Most is know the animated gif as a means of expression an emotion via social media, but is there a more useful purpose in education.

Absolutely. Think of this “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. For example, Sign With Robert is clearly an effective way to demonstrate sign language.

Can repetition illustrate the geometry of parking?

Can it help to understand observe motion of an organism?

Great Animated GIFs of Science

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 of a sequence in a few frames?

You can approach this two ways:

The  giphy web site is a place many people go to find animated GIFs, but it also has a easy to use tool for creating an animated GIF from either the web address of a video, or a series of images you upload. You can add captions and other effects, and then publish to a web address you can share in your response to this activity.

Try the Giphy Make a GIF tool (or other GIF making animation tools from the Extend Toolkit) to make your own GIF for an Other than Silly purpose.


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

Example for "A Serious Use For Silly Media":
https://giphy.com/gifs/math-cheetah-h4Tvmtw6AAZoxUwZSQ

Math GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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13 Responses for this Activity

  • Test Instructions
    by Tracey Chase (@traceychase)

    When we moved to virtual learning, I found that I was posting a lot of information for students.  I would imagine they were overwhelmed with the amount of information.  Tests in particular had steps and rules that they need to be aware of and follow to be successful.  I created a gif that outlined the more… »

  • Welcome to the course!
    by jessica srivastava (@Jessica)

    As we are all online, and often the course shells are active at least a week in advance, I wanted to create a welcoming and fun atmosphere for my welcome the course announcement. I developed this gif using pictures from Unsplash and created a PowerPoint which I then turned into a gif. I was lucky more… »

  • A Quick but Important Blackboard Lesson
    by Stephanie Park (@stpark)

    For my next activity in the Experimenter module, I thought I’d tackle A Serious Use for Silly Media and create a GIF! I use GIFs daily but always in casual messaging and for the purpose of conveying emotion and evoking smiles only. I’ve never used it as an education tool so the challenge was on. more… »

  • Any questions?
    by Jenn Harren (@j_harren)

    GIF for questions

  • GIF – Clear Communication is Key
    by Gary Danner (@gdanner)

    Attached is my animated GIF pertaining to communication. Credit for images: “Back To The Basics” by FadderUri is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 “Cordless phone for freecycle” by RichSPK is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 “Green Computing” by smaedli is licensed under CC BY 2.0 “Text me (Flickr Friday #19: Pen and Paper).” by elPadawan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 “Texting Congress 3” by afagen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 “old fax machine” by mod more… »

  • Keep Calm. Doctor P is on duty
    by Cathy Stewart (@CaffStew)
  • GIFS for building rapport and communicating
    by Elan Paulson (@Elan Paulson)

    This was the activity that I completed on my phone. Although I did not spend as much time with this activity as I did with the H5P activity, I was SURPRISED how long it took me to get familiar with the app. I started with something simple (the butterfly video), something that could be used more… »

  • Hard work pay off when done together!
    by Dorina Grossu (@dgrossu)

    There is always an opportunity to evolve throughout our lives while setting the scene is also part of the process. I can use this gif by sharing my views with the students.

  • Tina’s Serious Use for Silly Media
    by Martina Kolodzey (@Tiniko)

    Giphs are awesome for use in the ESL or LINC classroom! They are a great way to explain the meaning of a verb, or to talk about feelings.  In this gyph, my son is …. eating…. Does he like what he’s eating?  Can you tell by the expression on his face. A gyph isn’t as more… »

  • Gif
    by Stephanie Müller (@smuller)

    Students are always using google translate without thinking critically of what they are copying out or saying. This gif is a funny reminder to think critically

    3 Resources for this Activity

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

      “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 (@cogdogblog)

      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.

    Creative Commons License
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