Monday, September 23, 2013

Using old iPhones in the Classroom!

I was super bummed when I found out at the beginning of the school year that I had to turn my iPad back in to the school.  Since our school only has 10 iPads the teachers have to share the iPads between each other every year.  I was really upset that I was losing my iPad because I had planned to have one of my literacy centers be an iPad learning center.  On my drive home from work I couldn't help but think, “What in the world am I going to do for that center now?!?!"  Then it hit me! I could use my old iPhone that was sitting in a drawer somewhere. All I had to do was erase all the stuff on that old phone, download some learning apps, then I could have my center idea back! Not only that, but I asked my mom and brother if I could have their old iPhone's too!

Now instead of the students having to share the iPad between each other – they now have their own iPhone with the learning games!  The iPhones don’t even need wifi for the students to play the games.  I just download all the apps from home.  Not only do the students LOVE to go to this center – but it works as an awesome center.  The students are actively engaged the entire time and they are learning the whole time.  This really helps while I am reading one-on-one or with a small group of students during the literacy center rotations.  I don’t have to worry about the students at this center.  They stay quiet and engaged the entire time! J

Here is how I cleaned off my old phones to get them ready for my students:


After I erased all the content and settings I put all those extra apps that my students don’t need to click on in a folder labeled Misc.  I sent that folder to the last screen page on the iPhone.  When I was teaching this center to my students I made it a rule that the students cannot click on anything but games – or else they would lose their iPhone game privileges.

Next, I added restrictions to the iPhone. This will make it where the students cannot click on apps, such as Safari, YouTube, etc. that would not be appropriate for them.
To turn on these restrictions click on SETTINGSGENERALRESTRICTIONS.
Then turn off any apps you do not want the students to have access to.  It will even remove the app from the home screen.  I turned off Safari, YouTube, camera, location, and mail accounts off.  If your school has WiFi – I would make sure to turn off iTunes after you have downloaded your apps.
Since my old phones were 3G’s it was a little more difficult to find apps for these phones.  Not all apps are compatible for this old of a phone.  But with a little bit of searching I found plenty of apps that would work.  I made sure that all three phones had the exact same apps so there would not be any fighting over the phones!
Math Game Apps

Literacy Game Apps



  1. I am behind in times, I don't have an iphone or ipad. After reading this post, I feel like my kids are really missing out. I'm pinning this idea and hopefully I'll catch up with technology. Thanks for sharing.
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  2. Fabulous idea! I scratch my head and ask myself... "Now why didn't I think of that!". It's great for the students and great for the environment. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Granny Goes to School

  3. Hi, this is awesome. Do you need the sim card for it to work? Im like Cindy, why didnt I think of that!!! Kim

  4. Super idea! I just need to find some people with iphones they are not using and have not traded back in. Most of my family are droid users. :) Could this be done with old droid phones? I guess so. You don't have to have any phone plan activated because you are not calling from these right? Again, I am not very up to date either. I have a smart phone, but I think it is smarter than me! LOL Blessings, Eva

  5. How do you get new apps onto the phones?

    1. I wondered the same thing. I'm kind of afraid to attach it to my iTunes account, afraid that iTunes will sinc to old phone and I will lose everything.

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  7. This is such a great idea! It would certainly ease the learning process, because there won’t be any interruption. At the very least, your old iPhone could still have its purpose academically. Cheers!

    Clara Brooks @ Telco World

  8. Did you use the same Apple ID that is on your other personal devices, or did you create a new Apple ID for the phones you use in the classroom?

  9. Its a GREAT idea, I'm want to do this at our school.
    Where did you get the old iphones from?

    1. Thank you! Some of the old phones I got from home, others I got donated from parents, friends, etc.

  10. how do you set up the phone so that a child can not call someone? I know you could put it in airplane mode, however any child could access settings and disable airplane mode...

    thanks for your help,

    1. Yes, however even a deactivated phone has the ability to place a phone call over WiFi, is there a fix for that?

      hope you can help,