Animated GIFs are familiar as expressions of emotion in social media but are also of educational value as short looping videos to demonstrate a process. Think of an animated GIF as a “short-form” video as way to show a phenomenon or the steps in a process where it would help understanding to see the steps repeated.

To do:

  1. Think about a concept or process in the subject you teach or are most interested in. What might you be able to demonstrate in an animated GIF form, one that allows rapid repetition in a few frames?
  2. Try the Giphy Make a GIF tool to generate an animated GIF from a section of a video or a series of uploaded photos.
  3. Include a link to your activity as your response for this activity.
  4. After you make your submission, save the web address to your response (found in the green confirmation box) so you can use it later for your badge submission form. 


Sign With Robert is clearly an effective way to demonstrate sign language.

Can repetition illustrate the geometry of parking?

Can it help to understand the motion of an organism?

Great Animated GIFs of Science

This activity is part of the Let’s Experiment section of the Experimenter Module.

Example for "A Serious Use For Silly Media":

Math GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Resources for this Activity

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49 Responses for this Activity

  • Teaching Innovation GIF
    by Mary Chaktsiris (@mchaktsi)

    Teaching Innovation GIF

  • GIFs as Discussion Points
    by Miranda Mckenzie (@mx_mckenzie)

    While I know I could have created my own GIFs, I also knew that a lot of them already existed. I curated a few that I can use as bit-size starters to emphasis the importance of key concepts of research, sourcing and proofreading during the writing process. I organized 6 GIFS into a Google Slides more… »

  • GIF
    by Ramandeep Kaur (@Raman)

    I know some students find it difficult to concentrate for long hours. I have created this gif to include in my presentation to give them some time to relax.

  • Gif for the layers of a neural network
    by Adam Langridge (@alangridge)

    I created a gif showing the three types of layers of a neural network. The gif is an effective way of showing this to students! via GIPHY

  • Integrating Interprofessional Networds
    by Simon Moll (@smoll)

    The six aspects of being an empowered educator morph together to form more than a sum or their parts and counteract the neoliberal academy.

  • Giphy
    by Ishank Chopra (@ishankchopra)

    At first, I thought this would be the easiest one to do and also the most fun. While looking at all those GIFs was fun, I found connecting them to what I teach quite challenging. I created a GIF on Break time, a regular feature in all my classes. I made a few changes to more… »

  • My First GIF
    by Joanna MacDougall (@Joanna MacDougall)

    Thanks for this tool! I always wanted to learn to make a GIF. A cool way to inject a little fun and lighten things up in the classroom. I created this GIF to reinforce an important rule when instructing someone to use crutches on stairs – always lead with the Good leg – we say more… »

  • GIF animation for illustrating 3D concepts
    by Ana Maria Peric (@anamaria.peric)

    I chose to use the GIF animation to illustrate a three dimensional entity which we see often in my discipline, but when illustrating this to the students online, it is difficult to explain the three dimensional appearance we see under the miscroscope. This will be a very useful tool going forward as we have many more… »

  • When to use “tu” vs “vous”
    by Charlotte Delouche (@cdelouche)

    I used Giphy for the first time; it was very fun and easy to use. As a teacher of French as a second language (FSL), I often get asked by my students when to use “tu” versus “vous.” I tell them that it depends on the context, but generally in France, people always use “vous” more… »

  • I’m fun, just ask me!
    by Lorinda Seward (@Lorinda)

    For better or worse, one thing I’m told a lot, admittedly mostly by my kids, is that I am NOT fun, boring even!  Yes, I’m an introvert who most often has my face in a book, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be fun.  This was a fun activity to complete as I was able to more… »

    4 Resources for this Activity

    • A Purposeful Use for Silly Media (TCC2019 Pre-Conference Workshop)
      shared by Alan Levine (

      “Like memes, animated GIFs are often used to generate a laugh, a smile, maybe just a ¯_(ツ)_/¯. But considering them as short-form video, their looping structure is effective for demonstrating natural processes or showing hands-on techniques where repetition can aid understanding.”

    • Animated GIF Makes (Networked Narratives Make Bank)
      shared by Alan Levine (

      A collection of activities that show the two ways of making GIFs with the Giphy Maker tool

    • Maslow Gif
      shared by Christopher Rowe (@ChristopherRowe)

      I’ve created a GIF to present the structure of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Most students who take the course that I discuss this in have seen this before, so this is more of a refresher activity… so the GIF I think is sufficient for this purpose.

    • Using an animated Gif for my Power Point
      shared by Jane Carr (@jscarr)

      For this exercise I chose to make use of both an animated GIF and a regular GIF to introduce the Safety slide set that I show to students at the start of the course: Electronic Engineering Skills. I use this slide to identify some of the hazards involved in working with electronics.

    Creative Commons License
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    One Response to “A Serious Use For Silly Media”

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