And Then I Was Like...

Written By Dave on Friday, March 7, 2014 | 9:46:00 AM

Let's face it - brevity is en vogue right now (think Twitter and Vine).

So today, I thought it would be appropriate to explore a toy that Dan brought to me a few weeks ago. I don't know how long it's been around, but I haven't seen andThenIWasLike used in a classroom setting yet, so I thought it might be cool to generate some feasible implementations.

The premise is very simple - use your webcam to record a 3 second clip, and then the server-side software will render it into a moving .gif image. You have the opportunity to trim it before the process is finalized. 

It's so slick and intuitive that I won't even do a tutorial. 

Batman logo spinning!

It was created by graphic design superstar Ellen Flaherty and developer extraordinaire Adam Pash, who both have a shared passion for .gifs.

I think this technology lends itself well to the languages and arts. For example, in a sign language class, it would be easy to make some simple, quick phrases. They can be placed anywhere in a learning management system (much easier than videos that require editing and also eat up space - moving gifs are much more lightweight). In an initial ice breaker discussion forum, students could sign their name and share with everyone. Or better yet, the instructor could have a sizable bank of these, and then make a quick, ten question quiz that's timed (two minutes seems reasonable) where students have to translate them. 

You're favorite food, what?
Erin asks, "What's your favorite food?"

From an instructional standpoint, a professional interpreter I know - Sarah - suggests the following:
"In ASL grammar, there is the foundation of the language called classifiers. Each classifier represents multiple concepts. For example, the "#1" classifier can represent anything from a pencil, to a person, to a mustache depending on orientation, context, etc. I would sign 'pencil rolling off table' using a classifier which would take one second and then I would show a real pencil rolling off a table so you can visually compare the two and see how it's possible to think in pictures."
For an English class, students could make a quick, snappy  review about the reading they just did for homework. Heck, any teacher could have their students post a andThenIWasLike which reflects their reaction to an assignment. In addition to being fun (oh, by the way, students could tag them with a custom tag from the instructor so they are all aggregated in one spot), this is an easy way for the teacher to gain ad hoc feedback on their lesson (or assignment, or problem set).
One thumb up!
Fastest book review ever.

For totally online courses, it is the responsibility of the instructor to cultivate a sense of community with their students. What better way to do that then have a discussion board where students have to express themselves in three seconds or less? Granted, some learning management systems (like Blackboard) have an on-board YouTube plugin. But that requires a larger time commitment and a YouTube account that necessarily needs to be linked to Blackboard. AndThenIWasLike doesn't even require an account (although you can create one!). It's just plain ole' fun.

Good thing I'm wearing a helmet.
Welcome students, I'll be your professor for this semester!

A creative writing teacher might have their students go to Twitter and search for #andtheniwaslike, choose a tweet with a moving .gif, and then write a story behind it.

On a more longer term basis (although the final product would be brief), any project could be captured at various stages and chronicled in a series of these .gifs. A FIRST Robotics team could capture key moments (the initial unboxing, the first time the robot runs, funny things that happen during build season, clips from regional competitions) and then aggregate them all one one page. By the end of the season, the team has a dynamic yearbook. A visual history.

AndThenIWasLike could be used as a marketing tool, too. Stitch together a strip of these images on a website for a school football team, or some pics from the Halloween parade at the elementary school (although the product is designed to run from a webcam, it's easy enough to bring a laptop to most places students would be).

Lastly, I'd like to suggest that AndThenIWasLike could be used in a film class or creative writing class as a lightweight storyboard. I was inspired by co-founder Ellen Flaherty's use of AndThenIWasLike to construct a neat record of her day in a series of images.

At any rate, if you haven't played with it yet, go there and do it. It's fun. It's easy. And frankly, it's a little addictive. Despite the maximum duration of only 3 seconds, there is a craft in maximizing your message in that time. AndThenIWasLike is easy to use, but harder to perfect. There's probably a lesson in there somewhere.

Check it out. Come back here and post your andThenIWasLike. Or suggest ways it can be used in the classroom.

...and then I was like...
...and then I was like...

About Dave


  1. I would love to see this as a packaged Chrome App or Android/iOS app. As a fitness professional, I think this tool could be very valuable when corresponding with clients - particularly when describing proper form and demonstrating exercises. I understand that apps like Vine or Instagram share the same core functionality, but I am attracted to the standalone, non-social aspect (both Vine and Instagram are inherently social, which is the exact opposite of what my use case might be).

  2. Agreed! A mobile app would make this super sweet. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before this happens (at least, I hope)...