Friday, July 11, 2014

Using FormMule and IFTTT for a moderated student twitter feed.

This project has been updated to use the new Google Sheets and formMule add-on, read about it here
Just about a year ago, I had the pleasure of camping with +Jasper Fox. We talked about Twitter in the classroom as we sat around the fire.  As usual, the conversation was great, we strategized about a Google form that a would allow students to compose tweets and the teacher to moderate them directly to Twitter. It took me a year to realize this simple workflow, but I think my teachers will love it in September. It’s purposeful, student centered, helps to reinforce digital citizenship, has an authentic audience, and promotes a positive home/school connection: win, win, win, win, and win.

This recipe has five components:
  • A simple Google Form linked to an “old” spreadsheet
  • The FormMule Script from New Visions for Public Schools (thus the “old” spreadsheet)
  • A Gmail account created specifically for this process
  • An If This Then That recipe
  • A classroom Twitter account

First, create a simple Google form with a one paragraph text question for the exit ticket. This PDF from Classroomfreebies was the inspiration. I used data validation to set the maximum character count of the question to 140. Then unlink the form from the original spreadsheet, create a copy of this “old” spreadsheet, and relink the form to the new copy.

Then, add a column labeled “Moderated” to the responses sheet and install the New Visions FormMule script. After initializing the script, proceed to step 2A and set FormMule to fire an email when the moderated column equals “1.”

After Initializing FormMule, you will see a new sheet titled Email1 Template.” Go to this sheet and set the “To” field to equal the gmail address where you want the moderated tweets sent. The “body” should equal the header of tweet column. You can copy  and paste the variables from the bottom of the sheet. For my example, the merge variable needs to be: “${"What would you like to tweet about today? "}”  The tweet is ready to be sent when a teacher puts a “1” in the “moderated” column. Now, all the teacher needs to do is “perform the merge” in the Form Mule menu and the moderated student exit tickets get emailed to the special gmail account.

Finally, set up an IFTTT recipe that forwards the body of any email sent to the gmail account to the class Twitter feed. This recipe was successful for me. And there you have it - a Google form that can collect exit tickets from your students, and tweet them to the class feed when you moderate them. Let me know if you make this better, or use it in your classroom!