Audience: youthworker, teachers

Organising institution:

Modern Poland





Key question:

How to talk about emotions with help of new technologies, apps and GIFs?


  • develop skills of recognizing and naming emotions,
  • develop self-expression skills,
  • develop openness, ability to interact with strangers,
  • gain competencies of using programmes and apps.


6 hours.

Software and apps to be used:

  • Smartphones,
  • Pixlr app,
  • Legend app,
  • InShot app.

Brief presentation:

We invite participants to take a look at emotions from different points of view. The first task is to tell stories about emotions using only emoticons, not words. It makes us face the question if it is possible to communicate by using only emoticons, without words. We use plasticine on participants’ faces to make characters of our stories and take photos of them in order to create comics and storyboards. Participants use their skills of taking photos to develop the competencies of telling stories.

Topics covered:

  • collage,
  • gif,
  • spot,
  • new technology,
  • social relations.

Civic engagement:

Self-awareness, developing social relations through discussions, common choices, developing verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

Preparation of space for the Atelier:

Move away the tables to get free space in the center of the room. Put all materials you need during workshop on tables. Put emoticons on the sticks in two corners of the room. Make sure you have enough space in the room to move around. You need a room with a screen, projector connected to a laptop and internet.

Materials needed:

  • emoticons on sticks,
  • large, thick sheets of paper in various colours (also black),
  • plasticine,
  • paint in 5 colours,
  • big brushes,
  • paint palettes,
  • white A4 paper,
  • markers,
  • computer and projector,
  • portraits of participants printed on A4 format (ask participants to send them to you before the workshop).

Main inspirations taken from personal research:

  • emoticons,
  • pictorial codes of culture,
  • pictograms, hieroglyphic and graphic writing,
  • ways of communication of feelings in the age of technology and pictorial culture.

Mass media and social media connections:

Evaluation and assessment of effectiveness of direct and mediated communication.

How do you plan to give voice to students to present or show their personal skills and knowledge?

Participants work individually with pictures they have saved on their own smartphones. They use these pictures to make GIFs with new meaning. They have also a chance to use their competencies and skills to create video spots and comic stories.

How do you collect information as the starting point of a Digital Atelier?

Choose two volunteers (if possible two persons who don’t know a lot about each other) and ask them to start a dialogue using emoticons. Their dialogue should be concentrated on their mood and last 2-3 minutes. Discuss the topic of emotions. Direct participants’ attention to communication codes and show how important in expressing emotions is facial expression.

Introducing students to the key question - the research begings:

How to talk about emotions with help of new technologies, apps and GIFs?

Experimental phase

  1. Action that unfolds the practical activity to clarify the question: Explain what a storyboard is.
  2. Active work of the students: Divide participants into groups of 4-5 persons. Ask them to create a story in which a character experiences intense emotions. Give a large piece of paper in various colours and plasticine to the groups and ask them to record emotions of a hero of their story. Say that during this task they can use themselves as a hero. Their task is to take 4-5 pictures using smartphones. Tell them to use the paper as a frame. Show how Pixlr app works. Ask participants to create colages from photos they made earlier and send them to you.
  3. Presentation of findings and results (visualisation of information): Show all collages to all participants.
  4. Analysis of results: Together with participants try to discover the story behind emotions.

Project/design phase - part 1

  1. Second action that unfolds the practical activity: With which emotions do you start an interaction with somebody else?
  2. Active work of the students: Invite participants to work individually. Their task is to browse through a photo folder on their phones and choose one photo which was made because of intense emotions (what made them to take this photo?) Show how Legend app works. Ask participants to create a gif with a photo they have chosen earlier and to name the emotion which this photo creates in them now. Ask to share the gifs with you.
  3. Presentation of findings and results (visualisation of information): Show the gifs on the screen.
  4. Analysis of results: Conversation about factors influencing feeling emotions.

Project/design phase - part 2

  1. Third action that unfolds the practical activity: How easy is to express emotions without using words or emoticons?
  2. Active work of the students: During a break set up the space. Prepare a few tables, each with two chairs facing each other (make sure you have enough space for all participants). Put black pieces of cardboard/paper, paint, brushes and paint pallete on each table. Make sure there is enough space between tables. Each participant should have his own image (black and white photo, not smaller than A5). Invite participants to choose their seats. Encourage them to sit opposite person that they don’t know too well. Ask them to put their image (photo) in front of them. Ask which emotions we can experience during meeting with unknown people. Make togheter a list of at most 5 emotions. Ask which colour (from these that you have) can be used to show these emotions. Write down your decisions on the board. Encourage participants to work in pairs. Their task is to create an image which is an artistic record of their new relationship. It has to be a record of emotional reaction to the information which the second person shares. To create this image they can use only colours you have chosen before (they can paint with brushes or their own hands).
  3. Presentation of findings and results (visualisation of information): Make a gallery using all images created by participants.
  4. Analysis of results: Talk about emotions that can be caused by conversation.

Project/design phase - part 3

  1. Fourth action that unfolds the practical activity: How to increase the importance of emotions and expression of them?
  2. Active work of the students: Divide participants into groups of 5 persons and invite them to make a video spot about emotions. Let them choose the topic. Show InShot app and ask participants to use it to record their spot and send it to you.
  3. Presentation of findings and results (visualisation of information): Show all the spots on the screen.
  4. Analysis of results: At the end ask participants with which emotions they finish this workshop.

Approach to a new software or a new app:

During this DA participants get to know apps: Legend, Pixlr and inShot.

Links between the Digital Atelier and real life of the students:

Underline of the importance of emotions, ability to identify and express them.

How do you plan to evaluate knowledge and skills?

Evaluation of knowledge and results is made mostly by observing activity of participants.


This DA with emotions as a the main topic is for students often one of few possibilities to talk about them

The publication was created as part of the project: APP YOUR SCHOOL.

This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.