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New App Tries to Get Students to ‘Unplug’

Justin Cella, Contributing Writer

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The idea behind the creation of the mobile application Flipd was to help students “unplug” and create a distraction free environment during class. By creating a lock screen that “removes distractions while keeping you connected,” the app allows professors to monitor student’s phone usage during class time.

When you register for your class on Flipd, using a code provided by your professor, the app will keep track of your time spent “Flipd Off” through each lecture. If you remain “Flipd Off” for the entire lecture, you will be recorded as successfully participating for 100% of that class. If you decide to leave Flipd to use another app or check something else on your phone, you will appear as less than 100%. When you leave the app, it will nudge you by sending notifications to stay off of your phone.

Flipd doesn’t know what you’re doing on your phone, it simply lets professors know whether a student was or wasn’t unplugged during their class. The only information professors can see is students’ names and the amount of time spent “Flipd Off” during class.

If you have a class from every Tuesday from 12:15-1:30 p.m. and you remained off of your phone from 12:15-1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, your professor will see that you weren’t on your phone for 45 minutes, or 60% of that class. Your professor can’t see how you used your phone during the remaining 30 minutes of that class.

If you choose to uninstall the app, you will no longer be monitored during class and have effectively “opted out” from the service. The information collected since you opted out will remain accessible to the professor. You can reinstall and join your class again at any time. Flipd encourages professors to include the use of the app as part of a participation grade for the class or bonus points towards an assignment or test to decrease the chances of students opting out.

If you have an emergency and need to take a call or send a quick text, Flipd allows you 60 seconds to pause the locked screen in the app. After the 60 seconds are up, the app will send you notifications to let you know your time is up. You’re allowed one break every class and doesn’t go against your participation.

Flipd is free for instructors. To join classes, students will be required to purchase a one-time payment of $3.99 for a four-month period. The subscription includes access to unlimited classes for the semester. Professors are encouraged to share Flipd with other professors because there’s a chance a few of their students will already have Flipd installed.

Flipd is available to download on both Android and iOS.

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New App Tries to Get Students to ‘Unplug’