If This Then That… Do More With Your Apps And Devices

If This Then That… Do More With Your Apps And Devices

Do you ever wish you could clone yourself?

I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to streamline, be more efficient, make better use of my time, and get more done without adding hours to the day. It seems impossible. There are always emails to respond to, Twitter feeds to check, weather reports to look at, photos to catalog. Now that I have found IFTTT, I almost feel like there are two of me:)
IFTTT stands for If This Then That and it is a free platform, launched in beta back in 2010,  that helps you do more with your apps and devices. It uses a formula called an “applet” that connects a service (everything from email, Twitter, Facebook, Time Magazine, Fitbit, etc.) to a “trigger” or a condition and then another service. I know it’s tricky to understand at first but this service has amazing possibilities. I worked with a teacher who was teaching an outdoor adventure-type of physical education class. He wanted a collection of his students’ photos on their camping trip and he wanted a way for them to comment and share. He had them post to Instagram using a specific hashtag he created. He used IFTTT to automatically upload the photos with that hashtag to his class blog. AMAZING!

Here are 5 examples of applets that already exist that you might find interesting.

1. If you get an email with an attachment, then it will save to your Google drive. This applet can be

helpful when you are trying to organize attachments that you get via email. This applet will automatically save those attachments for you. Once the applet is active, you don’t need to do anything except enjoy your great new organization system!
2.  Sometimes the best information comes not from the conference, but from the tweets sent out using the conference hashtag. But who has time in the day to load,
look at, and read all of those tweets. They come fast and furious once the conference gets going. This applet will automatically load tweets with a specific hashtag to a Google spreadsheet. You can look at them when you have time or just save the spreadsheet for future reference.
3. I happen to love quotes! I use them in my classes with students and I share them with friends and colleagues. I don’t always have time to look at or save the quote of the day from BrainyQuote. This applet automatically archives quotes for you in a Google spreadsheet which is automatically saved in your Google drive.

4. Not sure what to do with all of those photos on your camera roll? They are taking up space on your phone. This applet will automatically upload your camera roll to your Google drive. Automatic storage solution! I also happen to take a lot of screenshots on my phone. There is another applet (bonus) that will save those screenshots into their own folder.
5. This is one of my favorites. Every day at 6pm, or whatever time you specify, the weather report will be automatically added to your calendar. Never get stuck without your umbrella again!

Ok, hopefully you get the idea here. These are just a very few of the many, many applets that IFTTT has to offer. If you don’t see what you are looking for you can easily create your own. IFTTT walks you through how to make your own applet by connecting your services and devices by a trigger. If you are someone who uses any social media, there are many applets to help you streamline those posts. There are applets for voice assistants like Alexa or OK Google. I highly suggest that you take a look at the applet collections by clicking here. 
Are you using IFTTT? Post in the comments below and let me know what applets you have activated.


Google Forms Turned Up A Notch! Password Protect and 4 Other Amazing Google Forms Tricks

Google Forms Turned Up A Notch!

Password Protect and 4 Other Amazing Google Forms Tricks

Google forms are arguably the most transformative edtech tool in use today. They can be used for so many purposes. From submitting assignments, formative and summative assessments, and good old fashioned surveys,  to taking attendance at club meetings and opinion polls, Google forms are widely used by both teachers and students. It’s no wonder, they are simple and fast to create and user friendly for the responders. The team at Google has been making a few adjustments to Google forms that you might not know about.  Some features are still being rolled out.

 Sit tight because these 5 tips might make your head explode!

1. Password Protect Your Form With Response Validation

Don’t want just anyone to be able to access and complete your form? No problem, you can create a “password” by using response validation.  This one isn’t really so new but many people don’t know about it.
Here’s a pictorial of the 3 steps to follow:
1.Just click the three dots next to the Required tab and click response validation. Make sure you are in short answer mode. Don’t forget to make the question required.
2. Here is where you can set the parameters.
3. For a password, set it to “Text” “Contains” and then enter the password EXACTLY how it must be entered to use.  Where it says “Custom Error Text”  write in something like- wrong password, try again.

2.  New Question Type: The Checkbox Grid

This new type of question option allows your respondents to choose from multiple options in a table. This is really helpful for things like finding meeting times. You set the rows. The example here shows the days of the week. You then set the columns. The image here shows one with class periods on it.
Here is what the checkbox grid looks like to the respondent. I could see this being used in many ways for multiple disciplines. I’m thinking characters and traits, equations and properties, figures in history and events. I know you will put this one to good use!

3. File Upload Capabilities:

Finally! Our suggestions have been heard and Google has added the ability for respondents to upload a file into the form. When you add a question, just choose “file upload”. You will see the options below. Everything from an image, PDF, video, audio file and more. You can have them add multiple files and set the maximum size allowed.

4. Give Feedback In Quiz Mode:

Of course you know that Google forms now has quiz mode where you can assign points and even give an answer key. The form will grade itself! If you set the grades to be released manually, the email addresses will automatically be collected AND you can give feedback within the quiz. When your students get their grades, they will see the feedback you left for them within the questions.
Here is what the quiz settings look like:

5. Set Preferences that will apply for ALL of your forms!

Are you sick and tired of marking every question as required? Well now you can set preferences for your forms. You can automatically collect respondent’s email addresses, mark all questions required, and even preset point values for quiz questions. Once you set your preferences, that will be the default setting for all of your forms. Click the three dots in the upper righthand section of your screen and open Preferences.
Here is what the preferences options look like:

Coming Soon! Look for Intelligent Response Validation.

How are you using Google forms?
Go ahead and post in the comments below.
Want to work on these together? I’m happy to work with you and show you how to use these features in a way that makes sense for you and your classroom.