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Pocket Points: The App Rewarding Students

Being told ‘no cell phones’ on syllabus day is becoming a regular occurrence for students, mainly because professors say cell phones distract from learning in the classroom.

KU has another motivator for students: Pocket Points. The new cell phone application awards points for simply not using your cell phone on campus, which turns into discounts at local restaurants.

KU Grad Assistant Christi Ivers said Pocket Points is an interesting idea and the motivation not to use your phone is helpful.

While it can be helpful, it may not eliminate phone use in class. KU marketing professor Joyce Claterbos said completely eliminating cellphone usage in the classroom will be a tough task.

“There has been some research that shows that social media, using cell phones, computers, and tablets are actually sort of a drug,” Claterbos said. “In some ways, some of my students are addicted to their cell phones. They depend on them in so many ways. So, it’s going to have to be a pretty powerful reason for them to turn it off and put it away.”

More than 1,800 KU students are currently on Pocket Points with more than 18 local businesses offering discounts.