in 1998.


3 ways memes can be used as a teaching methodology

It is possible to do it in a number of different ways. One of their advantages is that they can be used to help students grasp concepts that may otherwise be challenging to grasp. As an example, I use memes while supervising students for dissertations. Here's an article I wrote explaining the history of philosophy through memes.

  1. The meme is a great way to convey a complicated concept in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. In addition, learners are more likely to pay attention to it and actually learn something since it's funny as well.

  2. Another way to use memes in the classroom is to get your students thinking critically about the world around them. There are tons of scientific and social memes out there that can start some great discussions in your classroom.

  3. Finally, memes can also be used as a way to assess your student's understanding of a concept.

Here are some of the examples of memes that I have used in the class


Using memes for teaching

Meme as teaching methodology


meme in classroom

6 benefits of using memes in the classroom

  1. Memes can be used to introduce a topic in a fun and engaging way.

  2. Memes can help students to better remember information.

  3. Memes can be used to review or recap a lesson.

  4. Memes can be used to encourage creativity and critical thinking.

  5. Memes can be used to promote student collaboration.

  6. Memes can be used to assess student understanding.

Challenges of using memes in the classroom

  1. When it comes to using memes in the classroom as a teaching methodology, educators could face a number of challenges.

  2. Time-consuming: Creating memes can be time-consuming, and teachers may not have the time to create them. Inappropriate content: Some memes can be crass, offensive, or simply not appropriate for the classroom setting.

  3. Lack of control: Once a meme is created, it can be difficult for teachers to control how it is used and shared. Limited appeal: Not all students will find memes appealing or interesting.

Conclusion

Memes can be a fun and engaging way to teach students in the classroom. By using memes, students can learn new information while also enjoying a laugh. Additionally, memes can help students to remember information more effectively. When used in the classroom, memes can be a powerful teaching tool.

Critics of using memes in the classroom argue that they can be distracting and that not all students will understand them. They also worry that using memes could make some topics seem too casual. However, proponents of using memes argue that they can be valuable teaching tools when used sparingly and thoughtfully. So far, there is no research on the effectiveness of using memes in the classroom.

In conclusion, using memes as a teaching methodology can be beneficial for students. Memes can help students to better understand and remember information, and they can also be used to assess student understanding. However, it is important to use memes in a way that is respectful of students’ cultures and experiences.