June 2016: Make the Web work for you

Kathy's Katch

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 6.13.10 AM

Want to make the Web work for you? Then IFTTT is the tool you must use!

IFTTT, If This Than That, is an online tool and mobile app, IF, that allows you to connect two online-connected services you already use and link them together to automatically precipitate an event or complete a task. This linking is called a “recipe” and these recipes can do everything from saving every Tweet you pen on a Google Sheet to sending an SMS to a family member when you are two miles away from arriving home! (For those of you that want to know how to pronounce this service, it is “ift”!)

A recipe is made up of two parts– the trigger (if this) and the action (then that). Contributors to the site create and share the recipes and you also have the ability to make your own. Here are a few user-generated samples.

IFTTT recipe

                                                                        IFTTT sample recipes

 

Not every tool or device you use will  be included in the list of tools/sites that can used in a recipe. But many of the most common ones are included. Below is a video that both shows you the current list of apps and items that are supported, as well as demonstrates how to create your own personal IFTTT recipe.The recipe I created in the video will send an email to me each time someone fills out the contact form on my Weebly page.

 

There are two things I want to point out in the video. First, you need to provide IFTTT with your username and password for the applications you want to connect to. Second, you can decide to share your recipe with the rest of the the IFTTT community. It is always nice to “pay it forward” and share something unique you develop! You can also pause your recipes from running if you need to take a break from them. It is easy to turn them back on, too.

IFTTT also includes another set of tools and three mobile apps, DO Button, DO Camera and DO Note, which allow you to tap the button and “do it yourself”. These recipes allow you to create your own button and start something, end something, take a photo and send it somewhere, etc., manually, versus the automatic running of the IFTTT recipes. These recipes look like this.

DO sample recipes

                                                                     DO sample recipes

Note the small icons in the bottom right of the colored section of the DO recipes – the first one is a DO Button recipe, the second a DO Camera recipe, and the third one a DO Note recipe. Remember, these recipes are not automatic. You use them when you want the recipe to run.

 

IFTTT IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE

There are many posts on the Web that list the 5, 10, or 100 “best” IFTTT recipes. I feel that any recipe that automates something and either saves you time or helps you out should be considered a “best” recipe. I combed through the links listed at the bottom of this post and picked out some of my favorite recipes.

  • IF: Send your Facebook status to Twitter, or vice versa by including a hashtag
  • IF: Use SMS with a #FB tag to change your Facebook status
  • IF: Add new US movie release dates to your Google Calendar
  • IF: Get an email whenever there is a free iTunes song download available
  • IF: Automatically download any new Google Doodle to your Dropbox
  • IF: Email your smartphone photos to yourself after you take them
  • IF: Set the time your Belkin WeMo switch turns on and off
  • IF: Automatically share your Instagram pictures to Flickr
  • IF: Save your new Instagram photos to Dropbox
  • IF: When you arrive at the grocery store, text a specific person to see if they need anything
  • IF: Get NOAA severe weather alerts via SMS
  • IF: Send your receipts from a trip to Google Drive
  • IF: Save liked Instagram photos to Google Drive, OneDriveDropbox, or your iOS Photos
  • IF: Send someone your location via email (or use their text messaging email address)
  • IF: Share your favorite recipes to Twitter
  • DO Button: Get an email with your current location
  • DO Button: Send an email with your current location (use text messaging address for SMS)
  • DO Camera: Save receipts to Evernote
  • DO Camera: Email yourself a photo
  • DO Camera: Put together a visual shopping list in Evernote
  • DO Button: Trigger a phone call to yourself to get out of an awkward situation
  • DO Button: Let someone know you are heading home (use text messaging address for SMS)
  • DO Camera: Tweet a photo

IFTTT IN THE CLASSROOM

  • IF: Get any comments on your blog sent to you via SMS
  • IF: Append everything you post on Twitter to a new row in a Google Drive spreadsheet
  • IF: Get notified via SMS when the International Space Station passes overhead
  • IF: Convert a DOC or PDF file in a Dropbox folder to Kindle format
  • IF: Save any new photo you take to your Dropbox account
  • IF: Call yourself to create new tasks
  • IF: Text to make Google Calendar events
  • IF: Create a bit.ly address for any iPhone screenshot you take
  • IF: Get a notification when a specific Gmail address sends you an email
  • IF: Log daily rainfall in your city to a Google spreadsheet
  • IF: Get an SMS message before any event starts on your Google calendat
  • IF: Create a Google calendar entry from a voicemail message
  • IF: Send any RSS feed to Twitter
  • IF: Track specific Wikipedia article changes via SMS
  • IF: Save Gmail email attachments to Google Drive
  • IF: If you star an email in Gmail, a reminder is created
  • IF: Every time you take an iOS screenshot, upload it to Google Drive
  • IF: If a students sends you homework as an email attachment, put it in a specific folder on Google Drive
  • IF: If your students publish a post on a class blog or upload a YouTube video to the class collection, publish that info to your classroom or school Facebook page
  • IF: Save Twitter favorites to Evernote, a Google Sheet, a Slack channel, or a weekly email digest
  • IF: When you leave home, get shown your to-do list
  • IF: Create Twitter lists around a hashtag
  • DO Camera: Save a photo to Dropbox.
  • DO Note: Quickly email yourself a note
  • DO Note: Add a note to a OneNote notebook
  • DO Button: Create a digest of notes for tomorrow
  • DO Camera: Upload a photo to Dropbox, Facebook, Google Drive, or Flickr
  • DO Button: Keep track of where you were this week

Sites with recipe recommendations for students and teachers

USING IFTTT WITH DISCOVERY EDUCATION

LINKS TO THE IFTTT MOBILE APPS

Do you use IFTTT and/or the DO buttons in your personal life or classroom? Have you found recipes you think are great? Have you created your own? Please share in the comments!

 

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