As amazing phones are, all those extra features make them incredibly powerful distractions. What do you do if you’re a university trying to keep students off their phones during lectures? You could confiscate them, or you could turn not using their phones into a game.
A number of universities in the US have chosen the latter, and have taken advantage of an app called Pocket Points to make sure students are paying attention to their course’s content instead of tweeting how bored they are.
The app recognises when you are on campus, and if you activate it at the start of each lecture you can earn points that can be redeemed for free food or discounts at campus shops. Provided the phone remains locked, students will earn points every 20 minutes. On top of that more points will be earned if lots of other people are using the app at the same time, which encourages students to recommend it to their friends.
Apparently the app is currently being used by at least a thousand students at California State University, Chico, and Penn State, and it’s hoped that the app will be expanding to other campuses across the US soon. I’d hope Pocket Points, or similar apps, heads to other countries as well — if I had something like this at university I might have paid a bit more attention in the less interesting lectures.