As the educational technology specialist in my district, I move between buildings and I’m not always present to help a teacher when they have a question. Sometimes those questions have quick solutions but it is hard to describe with a written response in an email. In those situations, I will embed an animated GIF in my email to demonstrate how to solve the problem.


Animated GIFs are images that include several images in frames. These frames then change one after another in a loop. Think of animated GIFs as a digital flipbook.

I work primarily on a Macbook and use a program called SnagIt to create screenshots and short tutorial videos. If you make annotated screenshots on a regular basis or need to create short tutorial videos I highly recommend SnagIt. Although SnagIt is my tool of choice it may not work for everyone because it isn’t free and it needs to be installed on the computer which may be an issue in your district.

An alternative is to use a free tool called Screencastify to create your tutorial. Screencastify is a Chrome extension which makes it easier to use on school computers. Using Screencastify you can record a portion of your screen as a video. This video is saved to Google Drive which you can easily share with others.

To convert the video to an animated GIF you can use the website EZGIF. This website allows you to upload a video and convert to an animated GIF.

Animated GIFs are a great way to demonstrate how to complete short tasks. They are easy to embed in an email to quickly answer questions when you can’t show someone in person.

Photo: manfredsteger / Pixabay