If This Then That (IFTTT) is a tool which helps automate some online actions, which you may already do one-by-one, to save you the time of doing it step by step. The premise is simple – you set up what you want to happen when something else happens, and IFTTT then does it, automatically every time that “trigger” happens.
So you may have a class blog. When you publish a blogpost you may want to let others know it has happened. You can set up IFTTT to send an email automatically to colleagues with whom your class is working when a post is posted from your class blog.
You may have a class birdbox with webcam. And you may have a class Twitter account where you post updates on what is happening. With IFTTT you can set up for a Twitter message to be sent with a snapshot image attachment every hour (or any time interval of your choice). Without any need for your further intervention your class Twitter account then has a sequence of images showing what’s happening in the birdbox.
IFTTT has a bank of hundreds of user-created “recipes” – essentially processes which someone else has already set up to suit them, but with the steps shared so you can take advantage of the setup already being done – avoiding you re-inventing the wheel! You can browse these or search on a topic. Browsing might reveal ideas you may wish to use but of which you hadn’t even thought – opening up possibilities. And you can adapt any recipe to suit your own needs.
So how would you use this in the classroom?
Szymon Machajewski describes some ways he has used IFTTT in his classroom.
The PE Geek (in his blog describing ways in which ICT can be used to enhance PE teaching) describes ways in which he uses IFTTT in the classroom.
T J Houston describes some of the ways he uses IFTTT to help him in automating some classroom routines.
IFTTT has a bank of hundereds of “Recipes” which you can browse or search.
Stan Skrabut has put together a host of resources showing ways of using IFTTT in education – including links to further resources and videos.
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Zapier is an alternative online tool which lets you choose specific actions from online tools and combine them to create another action in another online tool. This is a commercial product but has a free version which may be sufficient for many needs. Users pick the “trigger” from one service and the “action” to be carried out automatically on another online tool. “A Zap is a blueprint for a task you want to do over and over. In words, a Zap looks like this: When I get a new thing in A, do this other thing in B. The first part is the trigger and the second part is the action. Zapier regularly checks your trigger for new data. When the Zap triggers, Zapier automatically performs your action for you.”