I have been using GIFs more and more in my classes. I only learned about these this school year from the huge number that people share them on Google+.  The example below was playing in the background yesterday while my students were doing a lab investigating how the rate of evaporation affected crystal growth.

Crystals growth
Crystals growth

What is a GIF?

GIF’s are an acronym for “Graphic Interchange Format” which are compressed and don’t require playing, as they’re running continuously. The “G” is actually pronounced with a “J” sound so it sounds like “JIF”, the peanut butter. If you’ve seen Harry Potter films, they’re a lot like the paintings in the “grand staircase” which are constantly moving in animation as students pass by. Unlike other web 2.0 tools like “youtube” which require the user to press play, pause, and replay, GIFs are cyclical “loops” constantly playing.

What I like about GIF’s is that they focus on a key part of video content and play it over and over. With most videos on youtube or vimeo, the highlight may only be a few seconds and you will have to back up to watch it again. Recently, I have liked to use them playing in the background during certain activities for visual cues or reinforcement. Seeing a GIF animation play over and over again may become a bit repetitious, so I usually change them up once or twice during a lesson. I’ve also embedded them into our Moodle site for outside assignments.

 

Where Can I find GIFs?

My “go to” site is Giphy. Giphy has a great assortment of media, although most of them are for social media use. Another is Gifbin. There are a lot of educators sharing GIFs on Google +, so connect to see what everyone is sharing!

 

Some of our favorite GIFs:

32 Mesmerising GIFs That Will Make You Fall In Love With Science
Hydrogen peroxide mixed with potassium iodide
Hydrogen peroxide mixed with potassium iodide
7 Animated GIFs That Will Make You Instantly Understand Trigonometry
The relationship between the functions and circles to triangles
The relationship between the functions and circles to triangles
12 Fun Gifs That Put the Technology into Education
First World Problems
First World Problems

 

Feature image GIF icon designed by Austin Andrews for The Noun Project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.