Illustration by Gemma Fa-Kaji
Sproul Plaza and the broader Telegraph area is one of the most essential and iconic locations that the UC Berkeley Campus has to offer. From being the streets of social justice to featuring fantastic food options, this area truly encapsulates the culture of UC Berkeley. Without it, the university, or Berkeley for that matter, would not be the same.
During the 1960s and ’70s, Sproul and Telegraph served as places of protest for social justice, women’s rights, racial equality and the insurance of other basic rights. Many accredit these protests to the Free Speech Movement and the more general Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Many of us at Berkeley High School (BHS), have in fact learned about these important historical events in our classrooms, but we lack an understanding of the history on a deeper level.
Thus, Guidekick, a company dedicated to creating interactive educational experiences, has released an app for iPhones that allows tourists and other interested folk to do just that: learn about Telegraph through interacting with the exemplary street.
“Looking around telegraph with this app really changed my perspective,” said Andre Assadi, a BHS junior. “It’s an area with rich history and I’m happy it exists.”
The app features two main methods of use: map mode and list mode. In map mode, users are shown a map of the area that is annotated with various types of icons that indicate points of interest. The user can toggle the different points of interest to be either Narrated, Historic, or Architectural. Users can see their location relative to the points of interest and use this information to uncover Telegraph’s gems. If a user wishes to learn about the location they are examining, they can simply tap on the icon they are next to in order to pull up relevant history regarding that place. Many of the emphasized locations within the app include auditory narration rather than simply text. The combination of the map of important locations along with the various aesthetically pleasing ways to learn about these points of interest creates a fun, interesting and informative way to learn about Berkeley’s unique history.
The app also contains a list mode. If users are not actually at Sproul, they can use the list mode part of the app to access the same information found within map mode providing a way to learn about the area for people who aren’t directly on site.
“I found that the app is quite intuitive to use and the overall layout and style is both appealing and simple so it doesn’t overwhelm the user,” said BHS junior Dominick Nettesheim.
Guidekick provides a useful and fun way to learn about the tumultuous history of UC Berkeley in an accessible and hands-on. The combination of its beautiful user interface, intuitive map option, and useful content provides for a great user experience! Perhaps innovative apps such as Guidekick are a preview of a future with more interactive and educational technology.