Other NJ News

Spotswood High School Students Create App That Rewards Kids for Staying Off Their Cell Phones At School

ef4f07a4a9340b28f5ea_chargerpoints.JPG
ChargerPoints lets students earn points for keeping their phones locked during school hours. The points can be redeemed for coupons that can be used at local businesses. Credits: Dawn Miller
8a04ddc365b9b90daced_chargerpoints1.JPG
Spotswood High School seniors Shivani Vyas (left) and Jenna Bousellam designed an app for their Special Topics in Computer Science class that rewards kids for staying off their phones at school. Credits: Dawn Miller
ef4f07a4a9340b28f5ea_chargerpoints.JPG

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Just like parents, teachers face increasing challenges to keep students off of their cell phones during school hours.

Despite rules that restrict cell phone use on school grounds, somehow kids find a way to Snapchat, text or post to Instagram. So, how about an app that actually rewards students for keeping their cell phones locked during the school day? A teacher's and principal's dream?

Not necessarily.

Sign Up for E-News

Two Spotswood High School students, Shivani Vyas and Jenna Bousellam, recently created an app called ChargerPoints that does just that.

The innovative app was the culmination of a year-long project for their Special Topics in Computer Science course. It's an independent study class that is considered honors level and is taught by Business, Vocational and Technical Education teacher, Gary Hull. Students can work individually or with a partner on self-directed projects in advanced programming, network administration, computer imaging, computer 2D/3D animation, web page design and development or any other technology related topic that is teacher approved. Many students design apps or video games, depending on their area of interest.

Since it is an independent study class, students can plan on a year-long project like Vyas and Bousellam or a project that is more geared toward a marking period. Hull keeps track of the students' progress via weekly blog entries that the students must complete every Monday evening. To be a part of the Special Topics in Computer Science course, students have to have taken Honors Computer Programming as well as garner Hull's recommendation for the class, which means the students must have a general ideal about where their independent study journey will take them throughout the school year.

"I came up with this idea because I saw this app in the App Store and it was made for college students to keep their phones away," Vyas explained. "I tried to sign up my high school and it wasn't there."

Vyas was motivated to created an app that applied directly to Spotswood High School. She immediately recruited her classmate, Bousellam and the pair proceeded to spend the majority of the school year designing ChargerPoints.

"The goal of this app is to get the phones out of the students hands; in class, in school, any time associated with school," Vyas continued. "So, we give points to students that are in class, school, not using their phones."

ChargerPoints works on android phones though both students said that adapting it to iPhones is certainly a doable project. Each user makes up his or her own account. Students accumulate points by keeping their phones locked during the 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. school hours; when they are on the Spotswood High School campus. Points can be used to redeem coupons to local businesses, starting with the Spotswood High School school store, the Charger Corner.

The goal, Vyas and Bousellam detailed is to approach local business that teens frequent like Subway, Dunkin' Donuts and the AMC Movie Theater at Brunswick Square Mall to agree to offer coupons. The example the pair demonstrated was how a student could redeem a coupon for a small popcorn at the AMC Theater.

The coupon shows on the phone and needs to be scanned by the business within five minutes of  being redeemed otherwise it goes away. Coupons stay in the My Deal section on the ChargerPoints app until the student wants to use them. The user can even email fellow students to boast about the number of points they have.

ChargerPoints is easy to navigate and even tells students why he or she may not be earning points. Most of the time it's because a user has failed to lock the phone while on school grounds.

This clever project certainly has real world application as many a frustrated teacher would say. So, what do the two seniors plan to do with their creation now that the school year is at an end?

"We were planning on it," Vyas said when asked if the pair planned on marketing their app. "But we are both going to different colleges and are really busy this summer. We love this project. I wish we could."

Bousellam will be headed to the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the fall where she plans to pursue a computing and business degree which combines both a computer science and business course of study. Vyas will be attending Rutgers Honor College where she will major in biomedical engineering with a computer science minor.

"I think it has huge potential," Hull said of his students' creation. "If they had another year in this class, they would have it completely set to where it could be monitized."

Hull has taught Vyas and Bousellam for multiple years at Spotswood High School and complimented the hard-working and intelligent students, saying that they would definitely be missed as they move on to the next facet of their education.

However, both students said that picking ChargerPoints up somewhere down the road, possibly after college graduation, was not totally out of the realm of possibilities for these bright young women.

"I can't imagine that it couldn't be used at other high schools and obviously this one," Hull said. "With phones being so pervasive these days."

So, hang in there teachers. ChargerPoints may be coming to the App Store somewhere in the future. Now, how about an app that encourages kids to stay off their phones at home?

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Morristown

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Love Soccer? Come Watch FC Motown Take on Atlantic City FC; Students and Teachers are Free

June 15, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - FC Motown is off to a flying start in the NPSL season, posting a conference best record of 5-0-0. Over this stretch, FC Motown has scored 20 goals over the 5 games, while conceding one goal. 

After a strong start to the season, FC Motown continues to get national recognition as the team has climbed up to 1st (out of 98 teams) in the latest NPSL ...

Free Hazardous Waste Event this Saturday in Morris Township

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority has scheduled a free Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off event this Saturday, June 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.to help Morris County residents properly discard unwanted hazardous household products that have accumulated in their homes.

Saturday’s rain or shine event will be held at the Morris County Public Safety Training ...

Morristown's Sunrise Lake Hosts Annual Beach Camp-out

MORRISTOWN, NJ. - Grab your tents for an overnight adventure at Sunrise Lake. The Camp-out on the Beach will take place at Sunrise Lake at Lewis Morris Park on Friday June 22 and Friday August  3.

Families can arrive by 4pm for free beach admission plus water activities which include swimming, boating and having fun on the Wibit, the inflatable obstacle course. Please note Wibit ...

Free Rabies Clinic For Dogs and Cats In Morristown June 16

June 15, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Town of Morristown is providing dog and cat owners an opportunity to get a free rabies vaccination for your beloved pet. Morristown's Division of Health is holding this free rabies clinic on Saturday June 16, 2018  from 11:00 - 1:00 pm at Town Hall.

Pets who have never been vaccinated before will be given a one year vaccination. All other animals will ...

Free Training for Parents/Caregivers to Keep Kids Safe on Mobile Devices

PARSIPPANY, NJ -  With school ending soon do you know how to keep your kids safe on mobile devices?

NewBridge Services is hosting a free training June 13 at its Parsippany location to teach parents and other caregivers how to to keep children and teenagers safe when they use mobile devices.

The two-hour program on June 13, will start at 4:30 p.m.  The program will address phone ...

Garden State Harley Davidson Cancels Weekend Event Due to Weather

**Please note this event has been cancelled due to the impending weather**

MORRIS PLAINS, NJ -  Garden State Harley-Davidson, is hosting a benefit ride on Saturday, June 2, 2018 for the charitable organization, Mallory’s Army. The fifty mile, scenic, police escorted ride will leave the dealership at approximately 11am and wind its way through Morris County. Upon return to ...

Morris County Historical Tours Begin This Saturday With Discover Morristown's People and Places Walking Tour

June 15, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Summer Walking Tour and Lecture Series, hosted by the Morris County Tourism Bureau are set to begin Saturday June 16.

The Discover Morristown’s People and Places Walking Tour  will take place tomorrow, Saturdays: June 16 (as well as July 7) The tour begins at 11am. Visitors are invited to take a leisurely walking tour through Morristown with author ...

Summer Concert Series: River of Dreams Comes to Morris Township's Ginty Field Gazebo

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Township of Morris Department of Parks and Recreation is again hosting free summer concerts at the Ginty Field Gazebo.  On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 the River of Dreams will perform at 7:00 P.M.

River of Dreams is an authentic tribute to the music of Billy Joel, a six piece band from the New York tri- state area. They cover all decades of Billy Joel’s career, ...

Garden Party Fundraiser At Historic Morristown Retreat House Features Live Baroque Music

Loyola Jesuit Center in Morristown will host its seventh annual “Evening in the Loyola Prayer Gardens” event on Thursday, June 14 from 6:30p.m. to 9:00p.m.  Funds raised will help the Center continue its mission of providing one-of-a-kind retreat experiences and spiritually-enriching programs to the community.

Guests will enjoy an outdoor evening of cocktails, a light buffet ...

What's on Tap This Week This Week in Morristown; Morris Township

June 18, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - What is going to be on TAPinto this week?  

Monday (6/18) There is a Planning Board meeting in Morris Township. The meeting begins at 7:30 at the Municipal Building

Tuesday (9/19) There will be a meeting for the Morristown Parking Authority at 14 Maple Avenue at 6pm. A free Blood Pressure Screening in Morris Township at 11am (Municipal Building). The Morris ...

Buy More, Save More at Morristown's Paradise - A Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store

When shopping at Paradise:

BUY 2 ITEMS, RECEIVE 10% OFF!

BUY 3 ITEMS, RECEIVE 20% OFF!

BUY 4 OR MORE ITEMS, RECEIVE 30% OFF!

MENTION THIS AD FOR PROMOTION!

NOW THRU SUNDAY, 6/16

*valid on in-stock apparel and footwear, cannot be combined with any other offer or discount

The store is located at 980 Mt. Kemble Avenue/ Route 202 Morristown

973-425-0505

Morris Township Pools Will Be Open This Weekend

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ -  Ginty and Streeter Pools in Morris Township will be open this weekend (June 6 & 7)and next (June 9 &10) from 11am - 8pm.

Both pools feature crystal clear waters and beautiful grounds for summer enjoyment. Both pools have undergone recent improvements which include a giant slide, special zero-depth entry family bays, shaded in-pool seating and ...

Danger Sinks Plan to Bring Veteran's Cruise to Roxbury's Landing Channel

June 15, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – The Lake Hopatcong tour boat Miss Lotta tour boat won’t be cruising into Roxbury’s Landing Channel on June 30 as part of its Third Annual Veteran’s Cruise, said its captain today.

The much-anticipated visit by the big boat to the channel at the southern tip of Lake Hopatcong was scuttled after its captain, Leon Moreau, sailed her into the channel ...

New Jersey Teacher Gets Life-Saving Liver Transplant

June 18, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ — Maggie Heteji Grabko, a mom of two who worked this year at Westfield’s Lincoln School as a special education preschool teacher, underwent a successful liver transplant on June 13, according to an update on the family’s GoFundMe page by her husband, Shawn Grabko.

The couple lives in North Plainfield with their two children, 12-year-old Ella and ...

Why Buying a Home is Better Than Renting

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home in New Jersey, but nobody ever asks whether or not it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, Team Nest Builder wants to make certain that everyone understands that now is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2018 first quarter median rent numbers. This graph from their report shows rent increases from 1988 ...

Thirty Days after the Draft

It’s been just about thirty days since the 2018 NFL Draft and the New York Jets have been working hard to build the team fans have been waiting for. Let’s recap the first round draft pick before discussing OTA’s and other Jets info.

Some New York Jets fans were certain earlier in the 2017 season that with the way the win-losses were going, Sam Darnold would be the New York ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

June 16, 2018

June 15, 2018

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over ...

 What Are The Warning Signs of Suicide

June 11, 2018

The recent passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain remind us to take mental illness seriously. 

Many of us feel uncomfortable to ask when someone in distress is suicidal for fear we are putting this thought in their minds. This is not true. It is a myth that asking about suicide increases the risk of suicide. The most common mental illness is depression. Some people are ...

How Laughter Can Make You More Productive at Work

Laughter isn’t just good for health and fun; it is good for your productivity and work life as well. 

Laughter can be a great way to "win friends and influence people," as the classic book title says. We spend around one-third of day with our colleagues, so why not try to make the most of it? Some colleagues can become close friends. Others might be more like enemies, but ...

Webber Campaign Statement On de Neufville Bribe Offer

June 2, 2018

Today, the Webber campaign issued the following statement on press reports detailing an offer from Peter de Neufville to other candidates to drop out in exchange for a taxpayer paid job:

"The allegation that Peter de Neufville tried to bribe Antony Ghee is a disturbing one. This is corruption plain and simple, and it is wrong. This should be investigated thoroughly by the appropriate ...

Freeholder Team of Smith, Krickus, and Shaw provide a conservative platform, experience, and accomplishments

We are proud to run on a solid conservative platform and utilize our experience and accomplishments in the service of the residents of Morris County. Our platform includes-

Fiscal Responsibility- We will hold the line on county property taxes, as we achieved three years of zero county tax and reduced debt by over $50 million. 
Focus government on what counts- Preserve our parks and ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Carousel_image_a9b88b48c5813d6f899e_29541884_983368395148362_6967640618432258091_n

Wed, June 20, 6:00 PM

End Of Elm, Morristown

Whiskey Wednesday

Running from the Scene Lands Man in Jail; This and More in this Week's Police Blotter

June 19, 2018

6/11: ARREST FOR WARRANTS: Officers executed a motor-vehicle stop for an equipment violation at Jonathan's Woods in Rockaway Township. An investigation revealed the driver, Jaclyn A. Callan, age 35, of Manalapan, to have two warrants for failure to appear in Manalapan Municipal Court. She was transferred to the custody of the Manalapan Police Department.

6/12: ARREST FOR WARRANT: Officers ...

Moms Helping Moms Foundation Receives Overwhelming Support from Community to Help Mothers this Mother’s Day

June 20, 2018

North Plainfield, NJ - Mother’s Day is often celebrated by showering the women in our lives with beautiful flowers, heartfelt cards, and taking them on special outings to show them how much they mean to us. Yet, for many low-income mothers living in our community, they struggle each day to provide the basics for their babies.

Diapers are a necessity yet one in three families in the ...