Sunday, September 23, 2012

Repurpose Old Technology

Hi! It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended purpose. Repurposing, reusing, and recycling are important for the world and are great ways to have fun resources for little or no cost.

In today's world, we have lots of outdated technology. New devices are always coming out; upgrade and you have old technology lying around. Repurpose some of that for your kids to use.

typing on laptop - Brick by Brick

If you have upgraded (or just quit using) a computer or laptop, allow your kids to use it. We have an old laptop that has basic word processing software. Occasionally we will bring the laptop to the classroom and allow kids to type on it. 

typing on laptop - Brick by Brick

When we first did this, I thought the kids would want to type their names or other words they knew. No. They just wanted to type and type and type. Make the font large enough so kids can see what they are doing (around 24 pt or so).

Bookstore setup - Brick by Brick

If you have a laptop or computer that doesn't work at all, bring it anyway and let kids use it in their play. I watched a child type and type on a keyboard for 10 minutes or more.

typing on keyboard - Brick by Brick

Note that the keyboard is just lying on the table...not connected to anything. She had a great time. Then the keyboard became a part of the kids store play (which is what I had intended originally).

homemade computer - Brick by Brick

Or use a box to create your own display. Punch a hole in the back and insert the keyboard cord into the box. You can even print messages and tape to the box if you want words displayed.

talking on phone - Brick by Brick

Bring old landline telephones for kids to use. My kids like using the phones with cords. Provide lots of notepads and pencils. Kids like to take notes.

telephone message - Brick by Brick

(Note: If you bring old cell phones, make sure the batteries are removed. Cell phones will still dial 911, even if there is no service plan.)

You could even bring old radios, clocks, and other items for kids to take apart. Make sure you have a place to put all those small pieces that come out. (I love this post from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning - taking apart clocks.)

How have you incorporated old technology into your classroom?


  1. Great ideas. I didn't even think of letting the kids use the old word processing programs. They would love that! Time to head out into the garage....

  2. These are fantastic ideas. I let my kids play with my old computers and still give them my older technology. They have learned so much this way. When they were little, I gave them keyboard and an old monitor and they thought they had their own computers.


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