Pocket Points is an app designed to combat a problem that really shouldn’t exist. It rewards students who keep their smartphones locked during classes, instead of ignoring the lesson and checking Facebook. Students open the app when the class begins, lock the phone and set it aside, at which time the account starts amassing points. These points can be spent with participating businesses, on anything from college-related goods to food.
The app is location-aware, and the more people there are with locked phones running at the school, the more points are earned by each player. Smartphones regardless of their brand or operating system can be a distraction, but Pocket Points is at the moment, only interested in keeping iPhone owners engaged. The app can be downloaded for free through the iTunes App Store, but Android owners finding it hard not to pick up their phones must use (shock) their willpower to avoid doing so during a lecture.
It takes 20 minutes of ignoring the device to rack up a single point if you’re the only one using it, and according to an article about the app at Penn State University, 10 points will get a 15-percent discount at the Student Bookstore (but only on clothing, not something dull like books), and 15 points bags you free cookies at a local store. So you can get fat instead.
At the moment, Penn State and California State University, Chico, are the only two universities which support Pocket Points, an unsurprising turn of events given students from both work on the project. It has seen in excess of 1,000 downloads so far, but it’s not clear whether 1,000 students are actually using the app.