Make the internet work for you! #ifttt

When I was recently on the “State of Tech Podcast” Episode 9 – Interactive Whiteboards – Part 1 Sean Beavers shared a great tool which has saved me a lot of time and automated much of my internet tasks that have been deemed repetitive in the passed. This service can be used for simple things like sending you a text message if it is going to rain tomorrow or change your Facebook picture when you change your twitter profile.  Lets check out If this than that!

As you can see from the home page, the ifttt slogan is “Put the internet to work for you!” thats exactly what the service does. The way the service works is based on triggers. If something happens in one service than do something on this service. As an example, every time an event comes up in my Google Calendar I get a text message to alert me of the event. This is great for when I may not have a data connection or a poor data connection I can still get the alert.

To get started create a free account:

After you create your account check out some of the pre-built recipes to get ideas. Utilizing others recipes saves you time and prevents “Re-inventing the wheel”.

There are several different “Channels” that you can utilize as either trigger. You can see below the available channels (The ones that are grey are ones that I do not use but they are available):

To create a task click “Tasks” when you click tasks.

After you click taks you will get a screen that looks like this:

To get started click “This”. After you choose you will presented with the channels to choose from.

Choose one:

After you select the channel you will see the different triggers that are available:

As you can see from this example you have granularity for the service that you choose. Choose one of the triggers. On the next screen click “Create Trigger”

On the next screen click “That”

You will than see the second trigger. Think of this step as “When this happens what do you want to happen now?” You will now see the different channels you can utilize.

After you choose a channel, select your trigger. In the example below I am sending myself a text message.

Click on the trigger that you would like to use. On the next page you enter in information about the trigger IE how you would like to format the message. You can see below how I setup the information about the calendar event.

After you setup the options click “Create Action”. The last step is to give it a name / description.

Your all done!

I have setup several different tasks, I have a text message sent to me whenever a helpdesk ticket is created (could be sent to multiple techs). I have a weather task to tell me if it will be raining the next day. I also get texts for calendar events like I showed in the example.There are so many possibilities that can make your life easier.

What tasks have you setup? How could you use this in the classroom?

P.S. For fun check out the “Get me out of here” phone call

(I cannot confirm nor deny I have used this 🙂 )

TJ Houston

TJ Houston is the Director of Technology at Shelby City Schools and New London Local Schools for Epiphany Management. TJ leads professional development in all areas of technology and loves developing ways to make teachers, students, and staff's lives easier with the use of technology. TJ also loves photography and his portfolio can be found at All of the views on this site are his own.