At first it seems like a head-scratcher.
Toronto-based startup Flipd has created an app that gently reminds students to get off their phone and pay attention in class.
But why don’t students just turn off their personal devices?
The simple answer is that many can’t — or won’t. But now their devices can gently prod them.
This generation of students is more plugged in than any of their predecessors. If they’re not on their phone, they’re waiting for a notification to let them know they need to check in on something.
A recent University of Nebraska survey suggests the average university student used a digital device for non-class purposes about 11 times during a typical school day. Reasons for doing this include texting, social networking and emailing.
More than 80 per cent of respondents said this behaviour caused them to pay less attention in the classroom and miss important points.
That’s where the Flipd app comes in handy. Alanna Harvey, who co-founded the company, says it encourages students to be less distracted.
“They opt in and unplug from their phones during class using our app, and it measures on a dashboard in the background that the professors can see later on as to who was actually engaged, who used Flipd for the duration of the lecture.”
‘It helps the professors better understand at what point are students getting bored.’
— Alanna Harvey, co-founder of Flipd
This dashboard feature gives teachers a tool to measure interest in their lectures.
“It helps the professors better understand at what point are students getting bored, checking Instagram or deciding to check out of the lecture for whatever they want to do,” Harvey told CBC News On The Money.
“They can’t see what the student goes and does, but ultimately it helps them understand engagement in their lecture,” she says.
The first version of Flipd helped parents control how much their kids were using their smartphones. It launched a couple of years ago on the Android platform.
But Harvey and her co-founders noticed…