May 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Tackk, Twitter, and Teenagers

As a notorious early adopter of technology tools, I’m always excited to share tips and tricks with staff and students in my school.

I’m even more excited when teachers approach me to integrate new tools into their lessons and projects.  With their content expertise and my tech know-how, collaboration comes naturally and benefits everyone. One such successful alliance wound up hinging on Tackka Pinterest-esque forum for customizing and sharing pages with a variety of creative content.

A Prime Partnership Opportunity

Last semester, a high school history teacher approached me about incorporating technology into an upcoming project on Roosevelt’s New Deal as a part of the Great Depression unit for U.S. History.  After research, students would need to evaluate and explain what they believed were the three most important New Deal programs.

He explained the project had traditionally been created in a poster format, but wanted to do something “different.”

So we discussed the student outcomes he was hoping for and tools we could use to accomplish them.  Our shared vision came to be students demonstrating each of the four main ISTE Student Standards, with emphasis on 2 (Communication and Collaboration) and 3 (Research and Information Fluency).  Students would work in pairs to plan their approach, find the information, and then create and share their project.

Tackk sets the project in motion

After also considering Smore, the teacher and I decided that Tackk would be the best online tool for students to leverage for the assigned project.

We decided to co-teach one period of each of his history classes. I would teach the students Tackk basics, while he outlined the project requirements. Before long, each of his class periods had set up Tackk accounts. They were able to add pictures, videos, and text to their online poster/webpage, as well as publish it.

During the next week, I worked with many students face to face as they stopped in the library with questions about Tackk.  Strangely enough, actually making the Tackk “public” seemed to be what students most often had trouble with.

Twitter takes it to the next level

I also took questions from the students (and the teacher!) via Twitter. It was fun for the teacher and me to see his students working and helping each other both in class and online as they went about trying to finish their projects in the prescribed three-day timeframe.

The teacher as well as the principal joined Gick in tweeting about the project

The teacher as well as the principal joined Gick in tweeting about the project

The last lesson I taught the students was how to share their finished projects on Twitter. The teacher had established the hashtags #RHSEcon and #RHSHist for his classes.  Comments could also be made directly on Tackk.

The benefits of using Tackk versus poster board and glue were many.  First, students were able to incorporate multimedia into their projects in the form of videos and GIFS in addition to still pictures.  Second, students knew their projects have a global audience.  Sharing on Twitter allowed other educators to follow the hashtag as well as let students share projects with a re-tweet.

Increasing the audience beyond the teacher and classmates changed the students’ approach to the project in a very positive way.  Utilizing social media (Twitter) seemed to be a game changer for many of the students.  For some it was another positive to the project but for other non-twitter users, it was a negative.  Links to these Tackk projects were shared via email and then tweeted out by the teacher.  All students had the opportunity to view others’ Tackk projects and comment appropriately. They enjoyed that social aspect of this new project process.

Of course, I tweeted my joy at introducing the students to Tackk, both from my personal and library account with the designated hashtag #RHSHist.

If you haven’t tried out the Tackk and Twitter combo with high school students, it’s definitely worth exploring.


Sherry Gick is president, ISTE Librarians Network, and library and instructional technology specialist for Rossville Consolidated Schools, Rossville, IN. She is also one of Library Journal‘s 2015 Movers and Shakers

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  1. Anne Akers says:

    Sherry – Could you share how you assessed student work to show they met the learning outcomes? Thanks!