Participation points may not be the only loss for texting instead of paying attention in class.

A new app called Pocket Points will be looking to help students stay engaged in class by rewarding them with points that can later used at local Madison businesses.

University of Wisconsin students and Pocket Points Marketing Representatives Zachary Deal and Adam Haas said the app is simple. All the student has to do is turn on the app, lock their phone and tally points. The less a student uses his or her phone, the more points are earned.

Popularity of the app will also determine the growth of student’s points, Deal said, as more users means points will grow faster.

Haas said they want to keep a growing presence on campus. They already have built a large following, but if the amount of downloads continues to rise, Pocket Points will have the potential to be used at a wider variety of businesses.

“Pocket points is one of the first proven apps to keep students off of their cell phones in class and keep them able to pay attention,” Haas said. “It’s hard to not use your phone unless you have an incentive, but a lot of people have been using it and have reported decreased phone use during class.”

While using gratification to initiate a response isn’t a groundbreaking approach, Haas said it’s one that has worked well for Pocket Points.

After students accumulate points, they are then able to use them at Madison businesses that accept Pocket Points. So far there are 23 in Madison, such as Pizza Di Roma, Subway and Liquid Nightclub. The points can also be used online.

Deal said they tried to get Ian’s Pizza on board with the app, but an agreement could not be made because Ian’s typically doesn’t offer coupons or deals. But Haas and Deal both said they are always looking for new businesses to support the app.

“It’s fun,” Deal said. “People enjoy earning points and tracking their progress, as well as seeing what deals they can get.”