App provides discount to students for not using phones in class


Giving students discounted food could entice them to pay more attention in class, said Patrick Mormino, a School of Engineering junior.

Pocket Points, a new app designed by students at Chico State University to deter students from checking their phones in class, does just that. 

Users earn points for not checking their phone in the classroom, and more points are earned the longer students go without checking their phones, according to an article in TIME magazine.

“I think especially for the younger generations in college now, it would help them focus more on the class and get off their phone,” Mormino said.

According to the app's website, the app partners with local businesses to bring coupons to students. The more points a student earns, the greater their discount.

Paying attention in class is important, said Matthews Florez, a Rutgers Business School junior. But he expressed skepticism about if an app is the best way to go about it.

Students today are not necessarily using their phones to check on Facebook or Twitter in class, he said. Many students check their emails to maintain correspondence for jobs and internships.

“If people aren’t paying attention in class, it’s not always to fool around,” he said. “In that aspect, [the app is] a little restrictive.”

From the business owner's perspective, the business owner would have to make the decision to use the app, said Florez, who works at RechargeU, the convenience store owned by Barnes and Noble in the Busch Student Center. Since RechargeU is owned by the bookstore giant, upper management would have to collaborate with Pocket Points.

If that happened, RechargeU would be able to honor the discounts provided to students, he said.

Discounts would help the store if they were kept within reason, he said. The business that could be attracted would offset selling goods at a lower price.

“If you get 10, 20 percent off, that’s pretty significant if you go somewhere for coffee or energy drinks –– essential stuff for a student,” he said. “It definitely would be valuable, and it probably would offset the amount it’s taking off the profit margin.”

Gaining new incentive to pay attention in class is a good thing and no student would be opposed to saving money, said George Xie, a Rutgers Business School first-year student.

To keep the attention of students, professors need to regulate how they present their material because how they display their material as well as the tone of their voice are both important, Mormino said.

In other words, professors would have to remain interesting, Xie said.

According to Pocket Points’s website, the app would lead new customers toward stores through the deals offered, expecting them to then return multiple times for the same reason.

The website said local businesses have already benefited in locations where the app is available, such as Chico State University and Pennsylvania State University, two institutions where the app is already in use.

Rutgers students cannot use Pocket Points at this time.

Focusing directly on college or high school students makes marketing easy for businesses, according to the website.

By being digital, companies can save on printed coupons, while the app’s interface would ensure potential customers would actually see each company's name and coupons, rather than relegating a piece of paper to a fridge.

These businesses can change what coupons are available at any time. Managers can also monitor trends on the app, and learn which coupons are the most sought after versus those that are not.

More students use the app every day, which continues to increase how many students see advertisements and therefore attend businesses, the website said.

This app is not currently available for Android devices, but can be found in the Apple App Store, it said.

Anthony Hollo, a manager at Moe’s Southwest Grill in the Busch Student Center, said the app is not something he is interested in, or a technology the company would likely be interested in.

“I think it has nothing to do with restaurants or bringing new business to restaurants,” he said.


Nikhilesh De

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