Some participants in the SPbU Start-Up – 2019 contest have developed an innovative mobile application, which they call Historical Maximum. It is a series of educational quests that can be used to study the history and culture of St Petersburg, and to focus on events and historical figures of a specific era. A beta version of the application will soon be available to download in the Google Play and App Store.
The first quest that the students developed was a present for their alma mater on its 295th birthday and is dedicated to the history of St Petersburg University. They have set up racks with QR codes around the University and are planning to launch the application this week. The route of the quest includes the key landmarks and iconic sites of the University. The rules for this and other quests are the same. All participants must go physically from station to station in a clearly defined order. At each destination, they must mark it off, using the mobile application, thereby gaining access to the task.
All of the tasks are designed in such a way that the answer cannot be found quickly on the Internet. It takes around 45-60 minutes to go through one quest, and, if they have successfully completed it, a participant, as a gift, will be given access to the next one.
Historical Maximum is primarily meant to be educational and only after that, entertaining. It’s no secret that motivating a person to learn something new, and that includes the history of the city, is more difficult than simply entertaining them. We have tried to make the educational process interesting and engrossing.
Team captain Valentina Chikina, a fourth-year History student
In the future, these students plan to create dozens of urban historical quests centered around St Petersburg. They have already developed two of them: ‘I am getting ready for the USE with St Petersburg’ and ‘SPB: Russia or Europa’. The first one will be suitable for high school students who are planning to take the USE (Unified State Exam) or the BSE (Basic State Exam) in History. It covers all of the sights that are found on the state exams and includes tasks modelled after those that are used on them. The second quest was put together with tourists in mind: the tasks are all in English, and the main route goes through the Peter and Paul Fortress.
The Historical Maximum team has been doing quests for three years, although not in an online format. Among those already well-established are Historic October, dedicated to the centenary of the October Revolution, and The Mystery of the Rising Sun, about Japanese culture and history, but there are many others.
Apart from Valentina Chikina, also involved in the project are fourth-year students Iasyn Abdullaev, who is in the History programme, and Stanislav Golikov, who is studying Law, along with Egor Krasilnikov, a student of Applied Mathematics, Fundamental Informatics and Programming. St Petersburg University Associate Professor and Candidate of History Mikhail Belousov is the team’s research supervisor.