Did you know that over 70% of millennials use GIFs and emojis to communicate? Or that 80% of them believe the use of GIFs and emojis help them communicate how they are feeling better than words? These trends appear to be holding true for Gen Zers (those born between 1995-2015), too.
It stands to follow, then, that adding these communication tools into your classroom gives you an instant way to connect with your students, and even helps you instill a bit of extra excitement into your classroom.
“I want the digital classroom space to be lively and engaging for learners and teachers, especially during a time when many of us aren’t able to meet in person,” said Hsuanwei Fan, Product Manager for Edmodo. “I believe GIFs are a great way to express how we feel, which is vital to building classroom culture and positive relationships within the learner community.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Preparing to head into a school year with no clue what to expect may be elevating stress and curbing excitement for you and your students. Students all over the world are wondering what school will look like in the fall, and are growing anxious over the fear that things may never return to normal. One thing is for sure: supporting your students as the school year ends and as we prepare for a new school year will be vital.
You’re probably wondering how you can do that if distance learning is our new normal. The team at Edmodo has been busy working on ways to improve the virtual classroom experience for students and teachers—including several updates to Quizzes, suggestions for supporting SEL while distance learning, and digital ways to delight and engage your students! Keep reading for tips on how you can connect with your students while keeping them excited and motivated to learn.
We want to make online classrooms more fun and exciting for students and teachers, and we’re pleased to present a brand-new feature on Edmodo—Add a GIF! You (and your students) can now post or reply and quickly add a GIF using a new feature built into the composer. This is a fantastic way to add some flavor to classroom discussions, and there are many ways to incorporate GIFs into your classroom. Here are a few of our favorites:
It’s our job as educators to find the best way to connect with our learners. Communicating with your students in a style they already know and love helps you deepen your connection with them (without them realizing it). Because students increasingly use GIFs as a replacement to words, teachers can leverage this to reach even the most reserved students.
Apply this method to implement GIFs in your classroom for daily check-ins, to celebrate success, and to informally check for understanding. You can quickly ask your students to share a GIF that models their reaction to the end of a novel, to explain how they feel about an upcoming test or assignment, or to illustrate their opinion in a class debate or discussion. You may find that your most reluctant students find it easier to share with their peers when they have an opportunity to replace words with animation.
“I am hoping teachers and students will use GIFs as a way to check in on each other, encourage each other, show sympathy, and celebrate everyone’s successes”, says Hsuanwei Fan, who managed the development of the new feature.
Can’t high-five in person? Try replacing physical high-fives with virtual ones using fun GIFs!
Finding ways for your students to feel connected to one another from a distance can help your students reclaim some normalcy in their lives and support their social emotional learning needs. Empower your students and invert your classroom by encouraging students to react and respond to each other’s work using GIFs. Students will be able to quickly and easily search for a GIF by clicking the “GIF” icon and then selecting which one they’d like to use from the available categories. Peer-to-peer feedback and encouragement will feel natural and authentic for students using GIFs.
Hsuanwei’s team individually reviewed thousands of GIFs before eventually narrowing the selection down to 14 categories of education-approved GIFs. The resulting list of GIFs available to you and your students (in categories like “Excited” or “Friendship”) are appropriate, safe, and relevant for education.
Ready to take your student experience above and beyond? Try out GIF reactions in your Edmodo classroom today and let us know all about your experience!
Education Writer and Former Educator