Can Giphy Be An Edtech Resource?

I have known of GIF files ever since my early days of using the Paint program. In recent years I learned about GIF videos and loved them but finding them was difficult and not practical for sharing anywhere anytime. My main memory of GIFs to this day is my traumatic realization they are prononced GIFs like “g”arbage and not JIFs like “g”iraffes. I still have difficulty with it (I said it wrong for SO LONG and never heard it out loud) so I usually opt towards not saying the name aloud at all for fear of making someone really confused.

Ever since our ECM355 class when we learned about the group chat service Slack I have been minorly obsessed with gifs because of how vast the selection of GIFs seems to be nowadays! The way I think of it is: if an image speaks a thousand words, then a picture in motion must speak more! Entire conversations can be held in only GIFs.

Shania Sonen’s blog post on coding had me equally as interested in the Office GIFs that traced her success. So naturally I clicked on the image link and ended up in the wonderful world of Giphy.

After being absolutely floored at its possibility for entertainment value, I took a step back and went: is there any EDUCATIONAL value?

I think so.

A quick Internet search made me realize it can be great for learning ASL or any task that requires movement. If you read the ASL link I just posted, Stephanie Weber (a coordinator at Giphy Studios) explains,

“The looping format makes it [Giphy] a perfect tool for learning through repetition.”

The first idea I brainstormed was the idea of learning to read emotions with younger students. We could inquire into different emotions and then observe and list the different actions that go with each.

For example HAPPY has a lot of people laughing, smiling, jumping and dancing. A quick glance at the page gives students so much information.

SAD has people frowning and crying and shaking.

Students could then perhaps take a gif and use it as inspiration for a skit on emotions or something like that!

Also in projects kids could be asked to use giphy to add a multimedia aspect to teach whatever they have learned in a presentation (and show their learning process and emotions through GIFs like Shania did).

Another idea I had is students making GIFs of themselves and uploading them to show their learning (with proper consent forms). GIFs may not even have the students in them but rather their project (ie. A rocket being launched).

According to Matt Vogels on this site GIFs are good for education because “They give your viewers just enough context to understand what you’re talking about, without distracting them too much or drowning them with buffering video” and he also mentions several tools to help make and share GIFs.

I did a shoutout on Facebook and got this response:

What are your thoughts? Any more ideas on how GIPHY can be an edtech resource? Also any thoughts on how to keep it safe for students? I don’t know how high the chance is of seeing nudity or violence in these GIFs.


2 thoughts on “Can Giphy Be An Edtech Resource?

  1. I think GIFS are great for educational and entertainment purposes. I agree with you in all the ways that students could use them. My favourite is the fact that they could use them to show their understanding. I think that there are so many different ways to show how you feel through GIFS. This was something that I had never thought of and it was great to read this post. Thanks for sharing Taylor.


  2. It would be Fun if we have GIFs on our Powerpoints slides! It is a Fun we to express ideas, thoughts, or feelings. That’s a good idea to use Gifs for education!


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