Animated GIFs: Education in Motion

Creating animated GIFs is a good way for students to summarize learning and have fun at the same time. Learn about some great tools to use. Animated GIFs also function great as short picture tutorials. They play well on social media, like Twitter, too.

Making these engaging picture slideshows can range from easy to hard depending on the tools you choose. Let’s take a look at a few free iOS, Windows, Mac, and Chrome tools to create animated GIFs.

Agenda & Goals


Animated GIF Creation Process

  1. Laptop: Google Slides to Slides2GIF to
  2. Smartphone: Take pics, Put into App, Make Animated GIF, then Share

Activity #1 - Create an Animated Emoji

Explore Project Stations

Resources & Action Tools

Animated GIFs_ Education in Motion

Approach #1: Start with a Google Slide Show, then....

MiniLesson1:GoogleSlideAnimated GIFs website

Approach #2: Snap a Few Pics w/ Your Smartphone then....

Ready to put try one of these approaches out? Let's start with something easy....

Create an Animated GIF of Yourself

Making an Animated GIF

Ready to introduce yourself to the group?

In this activity, create an animated GIF of yourself. Inventory your technology, and then decide which approach you want to take:


Project Stations

  1. Animate a Story or Poem: Ever wish you could quickly capture student interest or animate a story/poem?
  2. Special Moments: Celebrating student success? Maybe a birthday, Valentine's Day or a special announcement? In this station, you will create some different digital cards/announcements.
  3. Observation Station: Time to put your scientist hat on! What do you see when observing naturally occurring processes like weathering/erosion, the water cycle or the carbon cycle?
  4. Key Ideas from a Non-Fiction Text: How could you help students identify key text in non-fiction text?
  5. Animated Mathematics: Take any one of these math processes and animate them to make them easy to understand.
  6. Public Service Announcements: Create a public service announcement (PSA) for an important issue relevant to your students.

Share Your Creations

Be sure to share your station creations, or links to them, via this Padlet.

Reflection Activity: Digital Smackdown

Before you leave today, take a moment to reflect on today's learning. Here are some reflection prompts to help you, but you can certainly share an insight or "Wow!" moment.

Record it here -

Note: If on mobile device using the Flipgrid app, use the code e512ca

Reflection Prompts

Some reflection questions; respond to only ONE:

  • Reflect on your thinking, learning, and work today. What were you most proud of?
  • Where did you encounter struggle today, and what did you do to deal with it?
  • What about your thinking, learning, or work today brought you the most satisfaction? Why?
  • Where did you meet success, and who might benefit most from what you’ve learned along the way? How can you share this with them?
  • What are your next steps? Which of those steps will come easiest? Where will the terrain become rocky? What can you do now to navigate the road ahead with the most success?

Tip: Did you know you could get Flipgrid certified? Find out more online.


Action Tools

Explore these tools below to help you facilitate each of the following actions.

Animated GIF Creation Tools

Desktop or Laptop Computer

No Cost Options

  • (Free): You can use this web-based tool to create animated GIFs. You can also create video animations with free, online music. Another benefit is that GifMaker does not require an account, which makes it perfect for use in a classroom situation.
  • Storyboarder (Free): This powerful storyboarding tool makes it easy to create animated GIFs (and a lot more). You can export creations to Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, Avid, PDF, and animated GIF formats. You can even print out storyboard worksheets and then draw on them. When done, snap a picture with your phone. Storyboarder will import the boards into your project.

Costs Money or Subscription-based

  • Screencastify Premium (Free for 10 minutes; subscription service available): This awesome screencasting tool (view tutorials) works great on Chromebooks or the Chrome browser. You can save your recordings as MP4 videos or as animated GIFs. These can be saved to either your device or directly to Google Drive. There’s even an education version worth investigating. A few features of Screencastify include a focus mouse, draw with pen, embed webcam, and my favorite, crop and trim. You can also record your desktop screen (e.g. Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux) or a particular tab on your Chrome browser.
  • Gyazo GIF (Free for seven seconds; subscription service available): Gyazo GIF enables you to capture screenshots (pictures of your screen) and then share them online as animated GIFs or save them. You instantly share screenshots faster than any other service by uploading the image and copying the link to your clipboard instantly. Fellow Texan and TCEA member Kasey Bell has a wonderful tutorial worth reading on this resource.
  • DataGIFMaker: Although not strictly speaking an animated GIF maker useful for tutorials, if you need to play with data, you will want to check out this offering from Google. It allows you to enter a few values and then display them as an animated GIF. You simply enter data points, type in short names for data point clusters, select colors, and then save the animated GIF. See example.

Android or iOS

Looking for a way to create animated GIFs on the go on your smartphone? Look no further than Giphy.

You can take a series of photos, then arrange them as an animated GIF. You can then save them anywhere online. You will not be able to adjust the speed of the animated GIF, however.

GIF Guru (Android) $

Want to make animated GIFs from pics or videos on your Android device? Check out GIF Guru!

You can take a series of photos (or screenshots on your Android device), then arrange as an animated GIF. You can also take a recorded video and save it as an animated GIF. You can convert over 100 pictures to one GIF, convert a video to GIF, put GIFs inside the GIF you’re editing and/or export directly in GIF. You can also play it forwards or backwards, and adjust the speed.

Looking for a way to create animated GIFs on the go on your iPhone? Look no further than GIF Toaster.

You can take a series of photos (or screenshots on your iOS device), then arrange them as an animated GIF. You can then copy them to your computer using WiFi sharing from within the GIF Toaster app. It will also take a recorded video and save it as an animated GIF. Additional customization is possible with built-in filters, etc.

Also try GIF Lab

PicsArt Animator

Ready to enhance your animated GIFs with a bit of magic? Try PicsArt Animator, an animation creator and cartoon maker that’s designed for ease of use and maximum functionality.

Make cartoon videos in a snap! Animate directly on top of your photos and bring them to life. You can save these then incorporate them into an animated GIF!

Available for Android & iOS (Free)