UpTell: Reach Outside Your Bubble

A few people were asking me about our Hackathon pitch so I thought I would share some more details about it.

As I had mentioned in earlier posts, we decided to tackle the issue of re-segregation in schools. Students who lived close by weren’t actually interacting with each other.

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The solution we proposed was a multimedia storytelling web-based tool for middle schoolers. Students could create stories by composing music, recording their voice, drawing, writing, using video, or making with a friend. We wanted the tools to be accessible for all learners. We decided on the name UpTell because you are telling a story and uploading it. Bigger picture we thought these stories might uplift communities and foster better communication.

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We struggled with whether this would be an open or closed network. Ideally, it would be an open and safe environment, but the reality is that this creates the potential for there to be negative comments or abuse (i.e. YouTube). We thought about making it anonymous, but then we wanted there to be some accountability in case there was some abuse. We also thought that if it were completely anonymous, it might not allow others to make connections and see you as a person. So, we decided it would be a private network – students would need a code from their school to join. However, they could choose whether to use their real image or avatars as their icon.

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When you log in, you can either build an UpTell or explore other UpTells.


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This is what the Build my UpTell dashboard would look like:

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You could also explore other UpTells. Each UpTell would be tagged and categorized, and these stories would be connected. The idea was that completely different people who might not have otherwise connected might find they share a similar story. Users could explore their interests and also see what is trending in their community, filtered through their specific interests:

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The other interaction we added was the ability to comment on each UpTell. This way, students could begin to have conversations around their stories and make connections.

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We also had other concepts, such as connecting different schools in an area and calling it a “neighborhood.” This way, schools could potentially foster activities beyond the website.

In case anyone is interested in looking at the PDF, here it is:

UpTell Pitch-Desktop


4 thoughts on “UpTell: Reach Outside Your Bubble

  1. Congrats again! In many ways, I feel like your project is a combination of Connectivism and Constructionism. It connects diverse people across the nation by allowing them to build their own stories. The potential of this peer to peer learning is immense.


  2. I love this idea, thanks for sharing! The problem you are talking about here resonates with me based on my experiences with students. I also have been thinking a lot about the impact of story telling recently and how it can be used to change mindsets about people. Congrats on your work!


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