Tackk: Student Websites For Drama Made Easy
If you ever wanted your students to create interesting websites for projects in drama class but you don’t have any technical expertise, then Tackk may be just what you’ve been looking for.
Still in its Beta phase (preview/early access), Tackk is nevertheless open to any member of the public. There weren’t any bugs that I discovered while using it and the software appeared complete with features, though I’m sure more will be added later down the track.
In my opinion, Tackk is best used with primary/elementary or junior secondary/high school students. Although many adults are currently using Tackk across the world, I think while senior high school students will find Tackk useful, they will probably want more feature-rich website creation software for their drama project.
The difference between Tackk and a regular website is that a Tackk is just one long page. It is called a Tackk because the developers consider creating a Tackk similar to tacking a message on a pin board or a telephone pole in the street outside. Tackks are best used for simple projects that are not overly complicated.
Having said that, Tackks are very Web 2.0 with a handy drag and drop interface for inserting images. Everything happens server side (nothing is on your computer, as such). If I created a blog using the popular WordPress software, the dashboard (admin panel) and the blog everyone will see, look quite different. However the back end and front end of a Tackk look almost the same. The editing functions such as font style, text colour, background design and colour etc are located to the side of the page. Because the Tackk itself is narrow in width, the editing panel sits comfortably to its right. Other basic editing functions include hover-over boxes that appear at various locations in the Tackk for inserting new headings etc. Media such as YouTube videos can also be easily embedded.
There are limitations to a Tackk, however. Font sizes seem to be only three predetermined ones set by the software. Background patterns etc are limited to the theme or template chosen and at this stage there are only half a dozen generic themes to choose from. But by the time one plays around with all of the options within a single theme, there’s enough variety to keep most students happy. One experience I have had over the years using WordPress blogs with my drama students is that they love to theme their blog to express their personality and keep it different to other students in the same class.
At the very bottom of each Tackk is the popular Facebook social plugin. This does not mean your students have to connect with Facebook in any way, it simply means the developers have used this plugin to allow visitors to the Tackk (classmates, teacher etc) to comment on aspects of the Tackk. Yes, the comments look like Facebook comments, but the comments themselves are all on the Tackk, not Facebook. Having said this, if the user wants to share their Tackk around the web, they simply have to use one or more of the popular social media buttons provided on the Tackk, itself.
The great thing about Tackk is that you don’t need to create an account to use it if you don’t want to. Each new Tackk is automatically saved on Tackk’s servers for a few weeks. As the Tackk is being created it has its own unique web address. If the user wants to have the Tackk kept for a longer period, then a simple username, password and email address is needed to quickly create a free account. After this, the user can create as many Taccks as they like, all for free and accessible at any time.