Witcoin: The New Meme Economy

Stress is the color of school. I see it everywhere. In students desperate for sleep, students craving caffeine, students crying, students daydreaming of something better, students wondering “what will my future hold?”

It’s heady stuff. It’s heavy stuff.

But life isn’t all tragedy, there’s comedy too. Thank god.

But comedy is too often neglected. Too often it’s just a class clown’s shining moment. Too often it’s just a fun project after AP finals. Too often it’s seen as a distraction rather than a learning opportunity but that’s exactly what comedy is: applied learning. It is impossible to find something funny without thinking, and it is impossible to be funny rather than mean without understanding the nature and culture of what you are laughing about.

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In science we learn more from saying “huh… that’s funny” than from saying eureka. –Adam Savage MythBusters

Now… unless you know something about Hamlet, you just don’t get that joke. And yet I’ve never seen a teacher use comedy as a check for understanding. What a missed opportunity.

Like bitcoin. My son told me years ago to buy some and I thought he was crazy, but I think there is a new idea we should buy into.  We need a change in the economy of learning. It’s time for Witcoin, the new meme economy.

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Wow look at that growth potential. Invest! Invest!

Now for those of you who are shaky on what a meme is, let’s revisit this refresher.

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Let’s see one in action:

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Now there’s a lot to unpack in the image above

  • You have to understand the science of the chemical reaction
  • Memes are often lowbrow so we won’t get caught up in it being the wrong type of coke
  • You have to understand what it takes to get a girlfriend angry
  • You have to understand that guys just want that anger to go away without addressing the problem and going ahead and saying that out-loud might not be the best course of action. It’s a move that unaware of the consequences of the potential reaction.

 

Okay so you get memes. They are funny. Sometimes. But what does this have to do with teaching and learning? That’s where Witcoin comes in.

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So here’s how it works.

  1. Find some appropriate memes. Check the site Know Your Meme if you are clueless, but do NOT use that site with your class unless you are in college.
  2. Then find or create some blanks for those memes.
  3. Then have students create original memes combining whatever you are learning in class with the meme format you have provided.
  4. I use a Google Slide Deck with the blanks and then have students copy the blanks onto their own group Slide Deck and then create the slides and share them with the class.

 

Let’s take a look: these are all created by my college-prep 10th grade students.

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Could you use memes in other subjects?

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Maybe art history?

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Maybe math?

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What I LOVE about this activity is it changes based on both the subject material and the memes you choose. I also LOVE that this is a language that students feel comfortable with, it’s relevant to their lives and it’s FUN. That’s right you heard me FUN! And boy won’t it feel good to jump in on the ground floor of this new economy?

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Here are the two promised Google Slides that have blank templates for memes.

Okay, that’s enough for today, if I write too much on this site Sam Patterson gets mad at me.

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PS: Thank you reddit! May all your posts have more than one upvote. I will post more examples below as my students create them. I’m on the lookout for memes used in STEM subjects and PE.

 

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