A GIF is worth a thousand pictures: How to use animated imagery to enhance your course content

Concurrent Session 3
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Creating GIFs, or animated images, is a fun, creative, and effective way to introduce interactivity into your courses.  These short snippets are ubiquitous on social media post and memes across the internet.  In this session we will explore the SnagIt platform to demonstrate the principles and applications of classroom GIFs.


Dr Sean Nufer is the Director of Teaching and Learning at TCS Education System, and an associate adjunct professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Pacific Oaks College.

Extended Abstract

Animated GIFs are different than videos; they tend to be short and silent – more like flipbooks.  Teachers can use GIFs in their classrooms to engage their learner through micro-educational interactions, such as brief tutorials, simulations, or demonstrations.  By utilizing well-designed GIFs, teachers can show students how to use a technology platform, sign into an account, or embed content into an online discussion post. 

Science teachers can use GIFs to effectively demonstrate principles of physics, chemical reactions, or even the scale of the known universe.  Math teachers can easily demonstrate the Pythagorean Theorem and other teachers can show how cheetahs keep balance with their tails or how chains are made.  Any teacher can incorporate GIFs into their lessons (LMS pages, PowerPoint presentations, blog posts, twitter feeds, etc.) to make their content interesting and fun while captivating students through innovative storytelling.

This session will explore what GIFs are, how to create and use them, and why you should incorporate them into your course content.  We will demonstrate where to find GIFs online, as well as (and more importantly) how to use the SnagIt platform to create your own fantastic content.  We will also provide a moderated platform throughout the session where participants can share their favorite GIFs.  Expect this session to be a fast-paced and engaging. 


Learning outcomes

Participants of the session will:

  1. Discover how to create effective GIFs.
  2. Explore applications for using GIFs to enhance teaching and learning.
  3. Review examples of GIFs in an online learning environment