Pocket Points: A way to make money while in class

Photo by Haleigh Porter

For students, staying off your phone in class can at times feel like an impossible task. But have no fear: the latest mobile app Pocket Points has come to the rescue.

Pocket Points rewards students for not using their phone in class as well as while driving. “Pocket Points incentivizes you to put your phone away and stay focused with coupons from local merchants and big online brands,” according to the app.

The only way for a student to actually have the opportunity to attain coupons is through earning points. To earn points, the app has a built-in timer to track how long you’re not using your phone. For every minute you’re not on your phone, you’ll earn points. The points you earn can be used to shop at places such as Chick-fil-a, Papa John’s, Dutch Brothers, Chegg, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more.

“I honestly thought it [Pocket Points] was fake at first,” senior FAMU interdisciplinary studies major Elijah Jones said. Jones has been using the app for about nine months.
“I didn’t think there was an app that actually rewarded someone to stay off their phone. And they’re fairly decent rewards at that. But it’s definitely an effective way to encourage people to spend less time on their phones and more time paying attention in the classroom. Even though phones can be beneficial, they can serve as a big hindrance for my generation,” Jones said.

“I already try to steer away from being on my phone in class to begin with. But as far as the people I’ve been spreading the word to and informing about the app, they’ve drastically cut down the time they spend on their phones,” Jones said.

Pocket Points was developed in 2014 by Mitch Gardner and Rob Richardson, students at California State University, Chico. One day the duo deiced they were tired of the excessive smartphone usage from their peers during important lectures, so they launched the app.

The app is available to students at more than 200 schools in the United States and Canada.

“I think the app is super beneficial for college students. I think it helps remind our generation to live in the moment and focus on what’s important. So much of the time we are consumed with what’s going on with someone else somewhere else in the world. This not only helps you in class, but for some people it could help them in life. Plus, you get paid for it, it’s a win-win in my eyes,” Ahmeir Kyle said.

Kyle is a junior digital media student at Xavier University in Cincinnati. She found out about the app through a peer at the University of Kentucky.

Pocket Points isn’t only for students. There is a version of the app that reaches teachers. The app allows teachers to create custom rewards based on the amount of time their students spend in class phone-free. An example of a custom reward could be 10 points extra credit for 10 hours of phone-free time in the classroom.

“Before I found Pocket Points, I was sick and tired of dealing with cell phones in the classroom. This disciplinary issue was exhausting too much of my precious time and energy. I tried everything: building relationships with the students, a relaxed phone policy, a strict phone policy, a phone pouch from Amazon, more discipline logs … the list goes on. I went to college for four years to teach my students English, not to manage phone discipline. Pocket Points was the cell phone solution I needed to save my sanity and maximize instructional time. This free app works by offering positive reinforcement, rather than punishment,” said Miss G.

Miss G is a high school American literature, journalism, and newspaper teacher. She runs a bustling blog for teachers titled “Write on Miss G,” where she gushes to her many readers and almost 55,000 followers about the latest and greatest gadgets that help her in the classroom.

Pocket Points is available on both iOS and Android devices.