New App Rewards Students With Food For Paying Attention in Class

Scott Cook Contributor
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Two students from California State University, Chico, have created an app that rewards students with food for not checking their phones in class.

“Pocket Points” is the creation of Rob Richardson, a computer science major, and Mitch Gardner, a business marketing major. The app has become extremely popular and has expanded onto six other college campuses across the country.

Mitch Gardner explained to The Daily Caller that, “the goal of the app is to keep students focused in class. What Rob and I noticed is that students are constantly on their phones during lectures.”

When students arrive to class, they open the app and then lock their phones. Pocket Points can detect when a student is on campus to ensure that no one is cheating. The app then measures how long students go before checking their phones again. The longer they go, the more points they earn.

At the end of class, students swipe their Pocket Points notification which unlocks their phones. They are then able to see how many points they’ve earned.

The incentive for paying attention? Students can redeem their points for discounts at local restaurants and shops.

Numerous local businesses have teamed up with Pocket Points to offer student deals. Gardner explained, “It’s a win-win for businesses and students. It creates a more effective coupon while also increasing attentiveness in class.”

Most of the restaurants on board are small family-owned businesses. However, larger national and regional franchises such as Jersey Mikes, Carl’s Jr., Pita Pit and Woodstock’s Pizza have teamed up with Pocket Points.

Richardson and Gardner thought of the idea for Pocket Points in 2014. They then worked tirelessly over the summer — Richardson handling the tech side, Gardner the business side — and launched their app in the fall.

Pocket Points has become increasingly popular and has expanded across the country. It is now available at Penn State, University of Michigan, University of Arizona, Colorado University, San Diego State University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Gardner told TheDC they expect to launch at University of California, Berkeley next week.

Gardner noted that the app is “taking off at Penn State! It already has over 5,000 downloads in just a couple of weeks.”

The average time it takes to earn a point on Pocket Points is about 20 minutes, but the app has a feature which allows students to rack up points faster if more people are using it.

“It’s been a really cool feature for us,” Gardner said. “It really increases the word of mouth marketing. Students love it as well because the more people they get on board, the more points and discounts they earn.”

Pocket Points has expanded beyond just food. Clothing stores, massage parlors and tanning salons have signed on as well. Gardner also noted that there is even a tattoo parlor in San Diego which offers students discounts for points.

Gardner says that the goal is to get Pocket Points on every college and high school campus around the country, as doing so would not only benefit students and businesses, but also teachers and professors.

Scott Cook