The three types of learning memes

Jonathan Libov

Jonathan Libov

Jonathan is the Founder & CEO of Antimatter

Teachers often use memes as bell ringers, but that's just scratching the surface. The reason that almost every subject matter has a meme community on the internet with membership in the tens to hundreds of thousands of people isn't because they're merely funny internet gags.

It's because they're social puzzles.

And in that vein they're incredible learning devices hiding in plain sight.
Here are three ways — Storytelling, Knowledge & Terms, and Culture — that teachers use memes in the classroom (expressed, of course, through memes created on Antimatter).


Storytelling is the most powerful way in which memes can transform a lesson and the least appreciated. Antimatter is oriented around memes not because memes are fun, but because memes are simply the shortest form of storytelling humans have yet invented.

This is intuitive: To tell a joke about something (or, in Bloom's Taxonomy terms, to create a novel work about something) you must have fully internalized the subject matter.

And to boot, memes are magnetic in their storytelling capacity. If you don't get either of the memes below, doesn't it feel almost irresistible to look those topics up so you can get the joke?

Knowledge & Terms

Memes are memorable, making them ideal for test review and building foundational knowledge. To that end, they're like USB cables into your brain.


Every teacher strives to bring the best out of every classroom's unique culture. And every student feels more engaged when they're with a cohort of fellow learners with whom they have a strong sense of camaraderie.