On the Language of Internet Memes

an arts-based educational research dissertation in arts & visual culture education

Category: Phase II [Researcher as Facilitator]

Literacy of the Meme

  • Developed in conjunction with Dr. J. David Betts, for his upper-division/graduate-level course New Literacies: Computers in Education (LRC 430/530) in the Learning Reading and Culture department at The University of Arizona.

  • Target audience was the students registered for the class.

  • Nine participants consented to be part of the study. All nine generated data to be analyzed.

  • Participants were introduced to the Internet Meme phenomenon, with an emphasis on Image Macros and Animated GIFs. They were then asked to generate digital content that related to their professional, academic and research practice.

  • Ran from October 16th-30th, 2013 as part of a class’ unit on visualization.

Poe[MEME]s

  • Target audience was high-school students up to 18 years-old, the same audience that TYPS traditionally reaches out to.

  • Ten participants consented to be part of the study, but only two were able to attend all three sessions. Nonetheless all ten generated data to be analyzed.

  • Participants were guided through explorations into the language of internet memes to incorporate visual, succinct and remixed digital content into their already developed poetic vocabulary.

  • Ran from July 18th to the 20th, 2013.

Studio Meme

  • Held in the city of Tubac, AZ as part of Tubac’s Center of the Arts Summer Art Program, running from June 11 to July 3rd, 2013.

  • Participants from 6 to 14 years of age were led in the production of creative reflections that employed the language of internet memes in order to facilitate the acquisitions of the literacy skills required to engage actively within the internet’s visual culture.

  • Participants were grouped together by age range–6-7 year olds, 8-10 year olds, 11 and older (these groupings were determined by the education coordinator at Tubac Center of the Arts).

  • Three distinct curricula, three different case studies, each designed to address the skills and interests of the different age groups.

  • Each curriculum was deployed with about fifteen learners at a time but data was collected only the participants that consented to be part of the study, 27 in total.

  • Since the program ran for four weeks, but learners were be divided in three age groups, the oldest learners took part in a second, more advanced lesson-plan.