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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20 Responses for this Activity

  • My Animated GIF for Teaching Counting via Giphy
    by Brian Percheson (@bpercheson)

    My animated GIF,  which I did on the July 17 Saturday extender, is a dice repeating itself from one to six for learners who can count along with the visual gif dice.  I would do this in my teaching practice with lots of things that can be repeated such as time tables and so on.  more… »

  • Search Engine GIF
    by Cynthia Gordon (@cynthia.gordon)

    Created this GIF while participating in the Saturday Extender on July 17th.  This would be used in my ACE Computers Blackboard shell to introduce the Search Engine lesson and exercise to give the students a little laugh before the work.  20 years ago my stats prof. did this with comics on the overhead projector and more… »

  • Hands Up Gif
    by Diana Spear (@Diana S)

    For this activity, I spent a fair bit of time playing with Giphy and trying to make something more complicated. I wanted to add a caption to this Sticker https://giphy.com/gifs/transparent-xOFhddlOyt3gI7eccQ/tile but couldn’t figure it out yet so settled for the Gif created at the link posted. I have to say that this is fun and more… »

  • GIPHY – music reduces stress
    by Maria Romios (@MariaR)

    This was my first time using GIPHY.com to create a moving image. I used a moving image of Spongebob snapping his fingers with headphones on enjoying listening to music. I put the caption “Reduce stress & listen to more music!”. I found several articles which supported this statement, for example this article published by Berkeley. more… »

  • GIF on fractions
    by Alexandra Hudyma (@akhudyma)

    I used OneNote to draw four equivalent fractions, and giphy to string them all together 🙂 it does a nice job visually at showing that the fractions are equivalent.

  • APA citations
    by Marisa Rentas (@mrentas)

    For this activity, I recorded a very short screen recording of 2 slides that illustrate how to do an APA citation for a quotation from a website article.  I teach a first year Communications course, so proper citations are a core skill that I find I refer to throughout the whole course, so having a more… »

  • log writing
    by amy taylor (@amytaylor)

    One of the scaffolded skills that is taught in my course is log writing.  We spend 5 weeks practicing and then another 5 writing logs that are evaluated. I thought a GIF would be fun to remind the students (and me when I am marking 70 of these a week) why we practice it.

  • 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… »

    4 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.

    • 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.

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