Have you ever started using a new app or piece of software and thought “there must be a better way to do this?”, or when posting to social media thought, “if only there was a way to automate this?” Chances are, someone else has thought the same and created a code, applet or “recipe” that helps with this process. This has been the case for me, especially as I explore and learn more about new ways to deliver content. This may be for work-related productivity, or to automate (and filter) feeds information through social media. Some examples of this include:
-IF I add a new event to my iOS Calendar, THEN it is also added to my Google Calendar
-IF I enter within a defined perimeter of work, THEN log this as “Entered Work” on my Calendar. Do the same for when I exit the perimeter as “Exited Work”
-IF I make a new blog post in WordPress, THEN also enter the post into an assigned Google Plus account
-IF I make a new blog post in WordPress, THEN Tweet this post
Reflection on Benefits
Introducing IFTTT- a free platform that helps you connect apps and devices you use. It is based on the “If This, Then That” principle, in that if an event happens in one device or app then an applet (or Recipe) will automate a process in another app or device. Basically, it cuts your “updating” in half.
Along with work-related apps, there is a multitude of social IFFT applets available.
-IF there is a new Spotify track on a playlist, THEN notify me on my iOS
-IF I connect to my car’s Bluetooth, THEN set my phone’s ringer volume to 100%
-IF I take a photo in a particular location, THEN add it to a specific album
Bottom line, if you ask the question “I wonder if I could automate having to do one thing in one app, that I am already doing in another?”, probability is that someone else has asked the same question and already created an applet (or Recipe) for you.
Reflection on Constraints
The main constraints to using IFTTT are the number of apps that it “connects” to. That being said, there is such a multitude that you would be hard pressed NOT to find something that meets your needs as these are created by IFTTT, users and app developers themselves. You too can take an applet and customise it to your need as this is a community that aims to share and support the needs. Applets have been created for Google, iOS, Android, Evernote, WordPress, Activity Trackers, voice assistants and even wifi controlled lights and smoke detectors… There’s something for everyone.
Impact on Teaching or Learning
By adding IFTTT to my life, it has certainly simplified some aspects of my work, or otherwise provides me with some data on “how” I am working. This includes:
– Recording my work hours based on location into iOS calendar and Google Spreadsheet
– Automatically sending a post to Twitter and Google Plus when I publish a new blog to my WordPress
– Archiving posts to Evernote
– Syncronising my iOS and Google Calendar information
– Saving Contacts to a backup Google Spreadsheet
All of the above has enabled me more time (and reassurance) to get things done.
Deployment and Support: Providing Training/ Other Form
When introducing colleagues to IFTT, I am able to refer them to this page and following bullet-points of “How to use”:
- The first thing you need to do is register with IFTTT (www.IFTTT.com). Do this on any mobile device first (as most likely will be linking apps with each other and/ or devices), then later log on with your other internet based devices.
- Next search for a “recipe” based on the app that you are wanting to connect. Here we will consider iOS Reminders and Evernote, where I want to be able to save any reminders on my phone to an Evernote to-do list. When I type in “Reminders”, IFTTT narrows down to show me a link to that app, and then Applets that have already been created.
- Click on the Applet that best suits- in this case, “Save my iOS reminders to and Evernote checklist.
- Some Applets have options to be able to customise the Recipe (i.e be more specific as to what you want it to do- email addresses, folders to attribute to, etc). Click the “Settings” icon on the top right of the Applet to customise
- Next, flick the switch to “Turn on”
- While you are logged in to IFFT, you will be able to see all the Applets you have in use, view their activity log, customise or delete them.
Aligning with Gavriel Salomon’s (1979) Symbol Systems learning theory that the acquisition of knowledge can be gained by different media depending on the learner- I have created a tutorial video of the above: http://bit.ly/IFTTTReminderEvernote
Those completing their CMALT accreditation might want to consider:
Word Press to Google Plus (https://ifttt.com/applets/53105704d-wp-to-google-plus)
Word Press to Twitter (https://ifttt.com/applets/52738835d-tweet-my-wordpress-blog-posts)
Word Press to Evernote (https://ifttt.com/applets/GH8jk9AK-archive-new-posts-to-an-evernote-notebook)
Salomon, G. (1979). Interaction of Media, Cognition, and Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.