This First Steps serves as a starting point for your thinking about the use of media for the purpose of enhancing learning for all learners. This page contains four sections:

  • An introduction to animation.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of different media types, and a list of educational articles and research.
  • An optional template to use to set a personal goal, capture notes of ideas generated, and reflect on your learning. Goal setting, taking notes, and reflection are important parts of the design for this course. We hope you will use it as you go through these materials and activities (located on the right-hand side)
  • ISTE Educator and Education Leader technology standards being addressed (located on the right-hand side)

What is an Animation?

"Animation is the capturing of sequential, static images—drawings or photos of inanimate objects—and playing them in rapid succession to mimic real world motion. If you’ve ever seen a flip book, you know how it works." (

Multimedia is a term used to represent combination of visual and audio materials gathered from various resources and then added into one single combination. A multimedia product can be sets of texts, graphic arts, sounds, animations and videos. The term multimedia is used to refer to visual and audio materials combined into a single common presentation which can be 'run' on a computer, on the internet using web technology, streaming audio or video and data projection system etc." (source:

Sometypes of animation:

  1. 2-D Traditional - draw a series (one or more) images that can be sequenced (by flipping through the pad of paper manually) or created digitally and animated through the use of a computer application.
  2. Stop-motion animation - where you take a series of photos (or drawn) of an object as it changes, frame-by-frame, such as capturing the growth of a bean, or moving an object such as a claymation where a clay figure is moved into different positions, and the changes are captured and then used for an animation.
  3. 3-D animation is where computers generate the imagery and animators input the movement and angles. CGI or computer generated imagery.

Definition of an Animated GIF:

"An animated GIF is an image encoded in graphics interchange format (GIF), that contains a number of images or frames in a single file and is described by its own graphic control extension. The frames are presented in a specific order to convey animation. An animated GIF can loop endlessly or stop after a few sequences." (source:

The benefits of an animated GIF:

  • quick and easy to create
  • are a small file size
  • can be used in a wide variety of educational media such as web pages, and presentations
  • can be shared through social media.
  • can be created using drawings, digital images, graphics, movie clips, and infographics
  • can include or not include sound
  • can be created using apps on a mobile device or using a web browser application
  • there are several free applications and apps to create them available

This section will help you improve your practice as you learn from articles and/or research from other professionals.

1. Refer to this table of Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Media from the 21things4students site to think about the features and use of different types of media and how they meet your own educational goals.

2. Provided below is a list of articles about how the use of media benefits and engages all learners.

  • In the interest of time, look at the entire list and then select one or two articles of interest to see what some of the education experts have to say about the use and value of media.

Note: It may be helpful if you add some notes and write down your reflections either during or after you read the articles.

Articles or web resources:

You are invited to set your own learning goal(s) and then track your learning through notes and reflections. 

We suggest identifying four areas:

Goals: Begin by setting one or two goals (what do you hope to learn?)

Audience: Identify your target audience you plan to use multimedia with (self, grade level, content area, to train others...)

Notes: As you go through the different activities in this learning unit, we will suggest you keep track of your ideas and additional resources in the notes sections.

Reflections: Reflecting on your learning process and progress is an integral part of a successful learning experience.

Example template for a Personal Learning Plan Document  referred to as PLGRD in this unit (Google doc  or   Word doc)

Addressing the ISTE Standards For Educators

1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

2b. Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, 
evaluation, curation and adoption of 
new digital resources and tools for learning.

3a. Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
3c. Mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.

5a. Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.

6a. Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
6b. Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on maker spaces or in the field.
6c. Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
6d. Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

7a. Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.

The Michigan Technology Competencies (MITECS) are based on the ISTE-S Student Standards.

The following documents on the MDE site are related to the MITEC competencies:

Age-band Articulation a document that specifies how the competencies can be incorporated into teaching and learning activities at various age gand/grade levels. Ages 15-18 are not included.

Sample Scenarios a document that showcases the MITECS implemented in an integrated setting within academic context.

Technology Scope and Sequence is a grade level breakdown of required technology skill development for students.