I admit, I’m a little late to the party, and my recipes are simple to say the least. But you know, one of the very best things about learning and working with students and fellow educators is always being fortunate enough to find more to learn! There is no shortage of ideas that can be done.
My main work is with professionals – teachers in schools and post school settings. So we are not talking new learners! Now I don’t buy the digital native argument for a minute, but I do wring my hands in despair at educators who don’t keep their minds and hearts open to exploration, innovation, and learning in whatever way is needed to ensure that the role we play as an educator is guaranteed to be useful – even if only in a very small way.
Yet I understand things not always coming easily. If you can’t ‘find the URL’ to a item, I’ll help you learn (yes, I still get asked that question). But I’d much rather you asked me a complex question about professional practice, information curation, or ways or managing information flow. Why? Because these are some of the key challenges for educators.
So back to that basic recipe I mentioned – yes, I finally faced up to the fact that I NEED to be using IFTTT for more effective information gathering as part of my subject delivery processes. I have my colleague Dean Groom to thank for the final push. We’re playing in INF541 Game Based Learning, a subject which Dean is teaching after heading the writing team of Groom and O’Connell again. Wow, the years have flown since we got into online environments and virtual worlds with our small books back in 2010.
But nothing has changed since then. Still learning. Dean showed me how to set up IFTT to gather a running record of what’s happening in our subjects, and how to push that information back out as part of our participatory learning experience.
What is IFTTT?
IFTTT empowers you with creative control over the products and apps you love. Recipes are simple connections between products and apps. I knew this, and until now the only recipe I had running was an email of a new recipe to me each week. But I never did anything else. Dreadful.
The amazing thing is that IF Recipes run automatically in the background. Create powerful connections with one simple statement — if this then that.
So now I am using three recipes, taken from shared recipes available at the site, and also one customized by Dean.
Now we are both doing the following:
- Collecting all the tweets with the subject #hastag in a Google spreadsheet.
- Collecting all the blog posts that relate to the subject from my Feedly category to a Google spreadsheet
- Sending back to twitter the new posts that turn up in the Google spreadsheet.
This is all automatic. What does this allow?
Participatory sharing ||| Data collection ||| Subject tracking |||
— Judy O’Connell (@heyjudeonline) March 26, 2015
Now we have the opportunity to quickly confirm (or otherwise) the extent of a students actual participation in the back-channel as part of the course experience – a vital part of monitoring student engagement and program effectiveness. There are many other formal channels, of course, but the social media aspect was one that I was never quite happy about.