Remember all those times you ignored your lecturer while they whiled away on some vague concept about the universe, yes, you and a bunch of other students all because you were trifling with your smartphone? Well, now you have a way to stop doing that, and this could work for you, but only if you have an iPhone (if only iPhones were easy to come by on this side of the Atlantic). Thousands of college students in the United States are being bribed to ignore their phones during class with free food and store discounts. The app was first developed by a student at the Chico University and encourages students to earn points by ignoring their mobile devices, rewarding them with treats for paying attention to the classes they pay thousands of dollars to attend. What is its name ladies and gentleman?-Pocket Points
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 is easy to see why this App is vital to those who are addicted to smartphones, so it’s what a behaviorist would call positive reinforcement that would see one acquire a desirable behavior and vice versa. Did you know that a recent study monitoring the behavior of mobile phone owners shows that the average smartphone owner picks up their device a staggering 1,500 times in a week and spends more than three hours a day staring into its screen.
For every 20 minutes a phone is left locked while the app is running, students earn one point, but teamwork can speed that process — the more students are using the app on campus at the same time, the faster points are paid out. For staunch fans of free food, this is a welcome situation, and a student can munch as much hoagies (submarine sandwich) as they can, neat, aye, but here’s the catch, the App has geographical restrictions and is only available at three American campuses-Chico, Penn State, and California State. However, the App is two-pronged, meaning that is available for both students and business (achieving an increased number of customers and retaining them).
It is a great concept, but it should be available to everyone, both in the US and globally, but the economies of such a reality would be quite a head-scratcher, I suppose. It could catch on really well here in Kenya, I fancy. I applaud the App’s creator Rob Richardson for trying to solve a problem, the mark of a great App designer.