Make a Meme

Make a Meme

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This Make was created by Kim Jaxon, Jarret Krone, and Peter Kittle, Northern California Writing Project



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For Make Cycle #2 of CLMOOC 2014, we are exploring memes.

So what’s a meme? Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who coined the term, defined a meme as a bit of culture that gets propagated. It’s basically culture’s version of what genes are to biology. Conceptually, then, anything that spreads and evolves widely in a culture is a meme; in the 60s, the peace sign was a meme; fashion trends are memes; popular quotes from movies are memes. When most people think of memes, a specific kind of captioned image, like the well-known LOLcats and their canine counterparts, the Fail Dog, come to mind. In common internet parlance, “meme” refers to those viral images and videos that spread like wildfire through social media spaces.

There are hundreds of different image-based memes floating around, and they seem at first glance to be quite simple. These memes actually convey a lot of information in a very compressed form, and often require lots of inference to understand. Someone who had seen neither Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory nor The Princess Bride would likely be baffled by a meme like the meme pictured here.

What’s interesting to us about these kinds of memes is that they have become a kind of shorthand for certain ideas, while also having really specific genre requirements. For instance, the Gene Wilder image above, without any text added, could be interpreted in any number of ways. He looks happy enough. But within the meme-making community of practice, this specific image of Willy Wonka has been given only two possible emotional reads: either condescending or creepy. It’s condescending Wonka in the meme above, obviously. We’ll let you investigate, if you want, the creepy side of the Wonka meme, but we mention it because not all memes are going to be school-appropriate, and knowing your meme is always a good idea.




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11 Examples Completed for this Make

  1. Library Meme- Don’t reshelve the books
       submitted by Charlie @cjgberg

    I mixed a visual character from the Matrix film series to create a poster advising students not to re-shelve books

  2. FAIL meme
       submitted by Mary Morgan Ryan

    I imported the image into Keynote, and researched to find that the popular meme font is Impact. I couldn’t figure out how to get the black outline on the font in Keynote, but I found others who were trying to do it too on this Apple forum discussion: https://discussions.apple.com/message/7030026 and came up with a reasonable replica of the popular font. I exported the image to a .jpg and resized it to 403×403 and voila! A meme customized to my needs!

  3. Memes, Contexts, Connected Learning
       submitted by Shyam Sharma and Maha Bali via Edcontexts

    A blog post with lots of memes in it, about the contexts of memes. A collaborative post written by two #clmooc participants after they exchanged several blog posts and memes via twitter.

  4. Animal Contexts
       submitted by Maha Bali

    A graphic that shows how different animals have different connotations or represent different symbols depending on context, inspired by Shyam’s blogpost and mine (I will enter mine to the bank as well)

  5. Cows, owls, dogs and cultural context matters
       submitted by Maha Bali

    This is a blogpost reflecting on the cultural contexts of animals as part of the meme theme (hey, it rhymes) inspired by Shyam’s blogpost which talks about owls

  6. Memes I Made at the MOOC
       submitted by Jennifer Denslow

    I've collected (and will continue to collect) the memes I've made during Make Cycle #2 in one spot. One column includes the mooc/edtech related memes; the other memes on other topics.

  7. Candle to Ignorance
       submitted by Rachel Wood

    A warm and fuzzy meme for the sciences featuring my then seven year old daughter experimenting in a lab at the UT Health Science Center in Dallas.

  8. Living in a Hobbit House
       submitted by Carol Hartmann

    Carol Hartmann #clmooc meme: I live in an earth-bermed house. When we moved our family into the house, the roof was heavily thatched, the garden largely overgrown, and the yard full of critters. Here are my memes inspired by my search to learn more about my earth-bermed house. My creativity was inspired by my significant interest in reading both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy as a teen, a college student, and as an adult. I also love the movie adaptations.

  9. #teachread Takes on YA Literature
       submitted by Anna Smith

    A while ago, a group in my grad class on teaching reading in secondary school decided to summarize their opinions about Young Adult Literature (and to demonstrate their abilities to read and write in contemporary, digital ways) by using a series of memes.

  10. Fireworks
       submitted by Dustye Muse

    This is a meme that pokes fun at students’ perpetual concern about the value of assignments being linked with grades.

  11. Take blue pill to delay CCSS
       submitted by Valerie Burton

    This meme was created as I revamp my curriculum and wonder about the direction of CCSS.

1 Tutorial Created for this Make

  1. Make a meme with us! #clmooc
       submitted by Kim Jaxon, Jarret Krone, and Peter Kittle, Northern California Writing Project

    A wealth of information and examples about making memes from the CLMOOC 2014 Make Cycle #2 team

Creative Commons License
This work by Kim Jaxon, Jarret Krone, and Peter Kittle, Northern California Writing Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.