Mobile app offers rewards for not using smartphone in the classroom
A new app is doing something professors haven’t been able to do in years: get their students to pay attention in class.
Smartphones can be a distraction in the classroom. An app called Pocket Points may help ease that distraction.
The idea was created in 2014 by Mitch Gardner and Rob Richardson, two students and fraternity brothers at Chico State in Northern California.
The two men noticed people are addicted to their phones. So they decided to find a way to help students pay more attention in class.
Soon after Pocket Point’s launch, it was a hit at Chico State. The app has since expanded to more than 200 schools in the United States and Canada.
Using “geo-fencing,” a GPS “fence” around the campus, the app can track an individual’s location to know whether he or she is on university grounds. Points are earned over a span of time with the app open and the phone locked.
Jacob Wendrickx, a Ball State sophomore, says he has earned 230 points.
“Not only are you not using your phone,” Wendrick said. “But you get an award for doing that.”
Points can then be redeemed for rewards at local businesses, like Insomnia Cookies, Let’s Spoon, TIS Bookstore and more.
George Barr works at Insomnia Cookies and sees the students use the app a lot.
“It definitely brings in a lot of business,” Barr said.
Pocket Points also has more than 1,200 merchants across the country supporting the app.