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Using Animated GIFs in Your Teaching

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Using Animated GIFs in Your Teaching

Over the last few years animated GIFs resurged into the visual scene of the virtual world playing prominent roles in the communication structure of the social web. Animated GIFs gained in popularity among teachers, educators, and students becoming important tools in the learning/teaching process. If you have not already tried them out in your instruction you may want to consider tapping into their (hidden) educational potential. The purpose of this post is to share with you some of the ways animated GIFs can be used in education together with applications and tools that can help you create them.

Why animated GIFs in education?

Animated GIFs are short video clips that capture "brief moments from a movie, television show, sporting event, or other recorded media and may include humorous captions or graphics" (Aleman & Porter, 2016, p. 65). They are "typically a few seconds long, soundless and play in loop" (The New York Times). These animated snippets are a great way to enhance communication within and outside class, boost students comprehension by concretising complex concepts, and help students further develop emotional and social skills. According to the New York Times, GIFs are “a way to relay complex feelings and thoughts in ways beyond words and even photographs making them hugely popular with young audiences who never leave home without their smartphones”. Also, for those learners who learn best through visual means, animated GIFs are good alternative to textual input.

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