Image created with Google Drawings
Image created with Google Drawings

One of the best things about a blog is the ability to add different types of content. I have written about creating images and visualisation. However, the next step in powering up is incorporating different content, such as video, audio and gifs.


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Videos

There are so many different options when it comes to making video for a blog. Whether it be a telling a story with images using PhotoStory, creating an animated presentation with Powtoon, celebrating voice with Adobe Voice or simply using a camera to make a live recording.

When it comes to adding video content to a WordPress blog, the easiest way is to simply add it via the media library. The issue with this though is that whatever blogging platform you are using, there is always a limit to how much you can store. In addition, there are also limits associated with the size of single files. For example, the limit with Global2 is 50mb. The solution then is to store the videos somewhere else and embed them within the blog.

The most common platforms used in education are YouTube and Vimeo. The problem is that even with potential to have videos unlisted, there are still some that have issues with housing video within such public spaces due to privacy issues

One alternative is to store content within Google Drive and embed it. To do this you upload the video file in question then click to pop it out. Once it is open in a separate space, you click on the options tab where you will find the embed code. Other than having more control over the content, a benefit of using Google Drive is that you are able to apply restrictions as to who can and can’t view the content through the ‘share’ settings if that is a concern.

(Another option that I have not explored is FUSE. This may well be another solution. However, I have yet to properly explore this at this stage.)

Audio

Often we associate adding audio to a blog with creating an episodic podcast. However, the process does not always have to be that complicated. You can easily create a one off recording and add this to a post. This can be useful when it comes to musical creations or one off interviews. See for example Doug Belshaw’s interview with Bryan Mathers or Dean Shareski’s response to Bud Hunt.

In regards to producing audio, Alan Levine recommends a range of applications including:

  • Levelator to even out the volume.
  • Audacity to cut-up and remove unwanted parts.

It is also suggested that you use a proper microphone rather than the in-built microphone within a computer or tablet if recording, as this will improve the quality of the audio.

In relation to adding to a blog, you can embed using sites like Soundcloud and Audio Boo. However, the easiest option is often just adding an MP3 file to the media library and inserting this. You can use a plugin to add further feeds and functionality, but this is not always needed.


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

GIFS

A GIF is a is a type of loop-able image that lasts for only a few seconds. It stands for graphic interchange format. Originally designed for icons, these silent images can be used for a wide range of purposes. For some they are used to tell stories, while for others to present a quick tutorial. You only have to look at platforms like Vine and Instagram to see the power and potential of GIFs (although technically speaking, neither of these platforms produce GIFs).

Some programs that you can use to create a GIF including:

  • GIFS a website which allows you to turn just about any YouTube clip into a 15 second GIF
  • Format Factory a program which provides the means to change the format of any video file into a GIF
  • Photoshop a program which allows you to both create and edit
  • Ezgif a website which allows you to easily create and edit GIFs online

There are more, it just depends on what device you are using and what you are trying to create. I have written more about GIFs here.


Overall, there are so many other different options for embedding content that helps to power up, for more details see the long list at Edublogs.


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Digital Creating and Making at #DigiCon15 http://bit.ly/quickmakes
Digital Creating and Making at #DigiCon15 http://bit.ly/quickmakes

GIF stands for graphic interchange format. It is a type of loop-able image that lasts for only a few seconds. Andy Rush explains that originally they were designed for practical visual indicators, such as under construction signs for a webpage or animated email buttons. However, as with most things with technology, as time has passed, GIFs have developed a life and purpose of their own.

A key to the success of a GIF is repetition. Sometimes this is because the image creates a closed loop continually repeating. However, GIFs also have a potential to tap into our curiosity of storytelling, where although the clip may not necessarily create a closed loop, the engagement with the moment keeps the viewer watching again and again. Mariana Funes provides a range of reasons for GIFs, including the creation of the impossible, a representation of how we think, an act of becoming. While Clive Thompson explains,

The animated GIF lets us stop and ponder a single moment in the stream, to resee something that otherwise would zip by unnoticed.

What differentiates a GIF from other short video forms, such as Vine, Twitter and Instagram, is that there is no sound.

In regards to creating a GIF, there are many programs that you can use to make them, including IMGUR, Photoshop, and Camtasia. Common Craft provide a range of options, both free and paid, in their thorough guide. However, a site that often overlooked, that allows you to make GIFs quickly and easily is gifyoutube.com.

Basically, you put ‘gif’ in front of any YouTube video in order to convert it. The site provides a few options, such as adding captions, deciding start time and setting the duration. Although you can search the site for published GIFs, I prefer to publish animations at Giphy, a site best understood as the YouTube for GIFs.

Some possible uses of GIFs in education include:

  • Providing comments and captions over the top of a short clip
  • Creating a visual story (see Nathan Bransford explanation of the writing process)
  • Make a provocation to discuss what might happen next
  • Developing an explanation for a skill or instruction
  • A summary in images (see this Reddit board representing entire films as GIFs)

While here are some additional resources exploring some different programs to create a GIF:

A Quick and Incomplete History of the Animated GIF – A thorough collection of reflections and resources from Andy Rush

Why Do You Want to Make a GIF at All – An extensive collection of links, perspectives and examples from Mariana Funes. For a shorter version, see her Medium post, The Animated GIF

The Animated GIF: Still Looping After All These Years – An analysis from Clive Thompson about the history and place of the GIF in society

Do You Speak GIF? – An introduction to Giphy from Mariana Funes

If You Have to Say It, Say It In GIF – A detailed account of GIFs and where they maybe heading

How to Create Explainer GIFs – How to explain your ideas quickly and easily using a GIF

Giffing – How to make a GIF using Photoshop, which includes a great collection of examples.

Making GIFs with IMGUR – How to make a GIF with IMGUR

Creating Animated GIFs with MPEG Streamclip and GIMP – How to make a GIF with MPEG Streamclip and GIMP

Soundbitification – A reflection on the rise of the short form from Amy Burvall and its impact on attention

Ooh Ooh Mr Kotter! I Know How To Optimize My GIFs! – Alan Levine provides an explanation as to how he took a GIF and optimised it using Photoshop.

Full Movie GIFs – A Reddit page dedicated to movies told as a GIF.

The Publishing Process in GIF Form – A post from Nathan Bransford unpacking the writing process using GIF images.

Lola Who – Brandon Tauszik talks about the idea of a GIF being a piece of art.

Eight-second videos are long enough to infringe on copyright, says UK judge – A case covered by Glyn Moody which touches on GIFs and copyright.

Looking at This Viral GIF Could Be the Perfect Way to Cope With an Anxiety Attack – A simple GIF designed to support breathing when stressed and anxious.

GIFDeck – A site that allows you to turn Slidedeck presentations into a GIF.

GIFs as Disinformation Remedy – Mike Caulfield discusses the idea of generating short instructional sequences to post in comment threads of fake material (i.e., how to fact check) rather than just Snopes-ing people.

Loose Learners Ep. 13 – GIF Again – Mariana Funes and John Johnston talk about Gifs, including how to make them and their various uses.


If you have any other resources or experiences with using GIF animations in education (or elsewhere), feel free to share. I would love to know.


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