The Warrior

A meme-ingful way to get the class engaged

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Mr. Flygt, a music teacher, proudly posing next to his creative memes.

Mr. Flygt, a music teacher, proudly posing next to his creative memes.

Photo by Nina Vo

Photo by Nina Vo

Mr. Flygt, a music teacher, proudly posing next to his creative memes.

By Nina Vo, Reporter

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The Internet has evolved to become a fast-paced way of life. But it hasn’t always been that way.

Ms. Smit, a physics teacher, describes her experience with the internet growing up.

“The internet has changed a lot since I grew up. I actually was in late elementary school, 5th/6th grade, when the internet was still dial-ups,” Smit said. “So it was before the totally accessible internet that everyone has right now. We had to wait minutes for pages to load.”

Now, as the Internet becomes a vital part of everyday life, certain media content has gained more popularity. Memes, in particular, have caught the attention of many.

According to Oxford Dictionary, a meme is an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation.

Due to the current Internet culture today, memes have acquired more prominence in social media, according to Glocal Notes. They have also become more prominent in classrooms.

Memes have pervaded Lane Tech classrooms and become a way for teachers to relate to their students.

“I use it to try and stay connected to the kids in my teaching,” Smit said.

Along with building a bridge between student and teacher, they have also become useful tools in alleviating the stress that comes with learning new course material.

“A meme is a picture joke,” Smit said. “I’ve always liked to stay lighthearted as much as we can especially when I was teaching AP Physics last year; it’s a really intense class. It’s just a way to have a laugh, a little release of tension.”

Mr. Bratton, a new astronomy/physics teacher at Lane, gives extra credit to students who make their own memes relating to class material. He believes that students relate to information and material in different ways.

“Science could maybe lack in that at times,” Bratton said. “It just offers a venue for students that maybe are more artistic, and they want to express themselves more artistically or creatively.”

Memes can be a fun way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic, according to Channel One News. Although teachers don’t scrap the lesson plan altogether, they do serve as an addition to the lesson plan.

“It also helps me to identify the misconceptions or misunderstandings within the material,” Bratton said. “So it’s just a different way for me to check in with my students as well.”

In computer science with Ms. Langchung, memes serve as a source of motivation. She uses a special meme to encourage her students.

“When kids are struggling, I was just like ‘improvise, adapt, and overcome your problems because that’s what computer coding is about,’” Langchung said.

Along with the good, comes the bad. Although memes serve a good purpose, teachers also recognize that there are bad ones circulating the web.

“So are there offensive ones? Absolutely,” Bratton said. “There are offensive ones related to academia. There’s offensive ones related to social media. There’s also some good ones out there that catch your eye and you’re like ‘This is pretty funny. This is really useful.’”

Smit admits that there are memes she doesn’t one hundred percent understand. She tries to avoid the negativity altogether.

“A lot of the negativity or the bad memes I don’t really come across,” Smit said. “I definitely don’t go searching for them. So I would definitely say I’ve seen more positive and just like punny memes than bad ones.”

Like Smit, Langchung acknowledges that sometimes she has a hard time deciphering the meaning of memes.

“I don’t want to put it up there and offend some kids. I try to look through it, trying to see what it’s about,” Langchung said. “Sometimes I don’t know it, so that’s why I try to stick with the memes that only relate to classes or any activities that we’re doing.

Memes aren’t only a fad for the current generation of teenagers. Teachers also enjoy them outside of the classroom.

“Among my friends and my family, we will write comments out to each other and share them on their wall. It’s just a way to stay connected and to have a little laugh,” Smit said.

The walls of the halls and classrooms are adorned with memes. In the band room, marching band teacher Mr. Flygt hangs up memes featuring himself which kids get a kick out of. By staircase Z, there is a Kanye meme out side of classroom 233 that encourages students to put their IDs on.

Memes have taken the internet by storm and they have also made a grand entrance at Lane Tech. Not only do they draw out laughter, but they enhance the school environment and learning experience for students and teachers as well.

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A meme-ingful way to get the class engaged