Flip Anim provides possibly the easiest way draw and create an animated GIF. Within minutes of learning about Flip Anim on Larry Ferlazzo's blog I had created a couple of animated GIFs illustrating basic addition problems. One of those is included below.
To create an animation on Flip Anim simply go to the site and start drawing on the notepad in the center of your screen. You can draw as much or as little as you like on each page of your notepad. You're essentially drawing a piece of each animation on each page of your notepad much like the way that old cartoons were created. When you're done drawing on all of your pages you can preview the animation by pressing the play button. To save your work you do have to upload it to Flip Anim (registration is not required) then you can download it as an animated GIF.
Applications for Education
Flip Anim could be a good little tool to use for creating animated GIFs like the one in this post that simply displays the steps of a simple math problem indefinitely. Students might also like to use Flip Anim to illustrate short pieces of dialogue from a book or to just create a simple comic to display their creative writing.