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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Students Rewarded for Not Using Phones

There are plenty of smartphone applications focused on college students, ranging from study guides to textbook markets to games and quizzes. One new app helps keep students focused on class.

Two students from California State University at Chico created Pocket Points, a smartphone app that provides students coupons from local businesses as a reward for keeping their phones in their pockets during class. The app was launched last September and had 3,000 users and 15 local businesses participating within the first month.

“I looked around in my class of 100 people or so and I see half the kids with their heads down,” Rob Richardson, a junior computer-science major at CSU Chico who helped create the app, told a Chico news site. “Our initial name was going to be ‘heads up’ or something like that.”

Students earn points for keeping their phone locked based on the number of people in the class using the app. Once the class is finished, students simply swipe the Pocket Points notification to unlock their phone and see how many points they’ve earned.

Points can them be redeemed for coupons and discounts from businesses around the Chico campus. CSU Chico professors have inquired about providing extra credit or attendance points as rewards through the app and there’s a leaderboard and ranking that adds a gaming element to the app.

Richardson and his partner, Mitch Gardner, have taken a leave of absence from school to expand the program to more colleges and high schools. They are even working on plans to take the app off campus and offer it everyone.

“We want to be the biggest coupon outlet in the country, and we think we can do that,” Gardner said.

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