Apps for English language learning: Photo apps for customized learning content

This article was originally published by MultiBriefs.

Written by Beth Crumpler

This is the second article in a series about using general mobile apps for instructional uses inside and outside of the language classroom.  A general app in this case refers to any app that was not specifically designed for language acquisition purposes.  The series will address different app categories.

The first article of this series was an introduction to photo-editing apps for instructional support.  This second article covers the use of photo apps for creating customized images in learning content.  Learning content can be created by instructors for lessons and for homework.  All apps presented in this article and in the first article of the series are free to download and use.  All image examples were created using different free photo apps.

Benefits of Creating Customized Images
Do you have a hard time finding public-domain images for your lessons?  Or is it hard to customize a public-domain image to your instructional needs using a computer?  Photo apps can help you create the customized content you need easily and fairly quick.  There are two benefits to being able to customize images:

  1. Find public-domain images that allow the modification of the image.  Use a photo app to modify the image to create a customized image for your instructional needs.
  2. Create personalized images using photo apps to create customized images for instructional purposes. Either snap a photo and modify the photo to create an image for your lesson needs.  Or, draw an image using a drawing app or photo app, and modify it into a photo image.

Both image customization ideas for instructional content can be modified by adding text, drawing, handwriting, icons, stickers, backgrounds, colors, filters, photos on photos, photo collages, photo slideshows and so on.
All images you create with a photo app will save as a PNG file — a photo image file.  Any images you customize, whether an actual photo or hand-drawn image, can then be uploaded as a photo to any digital tool to create lesson content.

Ways to Use Customized Images in Learning Content

  • If you are in an inclusive teaching environment, create customized images for different subject areas.
  • For all learning environments, customized images for lesson objectives, learning goals, instructional contents and to meet the needs of the English language proficiency of your students.
  • Create slideshows of images for flashcards, spelling or other lesson ideas that a slideshow would benefit an instructional goal.
  • Create flashcards that can be uploaded to any digital learning tool or device.
  • Create images that can be embedded into lesson presentations, exercises or homework assignments.
  • Create interactive learning contents using your customized images on various digital learning tools.

What Can You Create Images For?
Create images for …

  • lessons or practice on an interactive whiteboard
  • lesson practice on mobile devices
  • any relevant content in your CMS
  • use on lesson presentations
  • use on learning blogs
  • class social media discussions
  • use on homework assignments, through digital means or on paper

Below are basic examples of created customized images for English language learning.  Examples listed below are easy to create.  These examples are for beginning ELLs.  The same apps can be used and the same concepts can be revised to create intermediate and advanced English learning content.

Make hand drawn images or flashcards.  When you save them, they automatically save as a PNG file.  You will then be able to upload them anywhere as a photo image:

These images were created with the Picsart kids app.

Take photos of real objects.  Make flashcards or images with text for various instructional needs:

This image was created with the Sketch n Draw Photo Pad HD app.

Create flashcards for homework exercises or digital interactive learning purposes:

This image was created with the PhotoFunia app.

Create images to embed into lesson presentations or exercises. Example: Fix the mistakes in the sentence:

This image was created with the PhotoFunia app.

Create images to embed into lesson presentations or exercises. Example: Put the date in correct order.  Fix the mistakes:

This image was created with the PhotoFunia app.

Create images to embed into exercises or digital learning practice. Example: Trace the letter:

This image was created with the Sketch n Draw Photo Pad HD app.

Create images to embed into lesson exercises or digital learning practice. Example: Put letters in order to spell the word:

These images were created with the Sketch n Draw Photo Pad HD app. The collage was created using the PicCollage app.

Create images to embed into lesson presentations, exercises or digital learning practice. Example: Put the words in order.  Make sentences.  Make a beginning, middle and end sentence:

These images were created with the Sketch n Draw Photo Pad HD app. The collage was created using the PicCollage app.

Make pronunciation images for flashcards or lesson content to help students practice pronunciation:

This image was created with the PicArt app.

Creating customized images using photo apps can enhance your instructional content.  Images are much easier to modify and customize using a photo app compared to using a computer.  The examples above are for beginning ELLs.

Think of ways to use photo editing apps for ELLs of all levels.   Think of the image that you want to create but have had a hard time finding in public domain resources.  Create the image and customize it to you needs. Upload it to your instructional content platform, and take action.  Once you become familiarized with photo apps, you’ll be able to develop customized images more quickly and efficiently.


Beth Crumpler Beth Crumpler is the founder of adaptivelearnin. Beth is an educator who is passionate about platforms for adaptive learning and curriculum design. She earned her B.A. in music education from Southeastern University, M.S. in TESOL from Shenandoah University, and 42 graduate-level credits from several universities in California. Beth is an experienced teacher, curriculum writer, blogger, and elearning course developer in the fields of ESL and music education. She has written learning content for several major educational companies/institutions. Her strongest asset is in using needs analysis and thinking creatively to develop adaptive educational materials both through kinesthetic hands-on and technological platforms to meet the diverse learning needs of students regardless of age, learning need and content area. Beth has taught students of many linguistic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. She loves her work, loves to bring positive humor to it whenever possible, and is seriously dedicated to the profession. Beth's experiences teaching for numerous content areas, diverse populations, and a wide range of age groups is what propelled her with the vision to create adaptivelearnin. Her vision has been to support educators in finding resources which support learning through modified and targeted experiences so that all students receive individualized learning to facilitate their educational growth needs. Adaptivelearnin is a place where educators can find digital and hands-on adaptive learning resources for planning and instructional purposes. Beth does freelance curriculum writing, article writing/blogging, and online course development. For inquires about hiring Beth for work, please email her at Go to to check out published articles Beth has written. Opinions are her own and are not those of her employer, or previous employers.