Make the Future
Summit 2022
Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Using Memes in the Classroom

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Tuesday, June 25, 1:45–2:45 pm
Location: Room 125

Sharon Serano  
Memes are usually found on social media, created to illicit a quick laugh or promote a reaction from the viewer. This presentation promotes the use of memes in the classroom as a teacher’s tool for lesson enhancement or a chance for the students to contribute to the unit.

Audience: Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Any meme creation app downloaded on their phone or internet access on other devices to a meme creation website.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Creativity and productivity tools
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Proposal Summary
Memes are usually read for a quick laugh. They are brief. They capture our attention. And they are largely used in jest. But what if folly could be used for thoughtful expression?
Memes (pronounced meemz) are pictures or illustrations, usually with a bold caption and found on social media, used to promote a reaction from the viewer. After a humorous incident with my son, I had the revelation to use memes as an educational tool with my students. Later, after the success of using memes with my classes, I began to explore other possible uses of memes in other disciplines and grade levels. This presentation will address different uses of memes in the classroom, to be used regardless of subject matter, grade level, or device. The use of memes is a lighthearted approach to convey specific topics. The creators and the viewers usually have fun utilizing their creativity and practicing responsible digital citizenship.
This presentation is geared towards beginners of this technology and anyone interested in introducing a fun wrap-up activity with their students. Creating memes is a fun and simple activity. This process is easy to replicate and share with your colleagues. Teachers, as well as students, will find the intrinsic value of creating and sharing memes as a modern form of communication and promoting humor.
Sharon Serano (presenter) is a New Jersey high school mathematics teacher with over 20 years of experience. She earned her M.Ed. in teacher leadership with an emphasis in educational technology from Rowan University. She has two videos created from her students’ submissions, “Math Meme Project 2016” and “Math Meme Project 2017,” which showcase the use of memes in her classroom and the humor of her students. These videos can be found on her YouTube channel (along with her many self-made math videos), at

Purpose and Objectives
The purpose of this workshop is to have the participants use their devices and tap into their creativity and humor (a) to create original memes, (b) use memes in the classroom to enhance their lessons, or (c) create a fun outlet for their students to apply their knowledge succinctly and humorously.
At the end of this presentation, attendees will (a) know what a meme is, (b) create memes in small groups by creatively brainstorming various memes (for use in different grade levels/subjects), (c) share the new memes with the presenter via email, and (d) view the video (created live!) using by the attendees’ submissions.
Educational or Infrastructure Challenge/situations: Creating memes is relatively low-tech. The only caveats are if the websites charge a fee for an ad-free version or if the website shows examples of other people’s memes, some of which are suited for a mature audience. Downloading apps on devices ahead of time might be the best way to avoid these embarrassing encounters.
Technology Intervention: perhaps PowToon, if attendees are unfamiliar with this program. Otherwise, I will instruct how to find meme creation apps or websites. Attendees will also use their email to send their submissions and YouTube to view the video we will create.
Models Employed: I will have several examples onhand to show how memes can be used in the classroom.
Lesson Plans: I will have several examples to show of how other teachers have used memes in the classroom as extra credit or short projects.
Evidence of Success: The evidence that I have gotten is in the form of word of mouth from previous attendees of this workshop (given at a few EdCamps), the use of memes from colleagues in their own classes with their own spin, and the blog posts and articles written that have cited my article as a resource.


Content/Activities and Time
a. Watch Math Meme Project 2017 video as an introduction as people are walking in. (10 min)
Please note: Video introduction may be the Math Meme Project 2019 video, to be published in March 2019.
b. Lecture using Google Slides presentation to show the process of how the idea of using memes in the classroom started and evolved into sharing this worldwide via my ISTE article and the Math Meme Project 2016 and Math Meme Project 2017 videos. (20 min)
c. Allow for brainstorming with the group for additional ideas of how to use memes in the classroom (write on Google Docs and show to group for inspiration). (5 min)
d. Have attendees work in pairs to create five “good” memes together. Send memes to my email ( Types of memes to be submitted: (1) for use in your classroom, (2) for use in an elementary classroom, (3) for use in a secondary classroom, (4) for use in a faculty meeting, and (5) make one meme, any topic, just for fun. (20 min)
e. While attendees are submitting their submissions to the presenter’s email, the presenter will compile a video together with their submissions (using PowToon) and we will watch our video together on this program. Video will then be uploaded to the presenter’s YouTube channel to be viewed publicly after the workshop. (5 minutes)
The attendees will have a chance to offer their suggestions how to use memes in the classroom and we will share it with the group with Google Doc. Attendees will also have a chance to work with a partner to brainstorm and create five memes on their device, which will be shared with the group and uploaded online for the public to see.
If my presentation is chosen as a poster, I will have a laptop with a video playing of my math meme projects videos and my slideshow presentation on loop. I will also have printed hard copies of the meme examples showcasing how to use memes in a variety of classroom grade levels/subjects. I will also be there with my winning personality.

Supporting research

Armstrong, T. (2018, February 28). Tiffany's Tech Talk. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from
Laxton, M. (2017, February 09). Make a Meme...Make a Difference! Retrieved September 26, 2018, from
Serano, S. (2018, February 20). 5 ways to use memes with students. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from
Through the Lens of Popular Culture: Why Memes and Teaching Are Well Suited.. (n.d.) >The Free Library. (2014). Retrieved Sep 26 2018 from
Using memes as a tool. (2017, February 15). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from

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Sharon Serano is a New Jersey high school mathematics teacher with over 20 years of experience. She earned her M.Ed. in teacher leadership with an emphasis in educational technology from Rowan University. Serano wrote the ISTE article “5 ways to use meme with students” (Published December 2, 2016, updated February 20, 2018). This article was also included in ISTE’s publication Edtech for the K-12 Classroom (2018). Please visit her YouTube channel at or follow her on Twitter @MrsSerano.

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