The symbols, also known as emoticons, and led by the ever-popular smiley face are being used in lessons including sex education and science.
In the US, education publisher GE has made five lesson plans freely available which use emojis to illustrate science topics for students in grades 5 –12 developed in cooperation with the National Science Foundation and broadcaster NBC.
Core subjects such as chemistry and physics have been given the emoji treatment but while some may scoff at the move GE’s Sydney Lustrad told Digiday that it’s all about communicating to students in a way that resonates with them.
The firm trialled emoji’s last year in an Emoji Science Lab using celebrities and it was so successful that teachers asked for more emoji-fuelled resources.
It’s not just younger students that are being engaged with emoji’s. In Canada the University of BC is running a campaign for students which use emoji to help educate them on sexual consent.
The emoji-based posters were developed following research that shows that two thirds of Canadian students are unsure of what constitutes consent.
The use of emoji’s works on a number of levels according to the university’s director of access and diversity Janet Mee. She told Metro News that the symbols are something that students are used to seeing and they transcend language and cultural barriers.
They may not always put a smile on the face of teachers, and have been heavily criticized by some academics but it appears that emojis may have a place in education.