Popular culture is the culture of the majority or the masses of people in a society—what a large part of a population believes or does, and objects representing beliefs or activities within that society. In the modern world, popular culture is spread and advertised by mass media through the internet and social media; television, movies, and radio; and printed books, magazines, and newspapers.
The Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries transformed technology, the economy, and daily life. Today, we are living in the midst of a technological and internet revolution. While the terms for this modern transformation vary somewhat (information technology revolution, fourth industrial revolution, globalization, social media revolution), the impact on our daily lives is undeniable. The impact of our modern revolution may seem unique in the span of human history. However, many of these seemingly new trends are part of a much longer story of change. The following three examples can be useful in connecting the past to the present.
Going viral is the rapid spread of information, not diseases. The phrase entered the English language in the late 1980s and is usually associated with the internet, email, or social media but can also refer to information spread by word of mouth.
The discipline of economics is often bewildering to students and non-specialists, full of complex theories and challenging charts. Teaching everyday words like market, scarcity, depression, opportunity, and choice becomes much more complicated in the context of economics classes. In addition, the impact of economic theories and policies is not always clear cut; what may benefit some can be harmful to others. Economic policies fall on an ideological spectrum, making classroom discussions of current economic events especially challenging.
We want our classrooms to be utopian communities, ideal worlds of cooperation and happiness. Classroom-management experts describe strategies to achieve that dream, but their advice falls across a continuum with the top-down, teacher-in-charge approach at one end and the bottom-up, students-create-the-rules at the other. Which approach is best?
History is rarely at the top of polls of “favorite subjects in school.” While a magical cure for history aversion has yet to be discovered, the following three tips for connecting the past to the present can make history lessons more relevant to students’ lives.
While globalization has been a relevant topic for years now, it's not actually a new concept! Globalization occurred in the ancient, medieval, early modern, and industrial ages. Providing students with a solid understanding of modern globalization in comparison to historical examples makes the past relevant and clarifies current events.
Cemeteries are trendy destinations. Cemetery tours feature the rich, the famous, the macabre, and ghosts. However, cemeteries can teach students about primary source artifacts and several other important social studies themes.
Internet ads, YouTube videos, social media posts, blogs, emails, and TV infomercials feature questionable and downright dangerous health advice, treatments, and cures. These quacks didn’t just appear in the modern era of broadcast and electronic media. Quacks have been around for centuries, successfully adapting their misleading message to the newest form of media – from word of mouth, to print, to broadcast, to electronic formats.
Interpreting political cartoons can be a real challenge for many students in the classroom. Students struggle to recognize the people, symbols, and events without context, making deducing the message of the cartoonist nearly impossible. Create a political cartoon scavenger hunt activity to help your students identify who and what is depicted. With this basic knowledge, interpreting the larger message conveyed by the cartoonist becomes easier.