Implementation of ‘Meme-ing the Great Masters of European Painting’ (SOI-GR-99)

I chose to implement this learning scenario in order to teach my sixth graders (age 11-12) about the basics of photo editing and the dos and don’ts of sharing content online.

The implementation context

I teach Information Technology, so the scenario was perfect for my curriculum. I implemented it in two different classes of about 15 students each. The students had used the Europeana platform in the past and were familiar with its content and the ways of searching for material. They also knew the basics of copyright licences. The students had worked on the subject of cultural heritage in the past. Most of them were users of social networks and knew what memes are.

The narrative

I skipped some steps of the original learning scenario that either didn’t correspond with my teaching goals or because my students already had the skills that were presented. That way, I managed to shorten the lesson to 2 teaching hours. During the first hour, the students focused on the definition of the word meme and we discussed the (Greek) origins of the word and the use of memes in social media and the internet. Students were also urged to find some memes online and get better acquainted with their use and their concept.

During the second teaching hour, the students visited the Europeana site and searched for pictures of the two painters. They chose the one that inspired them the most and created their own memes. Afterwards, they uploaded their creations on Padlet. In the last 5 minutes of the lesson, the students had to rate the memes and comment on them.    

Learning and teaching outcomes

The implementation of this learning scenario was beneficial in various ways. The students learned to observe pieces of art and got familiar with some of the masterpieces of the European art. They improved their picture editing skills and had the chance to practice on combining different tools and resources (Europeana Collection, picture editing software, online collaboration and presentation software) to create original content that had to be published online on the Padlet mentioned above. Furthermore, by rating and commenting on the work of others (using stars or short comments) students recollected on basic “rules” of expressing an opinion online while respecting our digital fellow-citizens. Above all, this learning scenario ended up in funny creations and a happy classroom!

Teaching with this scenario, helped me realize the importance of choosing “modern” tools and expressions that are close to the students’ everyday life, such as memes, in order to teach a concept or a skill. My students were learning and they were happy. What more can a teacher ask for?

Recommendations

I would recommend this learning scenario to teachers that are interested in accomplishing the learning outcomes that were mentioned above in a very pleasant lesson, where the students’ interests meet the teacher’s goals.

The resources from Europeana, as well as the search engine, were easy to use and understand.  The scenario could be further enriched, if there is teaching time, by creating animations, based on the original paintings. Ideally, the animations could be made in Scratch, so as to, also, practice simple programming skills.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?

Meme-ing the Great Masters of European Painting by Maria Skiadelli

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The featured image used to illustrate this article belongs to the public domain.

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