LessonPix

I am branching out a little with this review, since LessonPix is an online tool not an app; however, I’m completely convinced that it will still be worth my readers’ time! Obviously, I love what tablets and phones can do in therapy–after all, I do devote hours each week to evaluating apps and sharing them with others. But I readily admit that sometimes an app just won’t do it. Sometimes an app isn’t available for a particular skill, or sometimes using a tablet/phone isn’t appropriate with a particular client, or sometimes it’s important that a different medium be used (e.g. when focusing on skills that require manipulation of a physical object). And sometimes *gasp* there is an app that could address a skill appropriately, but it’s not the best way to address it. Shocking, right? Of course not, because you are all wonderful critical thinkers who long ago realized that the iPad is an awesome tool, not a panacea. That said, the unfortunate thing about many non-app activities is how time-consuming lesson planning/preparing can become. Hopefully this review will help you make the process more efficient. Oh…and did I forget to mention there is a GIVEAWAY accompanying this review?? 😉 See the giveaway post for details on how to enter to win.

What It Is: An online tool for creating customized materials from an extensive clipart library.

Price: $24.99 for a year subscription

How It Works: In a gist, LessonPix provides clipart images (currently over 11,000) that are original drawings from which the user can pick to make a variety of materials. The site provides some excellent video tutorials that I would recommend watching before starting. The basics are this: search for the desired images, place the ones you like on the tray as you browse, then press “create materials” to make whatever you’d like. Let’s break that down a little further…

Search. This can be done via “quick search,” which involves entering a word into the search bar to pull up related images. This is good if looking for specific words. (For example, I typed in “keys” and got 12 images.)  Search can also be performed via category. This is good for developing theme units, curriculum-related materials, or any lesson that involves categories. (For example, there is a hygiene category.) The search function I’ve had most fun with, however, is the “Sound Finder.” To use this tool, enter in any word (let’s say kite), and it is automatically transcribed into IPA. Then choose one or more phonemes (let’s say /k, t/) to search for and specify where in the word you want them (anywhere, beginning, middle, end). The site then produces words like “doctor” (if you chose to search for these phonemes in the middle of words) and “insect” (if you chose to search for the phonemes at the end of words). The sound finder includes related tools like searching by letter, pattern of vowels/consonants (e.g. CV words), rhyming words, and minimal pairs. Regardless of how you search, you can specify results to include color, stencil, and/or outline pictures.

The tray. This is a panel that constantly stays on the right side of the page. Once materials are added to the tray, they stay there while you continue to search. You can save materials on a tray for future use or just use them once.

Create materials. Once all the desired images are on the tray, click “create materials” and choose what you want to make. I won’t list them all because there are so many (see their custom materials page), but some of my favorites include Bingo, coloring sheets, playing cards, and just regular picture cards. Each of these things is quite customizable, with options like having/not having the printed word under the pictures, changing the sizes, and much more depending on what material you choose to make.

Therapy Applications: The website can be used by a variety of professionals and families, but I am going to focus on how SLPs can use it. In essence, any way you could use a picture card in therapy could be used. Articulation/phonology was the first thing that came to my mind, whether you make picture cards for drill or do something more complex like board games. (See my final consonant deletion Bingo game.) Sound Finder makes this particularly easy, and the related tools like Minimal Pairs helps save you some time. It’s also easy to address literacy skills using LessonPix. For example, you could make vocabulary cards to go along with the book (and use Letter Finder to use pictures that supplement the class working on certain letters), or they have a cool tool for working on early literacy-based beginning/middle/end goals. Of course, this ties in nicely with sequencing goals, which can be used for literacy activities or things like daily living skills (e.g. getting dressed in the morning). (See my hygiene sequence pictures.) You could easily use the pictures for social stories. Since we’re talking about pragmatics and literacy, there is also a simple way to make stick puppets using these cards, so you can work on anything from story-telling to pronouns to turn-taking. You can incorporate reasoning/problem-solving into many of these activities (e.g. “Uh-oh, the boy was playing in the mud and is all dirty. What does he need to do? How steps does he need to take to get clean?”) There are some obvious AAC-related ways to use LessonPix (think: communication books) that could be used with children or adults. I like that there is a first-then tool to provide a visual schedule for behavior management. A downfall of using the iPad in therapy is that you can’t send it home with the child to increase carryover, but this tool can be used for creating materials to send home as homework. (For example, see my /s/ coloring sheets.)

Pros: 1. Price. Similar products can easily run for hundreds of dollars.

2. Web-based. It’s nice not to have to mess around with software.

3. Number of pictures. They currently have over 11,000 and are planning on adding more than 5,000 within the next year. (Also, all of these additions will be included in the one subscription fee.)

4. The pictures are all hand-drawn, and it’s easy to request more pictures. Once you’ve requested pictures, they estimate it will be in the library within a couple of days to a week, which is a pretty quick turn-around time.

5. Several of their features are free, so you can trial them before purchasing a subscription. One such feature is the Sound Finder, which is particularly useful for SLPs.

6. You can upload your own photos. This could be useful for customizing AAC or literacy activities.

7. Ease of use. We spent a couple hours of a graduate-level class getting taught how to use a somewhat similar product. I’ll be honest and say that there was a decent amount of un-graduate-level whining and frustration that ensued! LessonPix offers a lot of options, but its set-up is quite simple and user-friendly. It works the way I think it should work, so the adjustment period for using it was much shorter than I expected. The design is clean and intuitive.

8. I no longer am copy-and-pasting Google Image outlines to use as coloring sheets to send home with my clients!

9. Objectionable content. Yes, I really did mean to put this in the “pros” section. Right now, there isn’t any objectionable content, but they are adding some because they’ve had many requests for more mature images (e.g. puberty-related pictures). I was pleased to hear that these will require a password. So if you’re working with a younger child on LessonPix, they won’t be able to search for images inappropriate for their age. However, if you are creating materials for an adolescent and adult (let’s say searching for the image “tampon”), you will be able to see that there are results (e.g. it will say there are five images), but you won’t be able to see the images until you re-enter your password. I think this is a thoughtful way for them to include images that many avoid (but may be quite important for those we support) while still making the site child-friendly. (08/06/2012 Update: LessonPix is now offering “restricted images”! A password is required to view these images, and the SLP can alter the settings for this as needed. I’m very excited about this update because it is a necessary area that is all too frequently ignored due to its sensitive nature. Check out their explanation of this or go straight to the restricted images page.)

10. Everything is customizable. The picture sizes, how many copies of an image you want for a certain activity, changing the text that goes with the picture (you can even save this for future use), etc.

11. You can download LessonPix’s images in formats easily compatible with software like Microsoft Office. If you’ve used other software, you’ll know this is often not possible and is a huge pain.

12. The product can be used for any age group from early intervention to adulthood.

13. As I mentioned in my post about Tactus Therapy’s Comprehension app, a developer’s ability (and willingness) to network well and be easily accessible can really add another level of quality to their product. I can’t stress enough how impressive it is to me when I see them interacting and using their knowledge and skills to help others above and beyond promoting their own products. LessonPix does this well, from their willingness to customize their product upon your suggestion to their use of Twitter to help all of us #slpeeps use technology more efficiently. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen Bill Binko (one of the founders) jump in to help one of us out with something completely unrelated to LessonPix. And as I’ve pointed out before, involvement in real-time social media and resource sharing indicates a desire to constantly improve their product. Also, Lori Binko (the other founder) is the one who does the majority of the drawings and is currently a teacher of students with special needs.

Cons: 1. This product is designed for use with children, so much of the language is childish (e.g. “boo-boo” for a picture of a bandaid on an arm). If you’re going to use it with adults, make sure you change the label to make it age-appropriate.

2. The pictures are somewhat monoethnic. I did notice that they have included some non-Caucasian images, but it appears predominantly white.

3. There isn’t a way to share resources with other users within the site. It would be nice to be able to look up resources other SLPs made for, say, final consonant deletion.

4. Comparatively, some of the features that are offered by the pricier options available are not possible with LessonPix, such as activities within the website that allow clients to incorporate auditory recordings, for example.

5. More of a caution than a con: since many of my readers are SLPs actively involved online (many with blogs), I’d like to call attention to LessonPix’s sharing rules. In a gist, feel free to share your materials with students and parents and teachers for personal use, but don’t put them online or redistribute them without LessonPix’s permission.

The Take-Away: I’d highly recommend this product. It is a MUCH more cost-efficient alternative to what is currently available. I am highly impressed by the Sound Finder and related features, which I think are particularly useful for SLPs. It is sure to save the average SLP plenty of time while also providing ideas for activities and materials.

My Questions for You: In what ways could you use this product in therapy? What tools/materials do you think could be most helpful and what goals could you address while using them?

**Full Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. I did receive a 2-month subscription to trial the product as well as a year subscription to give away to a reader. The product developers were informed that the review would involve an objective assessment of both the strengths and weaknesses of the tool.**

45 thoughts on “LessonPix

  1. LessonPix looks like a nice alternative to BM. It’s always nice to have a a variety of graphics.
    Brenda Arsenault

    • Thanks for commenting, Brenda! Yes, I’m thinking it will be a great (and much more budget-friendly) alternative. It doesn’t offer some of the things BM does, but on the other hand it has features that BM doesn’t.

  2. I LOVE this! I create a lot of my own therapy tools, not always because of price, but because my client’s needs are specific and it make sense to have them work on what will help them most (ie. incorporating current classroom lessons/vocab when possible) and frequently I can make more interesting games/activities for my kiddos than what’s out there! Since LessonPix would allow me to quickly put something custom together for a therapy session, I’d also feel better about sending it home for extra practice (and it would be ok if it never made it back to therapy). Looks fun! Kim http://www.activitytailor.com

    • Isn’t hard to find a balance between creating individualized materials and being efficient? I love any tool that decreases the amount of time I have to spend designing the materials so I can actually focus on customizing them!
      (By the way, love your blog!)

  3. I really like this too! I love making materials and I think this would give me a little more flexibility than BM does, especially since you can request something. I often needs pics for my pre-readers in artic therapy and this would definitely do the trick. I create cards, game boards, etc. and that can easily go home for carryover practice. I also like that they have specific ST, PT, and OT pics! I do wish there was more sharing, like your suggestion on the website so that we are not all creating and re-creating.

  4. Lesson Pix sure sounds like a great resource but with so many clinicians posting and sharing materials in their blogs I do wish they were more lenient with their “sharing” rules. I wonder if they grant permission to share on-line very often? This is the one point which would make me hesitant to purchase a subscription. I’ve been using Artic Pix (500 pictures)from “Super Duper” and Teaching Pix (5,000) from “Helping to Grow” for many of the activities I make, but I do wish for a more comprehensive program with more templates and less copy right rules on the distribution of created materials ! I also use a clip art program which is more lenient and has many many thousands of pictures of different varieties (line art, realistic clip art, cartoon art). They only require you to change a color somewhere in the picture or add text to the picture before having the right to freely distribute commercially or otherwise. Great post I will explore Lesson Pix a little further when time allows : )

  5. OMGoodness! I have to say, I wasn’t even aware of this site till I saw your post re: the giveaway… I am one practicum away from becoming a speech therapist, and I work with severe to profoundly hard of hearing students, in an oral program. Lack of vocabulary is the number one issue with these kiddos, and this would be PERFECT for use with them. Count me entered!

  6. I checked out LessonPix awhile ago, and was thoroughly impressed with the image content, usability, and the price. As another commenter said, It is refreshing to see so many ST/OT/PT related images that can’t be found in similar programs. I love that it’s web-based and can be accessed anywhere, anytime…so useful for SLPs on the go!

    • Thanks for sharing, Tara! I know many SLPs and other professionals who gripe about how they can never use their school’s/agency’s similar software because it is only on certain computers and can’t be accessed from home or their office. Web-based tools like LessonPix are a blessing in that regard!

  7. I would use it in all the ways you discussed, I especially like the social icon section to make social stories. Additionally, I’d use for sequencing activities

    Wow, thanks for your review..I’d love to try it out.

  8. OMG! I think this is just amazing. Thank you so much for introducing me to LessonPix. As a SLP living in Fiji with minimal access to “real” materials (they stupidly all got left in Aus) and NO budget I am always searching for on-line alternatives to help me create materials cheaply. I love that the minimal pairs section of Lessonpix is free and will be hitting it hard in weeks to come for everything from artic therapy to vocab work with ELL students. Thank you.

  9. Thank you for the review! This sounds and looks amazing! I have been having a ton of fun checking out the site! I would use this all the time with my students. I love creating materials that go with the themes and curriculum ideas the classroom teachers are using. This would be such an easy way to incorporate those vocabulary concepts into individual therapy tasks. I would also use it for creating sequencing activities of things my children actually do throughout their days. I would create category sorting activities, and I love the variety of game options they offer…so many different (and easy) ways to create activities using the same articulation targets!

        • No problem! I ended up taking down your email (just for your privacy’s sake) because I realized that I can actually see everyone’s email another way instead of making them expose their email to everyone. Thanks for commenting though, and sorry for the confusion! You will be getting an email from me shortly. 🙂

  10. As a SLP in a rural area, I need to have resources for my kids and their families without waiting for sales reps, orders to arrive, etc. This would be great for every thing I do in my private practice with patients of all ages in an economically depressed region (its low even when things elsewhere are good). Thanks for all the ideas!

  11. oh wow thanks so much for doing a write up on this. it looks like an awesome and extremely valuable resource. the search function especially can help cut down time with looking for pictures. as a busy SLP traveling from school to school, this will be extremely helpful. it’ll also be great to share this with teachers i work with as they, too can benefit from it. i particularly like that there is a lessonpix tips and ideas blog, a real value-add. for instance, idea of using stick puppets in story telling/retelling is great – thanks for that! and finally the best point about this software is how easy it is to custom make materials since, as you pointed out, the illustrations are hand drawn it will be easy to make new ones. look forward to using it!

    • Having myself traveled between multiple counties this year, I definitely think it is useful for someone constantly on the go! As you mentioned, it’s also a nice tool to be able to share with educators. Thanks for sharing how you would use it!

  12. I had no idea that this resource existed until I saw your Give-Away note on FB. After reviewing your review, I decided that this would be an excellent resource for pictures needed for a variety of sequencing activities for speech and language goals. My one concern is that many clients have visual-spatial challenges and respond more readily to photographs rather than hand-drawn pictures. Did not see this resource on the site. But I am always looking for a quick method for personalizing articulation/phonological worksheets for my older children – this definitely looks like a resource that I could use. Thanks for the review!

    • Glad I could be of help, Margaret! Hmmm I didn’t think about visual-spatial difficulties. There is an easy way to add your own photographs…not sure if that is what you’re looking for or not. It’s a great feature, but I know it could be annoying if you had to do that with EVERY image you wanted.

  13. I wonder where this would fall into my ‘toolbox’ With boardmaker and Custom boards, I’d love to win and find out! Thanks for the review!

    • I haven’t had the opportunity to play with Custom Boards! Wonder how they compare. Is it an app? In my opinion, LessonPix and Boardmaker have several similarities. LessonPix takes home my prize for its price, user-friendly design, sharable format, and customer service; Boardmaker has been around longer and has more options like adding audio and whatnot. Also, Boardmaker is software (so you can only use it on the computers you’ve installed it on) whereas LessonPix is web-based and can be used anywhere you’d like. Both have their pros and cons, but LessonPix is much more realistic for my budget and offers everything I need right now. Hope this helps!! 🙂

  14. This program could definitely be an asset to SLPs, along with boardmaker and custom boards. We are always creating our own materials since we don’t have a “curriculum” and our lessons are extremely individualized. Anyway to help make it easier is great! Thanks for the review!

    • You’re the second person to mention Custom Boards…I seem to be out of the loop on this one! I agree with you–any way to make the material-creation process easier while still allowing for customization is a huge relief.

  15. I can imagine sooo many therapy applications with this subscription. The thing that got me so revved up though was the opportunity to prepare take home activities (especially game based formats) so that families and students can do some home practice. The ease of individualizing materials and preparing them quickly makes it really likely that I could generate some take home materials and in my experience students learn faster with home practice and many families are pleased to have concrete ways to work with and help their child.

  16. I didn’t expect LessonPix to have a use with my adult population in the SNF; however, I looked at some of their tutorials and I can see some application. Dominoes and Bingo are a big hit with the “recycled teenager” crowd (in the words of a patient). I could address expressive and receptive language by using some of these pictures to create Bingo and Dominoes. The majority of my adult patients like addressing goals through games.

    • Thanks, Rachel. It’s always nice to get some “adult SLP” opinions on here. 🙂 Having worked with adults with developmental disabilities for 5+ years, I always try to be conscious about if things are age appropriate, so I’m glad to hear you think it could be. My first thought for using this tool with adults was for AAC purposes, but I forget that so many adults (with and without disabilities) thrive on playing games, too. I appreciate your feedback!

  17. This looks like a great resource. It’s soo much cheaper than Boardmaker, and I love that it can be used from any computer. I my hospital, we have to go through a several-month-long approval process to have any new software installed, but we can use any website without request. Custom Boards is a great app for doing similar things, but without wifi at work, it’s nearly impossible to print the boards. I love the sound finder tools too – great for patients with limited literacy or just to think of the words! You know I appreciate the “objectionable content” – you really don’t want to see the gestures a patient might use for tampon 😉 I have also noticed how involved and not “markety” Lesson Pix are on social media – very friendly and helpful. Would love to try out full functionality, and I wonder if they license to app developers?

    • Hi Megan! 🙂 The web-based factor is definitely one of my favorite aspects. Hmmm. That’s a bummer that you don’t have wifi to print the materials–is there a laptop/desktop you could use that is hooked up to a printer? And yes, I’m sure pictures are MUCH more convenient and acceptable in the case of objectionable content!!! 😉 I’ll send Bill your way to answer the app developer license question.

      • Hi 🙂 Yes, I can print anything from the computer, just not the iPad, and we don’t have iTunes on any work computers (see what I mean about software not being approved?!). Of course I have work-arounds, but this is a nice legit web-based service. I’ll look for Bill’s answer- thanks!

        • You actually wouldn’t need iTunes at all since it’s totally web-based. (I think I confused a few people in this regards by straying from reviewing apps and reviewing a website-based product for the first time.) So all of this can be done from a laptop/computer. Does that make sense or did I misunderstand you?

    • Megan, we currently don’t license our images for use in other’s products (apps or anything else for that matter). It’s an area where we could make some good money, and I know there’s a demand. However, we know that apps (of some form) will be in our future, and we don’t want to trade immediate cash flow for future advantage. (That’s about as blunt as I can be 😉
      For right now, I’d recommend you talk to @azspeechguy on Twitter if you’re looking for a symbol set in the short-term. As for app development in general, we will certainly need to either add that to our skillset or work with a developer. We have at least two apps that we’d like to get out in the next 12 months, but they are on hold while we get through the (welcome) back-to-school crunch.
      Hope that helps!
      Bill

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