IFTTT: A Digital Secretary for Physical Educators

I have recently invested some time in learning about an Internet service called If This Then That (IFTTT). IFTTT is an automation system that links different internet services together. For example, when you write a reminder in the reminder app, IFTTT can automatically put the reminder in your Google calendar. This is called a IFTTT recipe.

As physical educators, we are always looking for ways to streamline our workload. We are very busy individuals who teach a high-volume of classes as well as many students. Having an automation systems set up can help you quickly to  take care of tasks. I really like recipes that allow me to send SMS messages (iMessages) that automatically create tasks or notes for myself in programs like Evernote and Google Calendar. Below are three ways I am using IFTTT with SMS messages to streamline my workload.

IMG_1462If you’ve read any of my other blogs on systematic observation you know I believe that reflection is a pivotal part of self-improvement as an educator. However, I do find that it is difficult to find time to reflect. Using IFTTT I have found a way to do simple reflections during class or directly after by combing the use of iMessages and Evernote. I searched through different recipes IFTTT had to offer and found one that allows you to archive iMessages directly to an Evernote notebook. I created a notebook in Evernote titled “Reflections” and set up the IFTTT recipe



to transfer every iMessage I send to IFTTT with #reflect directly to my reflection notebook. I find this to be a helpful tool when I am in the middle of teaching and quickly want to make a reflection about something that has occurred within class that I can improve on. I then access all of my reflection information at the end of the day in Evernote.

Secondly, I have also created a recipe  similar to this one that allows me to leave a quick voicemail with IFTTT. This voicemail is then saved as an audio file in my reflection notebook. IFTTT titles the note with the first few words of my voicemail.
There are times when it is important to follow-up with individual students but I don’t always have the opportunity to speak to them before they leave class. I have set up a recipe that allows me to write an iMessage with #followup that is then sent directly to my Evernote “Follow-up” notebook. This helps ensure that I will remember to touch base with that particular student at a later date.
IMG_1461Lastly, I find that during my day important tasks may slip my mind. I found a recipe that allows me to iMessage events to specific days on my Google Calendar using the tag #cal. After the event has been put on my calendar, I then have another recipe set up that will send me a text on the day of event to remind me. This allows me to quickly add meetings and tasks to my calendar and then be reminded of them all without having to access my Google Calendar.
I now use SMS messages and voicemails with IFTTT as my digital secretary. I have found IFTTT to be a very useful tool for my teaching. Evernote and Google Calendar are easy to use by themselves but using IFTTT automation makes life even easier. I recommend you take a look at the various recipes that have been created on the IFTTT website. There are a various recipes for iOS and Android. You can also create your own recipe if you can’t find what you are looking for. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

3 Comments on “IFTTT: A Digital Secretary for Physical Educators

  1. This is great Collin. I was really just thinking the other day to myself – how can I better reflect on a variety of things during and right after each class efficiently with a digital platform. Thanks for your efforts and explanation (and reading my mind) 🙂 – I am going to play with this and some recipes.

  2. Pingback: Apps to Help Streamline Your #PhysEd Workload | PHYSEDAGOGY

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