App used at high school in Highlands Ranch rewards students for turning their phone off in class

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- As a teacher at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, Jason Cochrane has seen cell phones distract kids during class.

“Over the years cell phones have definitely started to disrupt some of the time, or the educational time, I would like to have with those kids,” he said.

So now he uses an app called Pocket Points, to help minimize those disruptions in class.

“It monitors how much non-use they have of their cell phone,” Cochrane said.

Many teachers ask students to leave their phones in a phone holder at the front of the room, but Cochrane didn’t want to be responsible for any damage.  So he uses the app to motivate students to just turn their phones off.

Here’s how it works: Students open the app, the app verifies the student is on campus at the right time, then once the student locks their phone a timer starts, and they start earning points toward rewards.

In Cochrane’s class students can earn the opportunity to retake a test , or get an extra credit point, and that is pretty motivating.

“I used to be on my phone a lot during class, and now I just kind of want to able to get that opportunity to retake the test, and that kind of motivates me to stay off my phone,” said Nathan Wood. “You get more work done."

According to the product company, more than 1,200 Mountain Vista students signed up for the app within the first few weeks of school.

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