Schools Use Genius Plan To Stop Students From Checking Their Phones

Schools Use Genius Plan To Stop Students From Checking Their Phones

For some students, putting away their phones during class is an impossible task. Normally, schools develop rules and polices about mobile phone use, and students happily ignore them. But at a couple of universities, the administration is trying something new: they're turning "don't check your phone during class" into a game.

Using an app called "Pocket Points," schools can track when students are in the classroom — and when they're using their phones. Students can earn points by using the app at the start of class time. The app will then track how long students keep their phones locked. The less they check their phones, the more points students get. And the more points students get, the more free food or discounts they can get at local stores. Every twenty minutes of phone lockdown earns students points, but that rate goes up the more students use the app at the same time.

Right now, the app is being used at California State University, Chico, as well as Penn State, according to one of the school's newspapers. And at least one thousand students have downloaded the app, which was developed by a sophomore student at Penn State.

I'm curious how this experiment turns out — I wouldn't be surprised if someone figured out how to game the system, so that they can just get a ton of free pizza or something. That's the thing about games: people like to optimise them, for maximum reward. For now, though, the app plan sounds promising.


    Get two phones, leave one locked for the whole day with the app running, use the other one: free shit from school

      Also does it have to be a phone? Or would it work on an iPod touch connected to school wifi?

    Relevant: Back in school teachers discouraged us from using calculators to work things out and laughed because "you can't go around carrying a calculator with you at all times."

    But who's laughing now! I can make complex calculus, translate other languages and have the world's collective information at my fingertips. ALL THE DAMN TIME!

    In yo face, teachers!

      Unfortunately that was the wrong argument to make. If you rely on a calculator for simple calculations you don't get used to working them out yourself. Once you move to more complex calculations using a calculator means you are not understanding how to work out the question in the first place.

      Sure, if you are doing a once off calculation which is not related to the math you normally do, use a calculator. If it's something you do often learn how to work it out in your head.

      Yeah, except when your battery goes flat and you are suddenly and completely useless.

        Google: Increasing people's perceived IQ by 40 points since 1998.

    Be rewarded with free stuff or discounts fro paying attention in class...
    Seems silly to me. People want to pay craploads of money for a degree then not pay attention to the content they have paid for - that's their own foolish call.

      Students not paying attention or not participating in activities/class discussions etc devalue the class experience for those students who are paying attention. This is true both at secondary and tertiary level.

      The challenge of saving people from themselves is one that we as a western society struggle with. On the one hand, it is Darwinism at its finest, but on the other hand, we 'suffer' from a moral imperative to look after those less fortunate than ourselves (including morons and the weak-willed).

      Because a lot of kids don't have a complete understanding of the value of money, or the sheer cost of a degree - when you've been earning very little, had, and you have only existed for two decades, it's kinda hard to comprehend that you'll be paying that degree off for another decade or two...

    Just get some whiz uni student to come up with a short range phone signal jammer, that'll do the trick plus it could be a good thesis idea.

      I think those are restricted in Australia but could work in the US. The problem is that (I think) they would also prevent emergency calls.

        Definitely illegal in the US to block cellular or wifi signal. A few Cinema's and Hotels have been in a lot of trouble about it lately.

    This is why I liked the era when I was in school. Phones were so primitive that they didn't distract us from actually learning. I didn't even have a mobile phone till the 9th grade and it was a Nokia 3210, so the worst it had was Snake (and a cover that could leave death and massive property damage when dropped).

    I feel sorry for teachers today having to deal with Internet and social media addicted kids in their classrooms. Just because you have the world at your fingertips does not mean you can't actually learn anything.

        Damn right!
        That cloud needs to stay off my lawn dagnabbit!

    Back in my day, we didn't have phones to distract us. We had to make up our own distractions.

      We just went outside and played football right outside the classroom window.

      We used to doodle and write notes to each other... or daydream :-)

      Flick cartoons. Stickmen decapitating each other at the same time was a running theme.

    I used to have a teacher in year 4 who would give his students 50c for every times table you could correctly recite in under 10 seconds, his entire class knew all of the times tables up to 15, only class in the school who could do it.

    While im all for rewarding good behaviour, this is more pandering to spoilt children

    Last edited 04/02/15 5:26 pm

    Wait, this is for university students? Get outta here! Who cares if they turn up to class high or pay attention or not, you fail 'em and it's their own damn fault.

    If it was primary or high school kids I could understand, they're compelled to be there against their will, but if you're at uni and you don't wanna be there then fine, go fail, it's YOUR time and money you're wasting.

    These aren't kids, they're goddamn adults. Time to start facing adult consequences.

    Last edited 04/02/15 6:48 pm

      Yeah grow up. Don't need app to help adults put the phone down. What a laugh and a half.

    To clear some things up... The schools are not implementing nor forcing students to use Pocket Points. It was made by students for the students.

    Shame on those poor kids without phones!

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