What the Tech: Rewarding students for turning off smartphones

Are your kids addicted to their smartphones?

Teachers across the country are reporting the devices often distract students in class.

Even if schools ban the use of smartphones on school grounds, it doesn’t have much of an effect. Students will find opportunities to check their phones, evening texting one another in class.

But a company out of California believes they’ve solved the problem with an app.

Pocket Points rewards students for doing what they’re supposed to, turn their phones off in class.

It’s an app that’s loaded on the student’s phone. Using the phone’s location services and GPS, it knows when they’re in a classroom.

Once that’s established and the student opens up the app and checks in, if they lock their phone and store it, the app begins clocking the minutes. Every minute the student is in the classroom with their phone turned off, they get points.

Once the student logs enough off-line class time points, they can redeem them at nearby businesses.

Students at the University of Tennessee can us the points at nearby restaurants including Southwest Grill, Starbucks, IHOP, and Jamba Juice among others. They can also use the points at online businesses to purchase gifts and clothing. 

The developer of the app says they launched last fall and have over 100,000 active users, 200,000 downloads, and around 1,300 small businesses signed up to redeem points.

Pocket Points is available for both iPhones and Androids and it’s free.

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