EduTech is a 9to5Mac weekly series that focuses on technology’s application in education, lower and higher level, both for productivity and enjoyment. If you have suggestions for topics or specific questions you’d like to see answered, feel free to let me know. Catch up on past installments here.
One of the hardest thing about the rise in prevalence of technology in education is staying focused during class. It can be incredibly distracting to have your phone right there with you during class, especially when it may be a lecture that’s not the most exciting thing.
That’s where Pocket Points comes in: an app that allows you to earn real-life rewards for not using your phone during class…
Pocket Points is an a free app on the app store with the central purpose of making it less enticing to use your phone during class. Pocket Points works at a variety of different colleges around the United States and the full list can be found here. It was developed by Mitch Gardner and Rob Richardson, two California State University students who realized the problem of smartphones in classrooms.
“I knew there had to be some sort of incentive to get kids to put their phones away,” Richardson said in an interview with USA Today.
The app works by using geo-fencing and your location to determine that you’re on an eligible campus. From there, you simply open the app, lock your phone, and immediately start earning points. Essentially, the longer you have Pocket Points open and don’t leave the app, the longer you can earn points.
In most cases, you earn about 1 point for every 20 minutes you don’t use your phone during class. However, the more people around you who are using Pocket Points, the faster you will accumulate points. This is part of the app’s effort to collectively reduce phone usage during class.
Pocket Points gives students rewards for not using their phone during class. Simply open up the application, lock your phone, and start to get rewards. Pocket Points is a great way to prepare you for the real world and just another way to save money and get awesome discounts!
You can later apply those points to a variety of different products, foods, and more. A variety of college town businesses support Pocket Points, as do large national chains such as Chick-Fil-A, Papa John’s, Wendy’s, Noodles & Company, Jersey Mike’s, and more. The process for new businesses to add support is also incredibly easy and can be done here. As for what you get, it varies based on location and retailer. For instance, I can get free Chick-Fil-A after racking up 5 points and can usually rack up 5 points in a day or less.
All in all, Pocket Points is a useful app that is actually successful in getting students off their phone during class. Laptops, however, are another story. Pocket Points is free on the App Store.
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