Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Using Animated GIFs in the Classroom

Overview

Perhaps the most challenging part of GIFs is how the word is pronounced. Simply take the word "gift" and subtract the "t" and you end up with "GIF." If you're unsure what a GIF is, it is a short ( about 3 seconds) video clip of an image in motion. Pronunciation and definition aside, they can be really enjoyable to view and even more enjoyable to make. Especially in a classroom setting because there are so many ways they can be used to connect students to the content you're teaching. Below are a few websites that you can share with students to create these GIFs, and then what project ideas you can use that incorporate them.

Giphy

The most popular and customizable site is Giphy. The benefits of this site are that it allows you to upload several different images to create a slideshow GIF. An additional few options are that you can trim an existing video to the desired GIF size. Or, you can even upload a YouTube video and trim it down to create a GIF out it.

Gifmaker.me

A much simpler site is known as gifmaker.me. The option still exists to upload images to create a GIF. But, what makes this site really cool is the ability to control the speed of your GIF, and even whether or not it repeats once it's finished. There are other options as well, such as combining animated GIFs, creating video animation, or creating frame animation.

EZGIF.com

A third site is EZGIF. This site is even simpler than the previous two, which makes it pretty valuable. There is the option to upload an image and then turn that in to a GIF. A benefit of this site is that the canvas size can be customized, as well as the GIF speed. You can even add music to your GIF if you wish!

And Then I Was Like....

My personal favorite site for using GIFs in the classroom is And Then I Was Like.co. It is extremely easy to use. Once the site is open and "Create GIF" button is clicked, a 3, 2, 1 countdown appears. The student (or teacher) performs an action and it records a three second clip. It then saves, and can be shared on social media, or with simply a link.

GIFs in the classroom

Surprisingly, GIFs can have a powerful place in a classroom setting. From Language Arts, to Science, to Math, they can be inserted to engage students even further.


In a Language Arts classroom, students could record a synonym, antonym, or the reaction of a character once a novel is finished. As a grammar review, I had my students create a GIF of a verb. They then sent that link on a Google Form, and I had all of their GIFs in one location.


In a science classroom, a GIF could be used to show the final chemical reaction that takes place. Or, make a GIF "timeline" and record the steps to complete a lab. Something similar could be used in math with steps of an equation to show the final answer, or even to explain a theorem.


In all classrooms, students can create GIFs on what their understanding of the material is in class that day. Or, how they're feeling as they're leaving class. The best part about this is that, as the teacher, you have the option to get a little creative with how these are used. Student engagement drastically increases by simply inserting a GIF into the lesson.

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