Animated GIFs as OER?

I am pretty sure you know what this is:

Interview Parents, animated GIF on Giphy by @Southpark lacking license meaning by default it is copyrighted

This came to mind today as I was reading a question on the CCCOER Community email list

I am looking for American Sign Language and Deaf Culture OER Resources. Thank you for any help you can provide!

While not strictly (or at all) an OER, I immediately thought of the Sign With Robert collection of animated GIFs that each demonstrated the ASL expressions for words and phrases. The repetition to me seems valuable for learning.

Trapezoid animated GIF on Giphy by Sign With Robert

A few years ago I did a few presentations and workshops on what I called A Purposeful Use for Silly Media trying to make a claim that this familiar form of social media expression/reaction could have a real use in education.

I was specially intrigued by the potential for animated GIFs to show processes, methods, phenomena where the sequence is important, and watching repeatedly could reinforce a concept. One example I liked was one that demonstrated the geometry of parallel parking, and have many more listed.

From what I have seen the reuse and interpretation of fair use for animated GIFs is barely mentioned (or mostly avoided). Often the issue is that the majority of ones we see frequently in social media are derived from copyrighted sources. Use of them might call for a claim of fair use, maybe, but there is no denying many of the ones we enjoy used images that are not open.

For reference:

It’s not the media form itself, but the sources of media used, right? There is no reason why animated GIFs created from open source media or published under a license ought to have potential for OER.

There is a lesson and examples provided in the OERu Learning in a Digital Age 1010 course.

I also did some looking around Wikimedia Commons for examples. Their search filters did not provide an option for .gif file type, but I did find you could collect results by using .gif as a search term (file names are in titles). For example:

These are all ones that will have definite open licenses applied to them.

So in my response to today’s message, I wrote:

maybe there is an opportunity for perhaps some open pedagogy project where students could create original animated gifs of signing, and share them under a specific license.

Does anyone make use of animated GIFs in your open education work- beyond the familiar social media style use (which we have done here in the past, e.g. for Open Education Week)? Can they used for more than decorative purpose but to demonstrate a concept, method , etc? Is there any interest in contributing/sharing them (perhaps to Wikimedia Commons)?

Another excellent example is the GIF IT UP annual competition that asks the world to create animated gifs based on imagery from open access (public domain) collections.

GIF IT UP is an annual GIF-making contest that celebrates creative remixing of cultural heritage. It’s run by Europeana in partnership with organisations from around the world, including Japan Search, Art Institute of Chicago, DAG Museums, DPLA, Digital NZ, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Centro de Fotografía de Montevideo and Trove.


Thank you, this is excellent!