Creating GIFs

What are GIFs?

GIFs are compact, soundless videos that generally entertain or inform:
  • For entertainment purposes (like the one above), GIFs fall under the same category as “memes”.
  • For informational purposes (like the one below), a GIF can provide step by step instructions, a call to action, or statistics, among other things.
Creating a GIF can be a very easy and fun process. The simple steps outlined below can help you get started.  Not all GIFs have the same format or style, so use the info provided as guidelines and suggestions.
Example Informational GIF on how to enable Flash for a specific website.

Get Started

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Entertaining GIFs are generally based on short videos.  Think about what kind of video you imagine seeing in the GIF to get your point across.  What words or phrases will go along with your video?
  • Informational GIFs usually will outline statistics or provided step by step instructions.  Gather your information or plan out your steps before you begin creating your step by step slides.

Create an entertaining GIF

The easiest way to create an entertaining GIF is through giphy.com.  On a computer, go to giphy.com or on your phone or iPad, download the giphy app and sign up for an account.  Giphy does a nice job of outlining the step by step process, but keep in mind that you’ll need a video file that is less than 15 seconds long and is less than 100 mb in size.
Giphy has a bunch of options to add text, stickers, and other items layered on top of the video.  And, there are a ton of user created GIFs on the site to give you some ideas (Disclaimer: Not all GIFs (or GIF websites) are classroom friendly, so keep that in mind when searching for GIFs or having students search for GIFs.  Content filters may not block inappropriate GIFs.)
Once your GIF is finalized, you can share it pretty much anywhere, like on a website, social media, in email, or even slide presentations.

Create an informational GIF

In some ways, an informational GIF can be easier to create than an entertaining one.  I base my informational GIFs on slides.  I tend to follow these steps:
  1. Take screenshots of the step by step process you are demonstrating.
  2. Upload the screenshots into a slide presentation.  Make one slide per screenshot.
  3. Use the available markup tools to add text and shapes to highlight important aspects of each slide.  PRO TIP: Don’t add too much text because each slide will only be seen for 2-3 seconds.  Only use key words and simple phrases.
Once each slide is all set, use a Google Add-On like “Creator Studio“.  This is a super easy to use add-on that will allow you to convert your slides to the GIF format and gives you some customization options.  Here’s a video to help walk you through:

GIFs in the Classroom

As a teacher, GIFs can be an entertaining way to highlight an important point and make information stand out.  It can also be a way to encourage your students to present information to you.  See below for some ideas to incorporate GIFs into your classroom.

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