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To Gif or Not to Gif, That is the Question!

The last blog of the month showcases a tech tool that fascinates me.

School librarians are often the ed tech person on their campuses. So staying on top of your game is important and one way you demonstrate that your are a #LibrarianInfluencer on campus! This month’s tech tool is Brush Ninja! Brush Ninja makes quick and easy animated gifs. You and your students’ imaginations can run wild!

But, first you might wonder what exactly is a gif? Gif stands for graphics interchange format. There is some debate in the tech world whether to pronounce this /gif/ or /jif/. Just go with the flow on this one. There are tech gurus on each side of the pronunciation war. LOL!

So anyway, an animated gif is a format for image files that takes multiple frames and encodes them into a single image file which can then be played by a web browser or other software. I’m sure you’ve seen some on social media and wondered how they made those little movies.

The Brush Ninja website recently won a spot on AASL’s 2019 list of Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. One of the awesome things about the websites they identify is these websites have been vetted by a committee of school librarians from across America. Another cool thing is that the sites have to be FREE to be awarded a spot on this list! Yay for FREE!

Brush Ninja:

  • is a free and simple application for making animated GIFs

  • does not require an account or login

  • works on any Web browser; on both desktop and mobile devices

Here is a quick video (no sound) where you will see my second attempt ever at using the website. On my first attempt using Brush Ninja, I poked around on all the buttons to see what they did. So, this is literally my second time to use the program in an attempt to show you how simple this tool is.

And, Voilà! Here is the resulting gif.

I do need to slow it down a little more. But, I think you get the idea.

Now it’s your turn! To get started:

  1. Make a plan of what you want to show. Think about it like a storyboard with separate frames.

  2. Add your background image or start drawing on Frame 1.

  3. Add other details to Frame 1 like text, shapes, etc.

  4. Go to the bottom and add a new frame.

  5. Repeat steps to add details on each frame.

  6. Press the play to preview the animation.

  7. Make edits as needed.

  8. Adjust timing if needed.

  9. Export to use your new gif! Great job!

Please share your gif creations and gif ideas on social media and use the hashtag #LibrarianInfluencers. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Dr. Laura

Librarian Influencers of the Week: AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning committee! The committee members are listed at

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