A conversation -- a meme -- a quote -- they often have power and meaning. What fuels that power, and how can we, as educators and writers, fuel the power in our writing to lead education forward?
Connected Learning principles engaged in classrooms personalize learning and offer a path to opportunities that now in these economic times seem distant and unattainable. But with the resources available through technology our students can follow their interest and dreams and create a future for themselves.
So, how do we fuel our words to spread the word?
Just an Idea
Another Kristine Konruff post reminds us that memes are just ideas. They are ideas that are spread by us. She quotes Dr. Who,
"A Repeated Meme is just an idea. And that's all they are, an idea.”
It's up to us to spark the ideas that encourage others to join us in the Connected Learning journey.
In five years, will students ask:
So how do we carry these ideas into our classrooms? I discovered several ideas.
First of all Mary Morgan Ryan created a version of FAIL for her primary library, choosing a dog image that students to which students can relate. That's shows how we use our Makes for our audience and purpose, and this one helps us all remember that as learners, we do fail at first. This is a way to engage students in supporting them, and they in turn could create their own posters for classrooms, library, hall, lunchroom, etc.
I've looked all over for the writing goals meme about using "active voice." I could not find it anywhere, but teacher and student creations of memes that symbolize elements of good writing is another idea. It would be a way to focus students on their own goals -- and place the meme in their reflection of their writing. Thank you to whoever wrote that one. If I find you, I'll add you here.
Lisa Jenkins suggests that "students create totally original memes based off what they find in current events news. They could use pictures they find, or create their own (mimicry or otherwise), add music, voice over, etc."
This is something we discussed in this week's twitter chat -- that these memes could be a formative assessment of how kids synthesize the key issues of the concepts studied. They can very much be deeper learning through critical thinking. Of course, it's not just the making of the memes, but also the conversations about them -- how did the idea evolve? how does it fit? how did the audience receive it? how do the image / text relate?
I would start with peer-support, a project that is individual and collaborative. Each person could create a meme that includes a slogan that fits their personality. Perhaps it could be a song lyric, a line of poetry, or a phrase that summarizes how they are now. [We could repeat throughout the year and discuss changes]. Then teams could decide how to organize and share their creations.
How will you start your year next year? Thanks to Lisa and Mary, I've got a start.
Meme Service Announcements
Learn to be secure in your own self.
In our twitter chat, we also shared those memes that carried supportive messages, messages that help people get help, or support them to help themselves. serious
Molly Robbins created the serious image of a person struggling against outside influences. And Beth O’Connor created a meme we all understand: we are more than pieces of data. We are more: and Michelle Stein's elegant post about introverts remind us to pause in our efforts, to be more gentle with those lurking and learning because their needs and their ideas add to the value of our communities in the classroom. As teachers, our task is diverse: encouraging all learners and their needs; it's what most people do not understand about teaching -- we guide all learners who are all so unique.
Inspired by these #clmooc -ers, I considered my classroom; I thought about public service announcements. The image about by Luis Valdares inspired me to add the caption, "Learn to be secure in your own self." Students can create anti-bullying, personal safety, depression, suicide, environmental images that help people, animals, etc., a kind of "MSA- Meme Service Announcement."
In designing serious memes, we help students develop conscientiousness, which is a key component of "deeper learning." Connected learning is deeper learning.
By creating personality memes, current event memes, or MSA's, and with discussion and display, students build a community of learners who care about their world. That's what Jennifer Denslow tweeted in the chat, and she is correct: the peer-supported community of learners is the focus point in engaging students and their learning. Be sure to catch her LiveBinder in which she adds memes for use in classrooms with students.
So how will you bring this into your classroom and out into the world as activists for Connected Learning?
Around the World
Finally, but most importantly, I thank Shyam Sharma and Maha Bali for sharing with us a global perspective and expanding our understanding through their blog posts on "Context Matters." Even in our classrooms, context matters. When we write to our audiences, context matters. And as we connect around the world, how we prepare our students carefully before those connections must include context. It matters.
It's been a great week, and I thank everyone for sharing so that we all may learn together.
Remember, we will make mistakes and fail; be patent with each other. And begin to fuel your power and your student's power with the ideas we carry and converse to create together.