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Pocket Points: Rewarding Students In and Out of the Classroom

Story by Ellen Dupont, Images by Laura Peshek


The mobile app Pocket Points has quickly spread to schools across the nation. The idea behind the app is to offer an incentive based solution to the problem of students being distracted by smartphones inside the classroom. Students can simply download the app, lock their phone when located in campus buildings and accumulate points for redeemable coupons at local businesses.

Current college students have never known a time of not being wired. According to the Pocket Points website, “students spend more than 2.5 hours a day on their phone.” Technology can facilitate learning within the classroom when used in the right manner, but for many the struggle of not replying to a friend’s text, beating the next level of Candy Crush, or constantly refreshing a social media news feed can be a serious distraction. Through the use of the mobile app Pocket Points, one can be rewarded for staying focused on learning.

IMG_7593Founded on the campus of Chico State in Northern California, this digital trend is offered at over 200 schools in the United States and Canada, Ohio State being a recent addition. It can be beneficial to those who need a reminder to focus, or just an added reward for those who already stay focused. Most poor college students will appreciate the deals, especially when it comes to food.

However, for some students paying attention in class is not a concern. “It wouldn’t help me because I see school as a something I pay for, therefore I want to focus to get my money’s worth in education,” said Aaron Beckert a third year in the HIMS program. “The idea behind it is good, but it may not work for everyone.”

Terry Klinker, a senior lecturer at the Fisher College of Business, said he would encourage his students to use the app. “I could see where this could work as an incentive to get students to attend and to pay attention during class,” Klinker says.

The app targets businesses around college campuses as well. A few of the merchants the app has partnered with include Wendy’s, Jimmy Johns and Starbucks. This creates a win-win for the community as a whole from a business perspective, as merchants are able to market to a concentrated demographic in a flexible manner. Students are being rewarded for going to class and businesses are gaining loyal customers.

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