This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.
I am absolutely geeking out about Screencastify giving users of its FREE plan the ability to export their screencasts as GIFs! For years, people have asked me how they can make GIFs like the ones that I make, but for free. I’ve always had multiple tools to mention depending on the person’s goal and the tech that they’re using (Mac, PC or Chromebook). But now I finally have 1 response that I can give to almost everyone!
I’m so excited to share with you about this. In the post below, you’ll see an #EduGIF about how to do this followed by 19 different ways that you can use this in your school or classroom!!
View a Pausable version of this #EduGIF here.
19 Uses of GIFs in the Classroom!
1. Duh, #EduGIFs!
I’ve made more than a 100 #EduGIFs over the years! Just spend some time searching through my site and you’ll see bite-sized EduGIFs that teach you how to do a bunch of things with edtech. Now you can make your own similar EduGIFs with Screencastify!
2. Solving Math Problems!
Want your students to know how to do a whole slew of math problems, but don’t have time for a full lesson or for them to watch videos about all of them? Have each student create an #EduGIF where they use the Screencastify pen tools or a tool with drawing options (Google Keep, Google Jamboard, Chrome Canvas, Keynote…) to create a GIF of how to solve 1 specific problem! If you then put them all into one place like Google Docs, Google Slides or a website, then your students can see all of them!
3. Turn Work on Paper into GIFs
Don’t have touchscreen devices? That’s okay! A few years ago, I created this post about using webcams to create videos where students explained how to do math problems or other content processes. I like the idea of doing videos so that they can explain what they’re doing, but there’d be value in doing this with GIFs as well!
Some students might need support doing #15 on that one assignment and others might not. In person instructions or support would be preferred, but in blended learning, you may have different students ready for those instructions at different times. Why not add an #EduGIF that’s there when kids are ready for it? Videos add a personal touch, but an #EduGIF is quicker to make!
5. Instructions in a HyperDoc
Whether built in Google Docs, Slides, Drawings or even in Microsoft Word, Wakelet or elsewhere, HyperDocs are dependent on students viewing information and procedures digitally and at different times. What better way to do that than with a quick #EduGIF!?
6. Showing Concepts Quickly
Want to show how to correct comma usage in Langauge Arts or conjugate a verb in Español? Want to show how fault lines cause earthquakes or the locations of the battles in the American Civil War? You could record these processes or animations with Screencastify, export them as GIFs and show them to your students!
The Amoeba Sisters site has a great collection of GIFs that explain scientific processes. What if you or your students created them yourselves!?
7. Sharing Simple Processes with Parents
Need all parents to know how to access students’ grades, add money to their kids’ lunch accounts or access beginning of the year forms? You could create and share a video, but then you’ve got to hope that they’ll click play. Another option would be to show this process in an EduGIF and embed it wherever they’re likely to look (on the webpage, in the principal’s email update). It’ll auto-play and they won’t be able to miss it!
I’ve blogged, EduGIF’ed and presented a lot about #StopMotionSlides (here, here, here and more). Whenever I talk about them, I share the process of using TallTweets.com or its premium counterpart Creator Studio to turn those slides into GIF animations. I still love both of those tools, but sometimes it makes sense to not introduce another tool into our classrooms, especially if its just for one time. And, if your kiddos already use Screencastify, why not use it for this too?
9. Webcam GIFs for Reactions
Many teachers love using the andThenIWasLike.co website to have students create short GIFs to show their reactions to a reading, a lesson, a historical event or an experiment. Check out the section titled “Animated Thank You Cards” in this post by Tony Vincent for some examples and an overview. The problem with andThenIWasLike is that the word short in the phrase short GIFs is an understatement. The site is super easy to use, but the GIFs are capped to 3 seconds in length! Use Webcam mode in Screencastify to create GIF creations that are as long as you’d like!
10. GIF Vocab!
Meredith Akers wrote a great blog post about using GIFs to “define” vocabulary. She also mentions Sam Carpenter who started using the hashtag #GIFVocab on Twitter to share examples. In Meredith and Sam’s examples, the students are typically using existing GIFs found online, but with a tool like Screencastify they can make their own! They could either be something on screen, something they record with their webcam or both!
11. Show What Happened in an Experiment or Demonstration
Want to spice up lab reports? Have students record what happens with their webcam and then turn it into a GIF! Check out ngssphenomena.com for some examples of what this might look like. (you may need to scroll down to see GIFs, some of the content are just still pictures)
12. In Physical Education Class
Want to show the appropriate form for that stretch? Or the appropriate technique for shooting a basketball? Students could use Screencastify in Webcam mode to create GIFs of these key processes! Then the teacher could show them to the class and narrate what’s happening while the GIF loops!
13. Text Message Conversations!
I used to love the Google Docs Story Builder. It was a tool that let you create little animations of two or more people (or characters) collaborating in a Google Doc. I loved recommending it for classroom uses (imagine a collaborative Google Doc between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr!). You can see examples in this blog post. It was a fun tool to use in the classroom, but then . . . Google took it down a few years ago 😔. So now we can do a similar process by recording while the fake conversations or collaborations take place and then exporting them as GIFs! You can do this by recording in a Google Doc, in a Hangouts Chat or on a site like iFakeTextMessage.com that could actually make it look like a real text message thread.
14. A Novel Replacement for Reading Logs
Did you get pun there? 😬 In this blog post on MiddleWeb, Megan Kelly suggests the possibility of having students create GIFs to demonstrate that they’ve completed their summer reading. Regardless of how you feel about requiring students to prove that they’ve “done their reading,” you’ve got to admit that creating GIFs is better than filling out logs with parent initials!
15. Spice Up Your Feedback!
Students love a teacher that shows their personality and creates rapport with them! What if, instead of just saying “good job” in your comments, you include a GIF of yourself giving them a thumbs up and a big cheesy grin! (See #8 above)
16. Differentiate Your Screencasts
While many people love the EduGIFs that I share, there are also many people who would really love for them to be videos. So, now, when I create an EduGIF, I also upload it to YouTube as a video so that they can speed it up, slow it down or pause it. I call these “Pausable #EduGIFs.” I could also add narration if I’d like to.
You could do the same with Screencastify! Record once, export twice (once as a GIF and once as a video)!
17. Showing a Drawing Process
If your students use touchscreen Chromebooks, they could record themselves drawing in one of the apps or sites mentioned above and export it as a GIF!
18. Silent Screencasts for Presentations
When showing short tech tips in a presentation or lesson, you previously had 2 options for how to show them:
- Do it live during the session. This is nice because it’s authentic, but it can also be inefficient as it may take you longer.
- Record a video of the process to show to the group. This is likely more efficient than doing it live.
We now have a 3rd option! Record that same screencast as in (2) above, but instead of exporting it as a video, export it as an EduGIF so that it can be popped right into the slide and loop over and over again until your audience or class has processed all of it.
19. Step-by-Step Instructions to Show to the Class
Need students to submit their work in Google Classroom or share a Google Doc with you before class starts? Why not put an #EduGIF on your screen as they enter the classroom!?