Increase your Professional Performance

Over the years, I’ve collected numerous tips for better teaching, better presentations, making course materials, and presenting your best professional face to the world – both in person and online. This talk will include a collection of at least 10 such tips.

The best Teachers are Life-long Learners

With this presentation, I hope to convey to you that becoming life-long learners is the #1 best way to become a better teacher. Over the past 10 years, I’ve accomplished the following and grown immeasurably:

  • 170 (LinkedIn Learning) courses
  • 100+ books (
  • Online Master’s degree (Full Sail University)
  • Online Nanodegree (Udacity)

If you want to stay “ahead of the curve” in any industry (or even keep up, let alone catch up) you need to become a life-long learner and make a habit of keeping up to date with the goings-on in that industry.


  1. Google
    1. Google Classroom
    2. Google Tips
    3. Google Drive
  2. Korean
    1. Korean Grammar
    2. Korean Vocabulary
    3. Korean Games
  3. Apps
    1. Lightshot
    2. Audacity
    3. LinkedIn
  4. Bonus
    1. Bullet Journal

1.1 Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a great way to stay organized as a teacher and distribute assignments to students in a whole class or individually. Check out the following links for some of my other presentations on Classroom:

1.2 Google Tips

Google Service is the most ubiquitous, powerful, and yet also the most under-utilized Google service. Follow the link below to get some tips for making the most of it. There are 10 other Google Services listed as well:

1.3 Google Drive

Drive acts like a hard drive in the cloud, but has some pretty unique features that you may not know about.

  • Sharing & simultaneous collaborative editing
  • Preview files you don’t have programs for (.AI, .PSD)
  • Review Drive activity ( Info)
  • Review File Revision history
  • Add-Ons (DriveTunes)

Plus, Drive is a great way to keep your USBs safe (by simply not using them). But if you insist on hanging onto your USBs, you should really install Panda USB Vaccine to disable Autorun that often gets you viruses when you plug it into an infected computer.

2.1 Korean Grammar

As you learn more Korean grammar, you’ll be better able to teach English grammar. You’ll be better able to pick out common mistakes and explain English grammar patterns in a way that is easily understandable. 

But first, you might want to learn Hangul touch typing. This will save you loads of time in the future, if you type in Korean much. It can also be quite beneficial in class to type 명사, 동사, and 형용사 (noun, verb, adjective) and other things to help you explain the grammar patterns better.

2.2 Korean Vocabulary

Did you know it’s possible to learn 3600 new vocabulary words in 4 months by only practicing for around 30 minutes per day? Have you ever tried it? I’m living proof that the method outlined in the link above works.

And here’s a video with 10 more suggestions to learn new words. Use it yourself or share it with your class:

2.3 Korean Games

Learning a little Korean pop culture also provides you with a great opportunity to connect with your students on a new level and make classes more interesting and engaging for them. Here are three games that they’ll all be familiar with that you can learn in class to teach new vocabulary:

3 Korean word games to test or improve your Korean vocabulary

3.1 Lightshot

Lightshot is hands down the BEST screenshot app I’ve ever come across (yet). It’s so good, I install it on every computer I have access to. I’ve also installed it on every computer in the lab at the high school I work at. 

  • Simply press the PrtSc button to darken the screen and get a crosshairs mouse pointer
  • Draw a shape around the area you want to copy, print, or save
  • The editing tools in the app also give you the ability to DRAW or type anything within the space you’ve outlined
  • Key point: Basically, you’ll be able to create an instant on-screen whiteboard in any class to draw on scans of the book or highlight grammar points in a document you’re showing on the projector

3.2 Audacity

Audacity is the best FREE audio editing app, and it’s great for making listening tests. It’s so versatile that I’ve used it for the following:

  • Recording podcasts
  • Editing sound for movie production
  • Creating pop song remixes and mashups

3.3 LinkedIn

Find me on LinkedIn here. I’ve optimized my profile to showcase my professional skills and abilities. These days, your “resume” isn’t just something you hand in on paper. Every employer can (and will) Google Search you, so it’s important to have something online that is complete, professional, and highlights your accomplishments.

There are plenty of great books online to help you optimize yours. 

Bonus: “Real” online resumes with WordPress

If you couldn’t tell by the rest of this site, I’m a big fan of WordPress (this site is built on it as well). WordPress is the BEST way to get started cultivating your professional online presence. You have two to choose from:

  1. is a managed host – you just pay the bill
  2. is self-hosted – meaning you need:
    1. URL name registration (around $12.95 for a .com)
    2. Hosting (affiliate) (starting at $2.59/mo)

Bonus: Bullet Journal

If you really want to stay organized (a very good idea in today’s busy world), going analog (paper) is so much better than taking everything digital (too many distractions). The Bullet Journal is one of the best methods I’ve found for staying organized. Check out the following for more details:


Let me leave you with three quotes from some of my favorite authors and public speakers regarding your “Professional Performance.”

Either run the day, or the day runs you… Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time… Time management is the best kept secret of the rich.

Jim Rohn

The whole purpose of time management and getting more done in less time is to enable you to have more time to spend with the people you love, doing the things you enjoy.

Brian Tracy

‘Time management’ is really a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time but ourselves. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

Stephen Covey


Aaron Snowberger is a Google Certified Educator, Trainer, and G Suite Administrator. He teaches Computer Science & Graphic Design at Global Prodigy Academy and English at Jeonju University. He also does freelance graphic design and website programming work, specializing in WordPress and React. He has designed multiple publications, websites, and KOTESOL posters, and has previously presented at the KOTESOL National and International Conferences, as well as the Seoul WordPress Grand Meetup. Apart from work, Aaron also enjoys cycling and playing musical instruments (like bass guitar).

Become a Better Presenter by Becoming a Better Teacher

Think about it. As a Teacher, you are literally a professional, paid, public speaker. Are you good at it? Could you be better? In my experience, there are a number of things each one of us can do to increase our public speaking skills, both in the classroom and out. And what you learn, do, and apply in the classroom can have a great impact on how you speak at professional venues. Come learn the THREE core skills that you can use to take your presentations from blah to bravo.

What I’m going to talk about today is primarily sourced from a book we teach at Jeonju University: Speaking of Speech. I’ve personally found this book to be quite helpful in enhancing my own presentation skills, so I want to share some of the insights I’ve gained over the years.

And while the outline of this talk may follow the same topics covered in the book, I hope to be able to add enough additional material and tips to make it really worth your time.

Speaking of Speech

  1. Story Message = Content is (still) KING
  2. Physical Message = YOU are the presentation
  3. Visual Message = PPT is only a TOOL (not a crutch)

Story Message

If you dress up a dog like a princess, what do you have? It’s still a dog. Likewise, even the most well-designed and beautiful presentation will fall flat if there is not good CONTENT behind it.

Content is (still) KING – particularly in presentations (and teaching).

  1. Introduction = like the top bun of a hamburger – whets your appetite
    1. This is what you WILL say – provide an outline
  2. Body = the meat, cheese, and toppings – all the stuff that makes it good
    1. Say it!
  3. Conclusion = the bottom bun – pulls it all together, or else you’ll have a giant mess
    1. Remind them what you just said – don’t leave them to pull all the pieces back together themselves
  1. WHAT is the topic about? (Title slide)
  2. WHY are you talking about it? (Give them a good reason to listen. “What’s in it for me?”)
  3. Provide an OVERVIEW (Outline) of the whole talk
  1. Introduce = the spoon in an ice cream cup – let’s them know what this is about
  2. Explain = the ice cream in the cup – all the yummy stats, numbers, and figures
  3. Emphasize = the cherry on top – makes the whole thing better
    1. Tasty Transitions – and don’t forget to close each section and begin another in a clear, interesting way

Wrap it up by taking them back to the beginning. Remind the audience:

  1. WHAT you talked about
  2. WHY it is important
  3. HOW they can do something about it

Physical Message

Never forget: YOU are the presentation. The slides behind you are only a Visual Aid (“aid” = “helper” not “do-it-for-you-er”). Don’t rely on those as a crutch. In a pinch, you don’t even NEED the PPT. Rely on yourself to BE the presentation and use all the tools at your disposal.

  1. Posture
  2. Eye Contact
  3. Gestures
  4. Voice

Do you find you have bad posture? Or difficulty having good posture?

  1. Settle in first – don’t start speaking on your way up – settle in, feel the area, control the space, THEN start
  2. Play a mental movie – visualize in your head how the presentation SHOULD go – this mental priming will help you better be able to judge if things are going as they should be or not
  3. Strengthen your core and shoulders – some of the worst posture often comes from hunched shoulders or a bent back. Exercise! Strengthen those muscles when you DON’T need them so they’ll treat you right when you do need them

Do you have trouble making eye contact with the audience?

  1. Look (slightly) PAST the audience – look at their hair, or slightly over their heads, or at their noses – sometimes eye contact can be intimidating, but if you look at noses, you won’t feel intimidated by straight on eye contact
  2. Find a handful of people to connect with – you don’t need to look at EVERYONE, just find a few who are really engaged with what you’re saying and return your gaze to their eyes in sequence
  3. Direct your vision in sequence – start at the left side of the room, then the back, the right, and back to the left – decide on your preferred sequence and stick with it – it’ll take the guess-work out

Most Western speakers don’t seem to have much trouble with gestures, but here are three tips in any case:

  1. Don’t overdo it – gestures are best used to express the following:
    1. Numbers & Sequences (first, second, …)
    2. Emphasis & Focus (the key point…)
    3. Illustration & Location (to the left of…)
    4. Comparison & Contrast (on the other hand…)
  2. Body Language – remember you can also express yourself with the following:
    1. Body movements
    2. Facial expressions
  3. Consider yourself a performer – when you’re giving a speech, you’re out of your Comfort Zone. You need to express enthusiasm even if you don’t feel it, so act it. You are an actor on stage in front of an audience

Do you have trouble controlling your voice? Speaking too fast? Too quietly?

  1. Control your voice through rehearsal – the more you practice speaking through the same content, the more comfortable you become with it. You will also learn the jokes and stories that work best and those that don’t work so well
    1. Example 1: Chris Rock prepares by hitting up tons of small comedy clubs in a neighborhood before a big TV special, taking notes while performing
    2. Example 2: My Friday classes run much smoother than my Monday classes with the same book
  2. Slow down by avoiding coffee – this is a tip from a Keynote speaker at a Tech conference I saw recently. The combination of adrenaline (nerves) and caffeine will automatically speed up your speech
  3. Express greater enthusiasm through exercise – Do you find you have little energy on stage? Is it hard to be enthusiastic about something? Then push yourself physically (with exercise) off the stage so that you can have and produce more energy ON the stage

Visual Message

The Visual Message is LAST because it is NOT what makes a great presentation. PPTs are merely AIDS to help you. Don’t rely on them like a crutch. YOU are what really matters in a presentation.

The Visual Message ultimately boils down to 1) design, and 2) the tools you a) have and b) know how to use.

A tool is only as good as the person using it.

The best tool is the one you USE.

Let’s talk about Complexity and Design.

  1. Show only ONE idea per slide
    1. Less is more, bigger is better
    2. Using bullet points? 5×5 (7×7) – show at most 5 points with at most 5 words each
    3. Yes, this means you may need to increase the number of slides in your PPT, but it also will give you the opportunity to show transitions, animations, and highlighting in more interesting ways (with motion as you flip through the slides)
  2. Simplify
    1. Use high contrasting colors
    2. Use simple backgrounds
    3. Use transparency, contrast, brightness, shapes, and image cropping to your advantage
  1. Colors – Use a limited color palette
    1. Remember the 60-30-10 rule (like a man in a suit)
      1. 60% main color
      2. 30% secondary color
      3. 10% accent color
  2. Fonts – Understand the types and proper uses of fonts – use fonts to show Hierarchy
    1. Sans-serifs = Modern style, good for Titles in print, body copy on screen
    2. Serifs = Classic style, good for body copy in print, Titles on screen
    3. Scripts = Handwriting style – best used in limited quantities (if at all)
  3. Images –
    1. Learn which types of images are appropriate to use legally and where to find them
      1. Creative Commons – or even better CC0 Images

Life as a teacher begins the day you realize that you are always a learner.

Great leaders (teachers) work to sharpen [their tools].

Simon Sinek



  1. Templates:Google Slides Templates @
  2. Images: CC0 Images (29 Sites)
  3. Fonts: Google Fonts (available in Google Slides, or to Download for FREE)
  4. Color: Canva Color Theory 101
  5. Color Palettes:
  6. Book: How to Avoid Death by Powerpoint (David JP Phillips)
  7. Website: (David JP Phillips)

How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint by David JP Phillips:


Death by PowerPoint from Alexei Kapterev

WordPress as LMS (Learning Management System)

We are living in the middle of an age of educational and technological revolution. Will you get swept away, left behind, or ride the riptide of edtech into the future? Join me as I look at various successful models of online schools and classrooms, the major components that make up a successful online Learning Management System, and how to create one for yourself using WordPress.

This is a talk I presented at the Jeonju-Jeonbuk KOTESOL Chapter meeting for March 2015.

*Audience Note

I may have addressed this talk (and presented it) to a slightly wrong audience at the time. The meeting was small and contained people who are primarily ESL teachers – who may be familiar with certain web technologies.

However, I designed this talk for an audience who already understand the basic concepts of an LMS (Learning Management System) and want to implement it themselves in their classrooms.

Therefore, this talk is primarily an argument for WHY WordPress is the BEST solution for an LMS – as opposed to other possible solutions (including Moodle) – and introduces some basic concepts about how to put WordPress to work for you as an LMS.

WordPress as LMS

Learning Management System: A digital learning environment to manage all aspects of the learning process.

In this talk, I will present THREE basic ideas about WordPress as LMS:

  1. WHY? (2 parts)
    1. Why an LMS?
    2. Why WordPress?
  2. HOW? (2 parts)
    1. How does an LMS work and how can we use it?
    2. How can we use WordPress to create an LMS?
  3. WHAT?
    1. What are the specific steps we can take to create an LMS in WordPress?

Step 1A: Why an LMS?

Recall again that an LMS is “a digital learning environment to manage all aspects of the learning process.” The following is a list of 6 basic aspects in the learning process:


  1. Communicate objects (syllabus, course objectives, handouts, etc)
  2. Learning timelines (class schedule)
  3. Delivery of materials (drip content)
  4. Assessment & Tracking of student data
  5. Communication with students
  6. Ongoing Resources

Traditional classrooms usually involve a great deal of printed paperwork and in-class interaction with the teacher.

On the other hand, LMS-assisted classrooms may help reduce (or entirely eliminate) papers and increase student-to-student interaction both in and out of class.

Another reason LMS-assisted classrooms are beneficial for teachers:

No more lost USBs.

I personally haven’t carried a USB in 3-4 years because I store all my lessons, PPTs, documents, and resources on my classroom website (or in Google Docs which can be used in collaboration with my website). Besides that, simply by relying on a USB stick, you are risking spreading viruses between unprotected PCs or even absentmindedly leaving it behind after class.

Are you smarter than a College Freshman?

And another reason to start looking into setting up an LMS is because high-schoolers these days are learning this kind of technology themselves as graduation requirements.

In a document (created in 2006) I downloaded from the San Diego Unified School District that outlines High School Technology Compentencies, the following are the THREE level of Web Authoring competencies they seek for their students:

  1. Basic: Understand web authoring terminology, how to use templates, and district policies on copyright, ethics, privacy, and security
  2. Intermediate: Identify, prepare, create, and upload materials to a web publishing platform
  3. Advanced: Understand and be able to use CSS code, Flash video, downloads, forms, and databases

EdTech is transforming K-12 learning with an intensity and at a pace that is disruptive, creative, and unpredictable.

Students are no longer content to be passive recipients of information. Few kids can sit behind a desk when they have smart phones or iPads in their possession.

The higher education business model is threatened by the need for cheaper delivery of services, content, and learning.

Pricing, Access, Connectivity, Competition – It’s all about Economics.

“EdTech – Revolution in Education” from the Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America

Actually, what we’re talking about here is the FUTURE of education. Every other industry in the world has seen a radical technological reformation and evolution. Education is now also beginning a radical change in the way school and learning happens, but where will our place be in this period of transition and change?

I think the main reason that more people don’t get more involved with EdTech is FEAR. They are afraid of the unknown, afraid of learning (difficult) new things, or afraid of being left behind.

But, I want to alleviate your fears a bit and argue that WordPress is a (comparatively) easy solution for beginning to get more of your own classes online.

Step 1B: Why WordPress?

The #1 web publishing CMS (Content Management System) in the world – powering 23% of all the world’s websites.
FREE. unlimited. awesomeness.

But what about some of the other LMS’s you may already be familiar with?

  1. Moodle
  2. Edmodo
  3. Blackboard
  4. Desire2Learn (D2L)
  5. Canvas
  6. Schoology

I think there are at least 6 primary considerations to keep in mind when choosing a suitable LMS. Each of the above is excellent in some of these aspects, but only WordPress rocks all of them:

  1. Price
  2. Power
  3. Flexibility
  4. Simplicity
  5. Support
  6. Reliability

1: Price

WordPress is “forever FREE” due to the GNU GPL2 license.

2: Power

There are over:

  1. 3,000 FREE Themes
  2. 4,000 Premium Themes
  3. 35,000 FREE Plugins

available for WordPress. How much more power do you need?

3: Flexibility

Thanks to WordPress Multisite (a nifty optional feature in the WordPress core), the software is infinitely scalable. A couple of good examples of this are:

  1. that serves up over 500 million sites using only ONE code base
  2. Best Buy which uses ONE base installation to power their 1000s of store sites
  3. The New York Times, Forbes, and Reuters blogs which are all Multisite installations

4: Simplicity

WordPress is not “easy” as in “post-on-Facebook-easy” but compared to the many other options out there, it is surprisingly easy. I’ve even transferred clients to WordPress from Joomla and Moodle after spending significant time with them in the backend trying to fix things how they wanted.

The WordPress Post editor closely resembles a Microsoft Word document editor and is just as easy to publish with.

If you can Word, then you can WordPress.

In fact, in a 2014 survey of WordPress users around the world, the company found out that 91% of WordPress sites took less than 4-5 weeks to make. This is comparatively easy! And I have experience putting together basic sites with all the elements in only ONE week or less.

5: Support

WordPress already powers 1 in 5 sites you visit on the web, and it’s still growing.

  1. 2014 was the first year that non-English downloads surpassed English downloads
  2. There are 17 posts published EVERY SECOND on
  3. Many of the major corporate, political, and tech brands use WordPress
  4. The WordPress Community is enormous, friendly, and helpful. There are:
    1. WordPress Support forums
    2. WordPress Meetups to provide training and assistance (like our Jeonju Meetup)
    3. WordCamps for networking and education
    4. that contains filmed WordCamp presentations

6. Reliability gets roughly the same number of monthly unique visitors that gets so up-time and security are big deals. The development team pushes updated code to the core between 60-80 times PER DAY, so both of those facts should give you a feel for just how reliable this service and software are.

If you choose to go self-hosted, however, all that depends primarily on your web host. But the following is a list of some of the top hosts in the world:

  1. Dreamhost (*affiliate) – get 2 months FREE hosting with the code: WPMUJJ
  2. Bluehost
  3. Host Gator
  4. GoDaddy
  5. WPEngine

Step 2A: How does an LMS work and how can we use it?

define:Blended Learning/
Education that integrates online and in-person delivery with some element of student control over the time and place in which they access the course content.

Face-to-face interaction + Computer-mediated activities

Consider the following types of classrooms:

  1. Traditional
  2. Flipped (Blended) classrooom
  3. MOOC

What’s an MOOC?

Massive Online Open Courses: an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web.

Examples of MOOCs include:

  1. edX
  2. Khan Academy
  3. Udacity
  4. Udemy
  5. Coursera

I’m NOT an advocate for a strictly MOOC-style LMS. These systems conduct courses primarily online with minimal teacher-student interaction except via the forums. Granted, some teachers are very participatory in the forums, but not all are – and online forums still leave something to be desired compared to the traditional model of in-class, face-to-face, teacher-student and student-student interaction.

Besides that, MOOCs are COMPLICATED to implement, especially without a dedicated team behind them.

I feel that, at least as far as online course websites are concerned:

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

Therefore, when considering the following options for course website preparation, I’d recommend:

  1. Level of Instruction: prepare a SINGLE course (at least a first)
  2. Time (Schedule): allow a modified time schedule for students to access the site
  3. Role of Online Components: enhanced
  4. Teacher role: Teacher supports
  5. Student role: Teacher-guided learning
  6. Student support: School mentoring
  7. Student to Teacher ratio: 2-3x Traditional

But, for simplicity’s sake, here are the TWO MOST PRACTICAL ways you can implement an LMS website in your classroom:

  1. Go paperless
  2. Make homework include online interaction

Step 2B: How can we use WordPress to create an LMS?

There are TWO options for using WordPress to create an LMS:

  1. Is a hosting SERVICE where you can get a FREE site and username at their domain (
  2. Is limited in freedoms, but provides paid upgrades and is still a viable option for class websites
  1. Hosts the (downloadable) SOFTWARE and all documentation, but you are required to find your own self-hosting solution (
  2. Is virtually unlimited in customization options

If you go self-hosted, many of the top hosting providers offer a “One-Click Install” from the CPanel (Control Panel) of their site. It’s a simple matter of point-click-wait-5-minutes and you’ll have the FULL WordPress software up and running on your domain.

Here’s a list of recommended hosting providers again:

  1. Dreamhost (*affiliate) – get 2 months FREE hosting with the code: WPMUJJ
  2. Bluehost
  3. Host Gator
  4. GoDaddy
  5. WPEngine

Step 3: What are the specific steps we can take to create an LMS in WordPress?

Consider the 6 aspects of the learning process again:

  1. Communicate objects (syllabus, course objectives, handouts, etc)
  2. Learning timelines (class schedule)
  3. Delivery of materials (drip content)
  4. Assessment & Tracking of student data
  5. Communication with students
  6. Ongoing Resources

In WordPress, you will only need to understand (a minimum of) 5 key concepts to be able to effectively communicate the above 6 aspects to your students. They are:


  1. Pages
  2. Posts
  3. Categories
  4. Tags
  5. Media

1. Pages


Pages are hierarchical, “stand alone” articles on your site. Though they have publication dates (and can be scheduled for automatic future publication), they do not “flow” as a blog would. Pages are not inherently “related” to each other and they ARE NOT categorized by Categories nor Tags (more later).

If you want a Page to have some kind of relation to another Page, you must assign it a “Parent” in the Page Attributes widget in the Page editor.

Pages will therefore act like individual menu items (they will be automatically added to your main menu if you don’t create one manually) – and “Parent” Pages will act as the top-level dropdown menu containing any “Child” Pages beneath them.

Pages may also utilize “templates”. These will give your Pages a different output on the front of the website and may look like any of the following:

  1. Home page
  2. Landing page
  3. Contact page
  4. Clients page
  5. About page
  6. Full-Width page
  7. And so on

2. Posts


Posts are chronological (non-hierarchical) articles that “flow” along the Blog page, Home page, or Archive pages as they are written and published.

Posts are grouped together by Categories (that act like “buckets” or Folders), and Tags (keywords that are used to Search the site).

Posts may also utilize “Formats” that style certain Post types differently. For example, you may have different styles for:

  1. Regular (Standard) Posts
  2. Aside Posts (without a title visible on the Blog archive Page)
  3. Image Posts
  4. Video Posts
  5. Quotation Posts
  6. Link Posts
  7. Gallery Posts
  8. Status Update Posts
  9. Audio Posts
  10. Chat Posts

3. Categories


On the front-end of a site, Categories may be visible as Folder names for Month or Topic, or in the Breadcrumbs (the “You Are Here” collection of links at the top of a Post), or as individual Menu items.

(On the front-end, you won’t really be able to SEE the difference between Categories and Pages as they appear in the menu unless you click on the link. If it’s a Category, there will be a long list of Posts; if it’s a Page, there will be only ONE Page.)

With Categories, I usually assign each of my Classes to a separate Category. That way, when the students click on the Category name, they are taken directly to an ongoing blog list of ONLY Posts for their class.

4. Tags


On the front-end of a site, Tags may be visible in a “Tag Cloud” (a collection of frequently used keywords throughout the site), or in the footer meta (a collection of data at the bottom) of a Post. You can also Search for Tags as these are WordPress’s “keywords.”

With Tags, I usually add the keywords for the lesson subject – such as a grammar point we’re studying or the key concepts to understand.

5. Media

WordPress Media is unique in TWO primary ways:

  1. You can Drag-&-Drop media from your Desktop directly into the Post editor window to upload files.
  2. You can Copy-Paste URLs from popular websites like YouTube and Twitter to get immediate, automatic embeds of those videos and tweets (among other things). No more copying over embed codes!

The WordPress editor also provides you with a view of what your Post will ACTUALLY look like on the front-end even as you type it and before publishing it.

Step 3B: Plugins add Power


The above 5 functions are available both on and with the software. However, if you REALLY want to power-up your LMS, going self-hosted and installing your own plugins is the best way to go.

The following lists provide (at least) FOUR plugin options for EACH of the 6 aspects of learning previously discussed:

1. Communicate Objects


  1. WPMU CoursePress
  2. WP Teacher
  3. Educator
  4. Easy Classes

2. Learning Timelines


  1. The Events Calendar
  2. Weekly Class Schedule
  3. My Calendar
  4. Booking Calendar

3. Delivery (Drip Content)


  1. WP-Members
  2. Simple Course Creator
  3. Table of Contents Plus
  4. Show/Hide Content at Set Time

4. Assess & Track


  1. AN_Gradebook
  2. Quiz Tool Lite
  3. Easy Quiz Player
  4. BadgeOS LearnDash Add-on

5. Communicate with Students


  1. Disqus Comment System
  2. Akismet Spam Comment Blocker
  3. bbPress Forums
  4. BuddyPress Social Network

6. Ongoing Resources


  1. Enhanced Media Library
  2. BackWPup
  3. Google Drive WP Media
  4. Google Drive Embedder

Full-fledged LMS systems for WordPress

  1. LearnDash
  2. Woo Sensei
  3. WP Courseware
  4. Lifter LMS
  5. Namaste! LMS (Free)

So, how will YOU use WordPress in your classroom? (or business)?

From Delinquent to Star Student

When I was in university, I was a lackluster student. But when I went to grad school (and afterward), I became a high achiever – even so far as receiving the top award in my graduating class (like “valedictorian”). So what changed between then and now? This presentation breaks down my own journey from boredom to motivation – and focuses on how to apply those things to second language learning.

My Journey Toward Second-Language Learning Motivation


How do you teach students English? What if you didn’t have to teach them? What if they were motivated to learn on their own? This presentation will consider the psychology of motivation as it relates to second language learning. There are many elements that combine to give us (or our students) success in second language learning. We will look at:

  1. The difference between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
  2. Breaking out of your Comfort Zone and finding your Passion
  3. Neurological Cravings, Habit Loops, and Behavior Reinforcing Rewards
  4. The difference between Progress and Perfection
  5. How to stick to your Schedule by reducing your Scope
  6. How to be a better Teacher by being Taught

I hope to be able to give much good food for thought as well as some practical tips and suggestions to put into practice TODAY. Some of these suggestions may appear to be quite radical, but other suggestions will give very actionable steps for creating Habits, increasing Passion, and sticking to a Schedule.


I hope this talk will be helpful for 3 areas of your life:

  1. Your teaching
  2. Your professional life
  3. Your personal life

Personally, I’m incredibly interested in the following, and have incorporated much of what I’ve learned into this talk.

  1. Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
  2. Your Comfort Zone vs. your Passion
  3. Neurological Cravings & Habit Loops
  4. Progress over Perfection
  5. Schedule over Scope
  6. The fact that Good Teachers are Good Learners

I’ll go over 3 things:

  1. My story
  2. How I got here
  3. What you can do

My Story

In 2012, I created a Korean language learning blog with two motivations:

  1. (External motivation) To supplement my wife’s Korean tutoring classes
  2. (Internal motivation) To motivate myself to become fluent in Korean

For the first year, there was no growth at all. But in Year Two, I changed my habits and began writing a new Post every single day (now over 400 Posts). After that point, the site saw steady growth, and has been viewed more than 100,000 total times.

But let me now paint you a different picture.

University of Wyoming

As an undergrad at the University of Wyoming, I was a lackluster student at best, earning less than a 2.5 GPA and losing my scholarship in my second semester. I went from a 4.0 in high school, to a 2.3 my second semester, back up to a 3.186 by the end of my university life. I had 3 Fs (retakes) and 1 D in a major class.

Full Sail University

But when I went to grad school at Full Sail, 4 years after my lackluster undergrad career, things were very different. 

  • Change of Motivation =
  • Change of Attitude = 
  • Change of Behavior

I was newly married, with a baby on the way, and suddenly had to provide for more than just myself. That proved to be a real kick in the pants for me – and I worked hard enough to take home the Top Achiever award (valedictorian) in my graduating class.

How I Got Here

I’ve found that Success = Motivation + Habits – like two sides of the same coin – and without both, you don’t get the prize.

On Motivation

Daniel Pink’s book Drive dives deeply into motivation:

  1. Motivation 1.0 = primal / survival instincts
  2. Motivation 2.0 = carrots (rewards) & sticks (punishments)
  3. Motivation 3.0 = intrinsic vs. extrinsic (and this is the one we’re interested in)

Intrinsic Motivation examples

  • Learning an instrument
  • Open source software
  • Online forums
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Learning a language (for joy, for yourself)

Extrinsic Motivation examples

  • A “day job”
  • Bonuses & Commissions
  • $$$
  • Standardized testing
  • Learning a language (being forced to)

Difference in motivation

  • Extrinsic motivation focuses on:
    • Reward 
    • Punishment
  • Intrinsic motivation provides:
    • Autonomy
    • Mastery
    • Purpose

Here are some good books that discuss each:

  1. Autonomy
    1. Results Only Work Environment – focusing on the Task, Time, Team, and Technique is more important than just coming in to the office every day and “putting in the hours”
  2. Mastery
    1. Outliers hits on many examples
    2. Flow details the state of mind high-performers get in when “mastering” something, or performing at their highest level
  3. Purpose
    1. The Purpose Economy – one quote states ““What brings meaning to a job is not the job itself, but what we bring to it.

Personally, I never really started changing my attitude until I “read” Josh Kaufman’s Personal MBA. In it, he discusses a getting out of your Comfort Zone:

  • Reference Levels (getting out of our Comfort Zones)
    • What’s your “acceptable range”?
    • What’s your “minimum set point”?
    • What’s your “maximum set / pain point”?
    • Are you experiencing any Errors in your mind?
    • If so, “something has to change.”

On Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Will Durant

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg covers the three (4) steps in habit loops and formation and how to break a bad habit:

  1. Trigger (cue)
  2. Routine (behavior)
  3. Reward (satisfaction)
  4. Craving (underlying motivation)

Remake a habit:

  1. Determine your Craving
  2. Identify your Trigger
  3. Change the Routine
  4. Maintain the Reward

Form a new habit:

  1. Determine your Passion (Start with Why)
  2. Create a Trigger
  3. Decide upon a Routine
  4. Reward yourself

In creating new habits or breaking old ones, we should remember the following:

  1. Strive for Progress not Perfection
  2. Reduce Scope in favor of Schedule (don’t break the chain)
  3. Habits compound

“The truth about success is as simple as this:
Not 5,000 things
A half-dozen things done 5,000 times.”

Darren Hardy in The Compound Effect

What you can do

Motivation in the classroom

9 ideas from Dan Pink’s Drive:

  1. Apply the 3-Part Type-I Test
    1. Am I offering students AUTONOMY over the when and how of this work?
    2. Does this task promote MASTERY by offering something novel and engaging (as opposed to rote reformulation)?
    3. Do my students understand the PURPOSE? The “Big Picture” of this assignment in the class?
  2. Have a “FedEx Day” – overnight delivery
  3. Try DIY Report Cards
    1. Students write down learning goals at the beginning of the semester
    2. Students write their own report cards and a 1-2 paragraph assessment of their progress at the end
    3. Then, show the teacher’s report card and discuss how they are doing on their path toward MASTERY
  4. Stop offering “If-Then” Rewards – make them “Now-That”
  5. Offer Praise…The Right Way
    1. Praise effort and strategy, not intelligence
    2. Make praise specific (no generalities)
    3. Praise in private (no award ceremonies)
    4. Offer praise only when there’s good reason (be sincere)
  6. Help the see the “Big Picture”
    1. Kids think: Why am I learning this? How is it relevant to my world?
      1. Reading
      2. Writing
      3. Arithmetic
      4. Relevance
  7. Investigate Type-I Schools
    1. Big Picture Learning
    2. Sudbury Valley School
    3. The Tinkering School
    4. Puget Sound Community School
    5. Montessori Schools
      (Children have natural curiosity & innate desire to learn)
  8. Learn from the “Unschoolers”
    1. They promote autonomy by allowing youngsters to decide what they learn and how they learn it. They encourage mastery by allowing children to spend as long as they’d like and to go as deep as they desire on the topics that interest them.
  9. Turn Students into Teachers – that’s what I’ve done with Key to Korean (Want to learn something? Teach it!)

Habits in the classroom

  1. The truth about Grading
    1. Let students know that their Habits are a big determiner in their Final grades.
    2. “I never saw a student on a smartphone get an A in my class.”
  2. Help Them Create Good Study Habits
  3. Teach them the Power of:
    1. Daily Habits
    2. Consistency
    3. Momentum
    4. The Compound Effect

Educate yourself

I’ve presented numerous resources throughout this talk. And I’ve asserted that the best teachers are good learners. Here are some tips for you to become better learners yourselves:

  1. Want to read more?
    1. Listen to podcasts
    2. “Read” books with
  2. Learn some Korean
    1. Empathize with your students
    2. Understand WHY students continually make the same kinds of mistakes
    3. Anticipate student mistakes before them make them (and address them)
    4. Being a student makes you a better teacher
    5. Check student understanding of vocab & grammar
    6. It will increase their interest in YOUR language

Thank you!

Resources mentioned in this talk

The links out to books I mentioned in this talk are Amazon affiliate links, so I will get a small commission if you click them and purchase something. That being said, here is everything I mentioned above:


Aaron Snowberger is an English professor at Jeonju University and the creator of, a Korean language learning blog that focuses primarily on Motivation. He has lived and worked in Korea since 2006, and has taught TOEFL, Debate, Computer Literacy, and Website Programming along with the usual blend of Conversational English classes.

Aaron earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Wyoming (USA) in 2006, and a Master of Fine Arts in Media Design from Full Sail University (USA) in 2011. His primary interests include web programming, Internet business and marketing, branding, print design, leadership, psychology, and the Korean language.

Technology Upgrade: Build a Customized Grade Book

Practically, enhanced teaching begins when teachers themselves are comfortable using technology and applying it to real-world problems. Before there can be a “technology upgrade” in the classroom, teachers must understand the benefits and uses of a particular piece of technology so they can share those with their students. And what better place for teachers to begin getting comfortable with technology than with their own personal productivity?

Technology in schools is no “passing fad.” But neither is every new tech initiative a “silver bullet” to solve every problem faced by teachers and students. Too often, technology and related skills are either taken for granted or overlooked. Schools invest money in technology and expect teachers to use it to educate and empower 21st century students. But before we can have empowered students, a solid foundation must be built on reliable infrastructure, effective administration, extensive resources, and enhanced teaching.

The first half of this presentation will focus on the first three points:

  1. Reliable infrastructure
  2. Effective administration
  3. Extensive resources

The second half will focus primarily on enhanced teaching.

Practically, enhanced teaching begins when teachers themselves are comfortable using technology and applying it to real-world problems. Before there can be a “technology upgrade” in the classroom, teachers must understand the benefits and uses of a particular piece of technology so they can share those with their students. And what better place for teachers to begin getting comfortable with technology than with their own personal productivity?

Therefore, the conclusion of this presentation will give suggestions for enhanced personal productivity as well as lay out the basic steps for the creation of a very versatile class grade book in Microsoft Excel.

KOTESOL Grade book Presentation Notes

Chameleons and camouflage: Do you stand out? Or do you blend in (and hide)?

My self intro: I’ve taught 6 years in Korea, 3 at Avalon Academy, 3 at Jeonju University. I have a BS in Computer Science and MFA in Media Design – earned completely online. I’ve taught Teacher Training classes in Technology at JJU for 2 semesters, summer 2011 and spring 2012 (now).

I’ve worked with educational websites throughout my entire career, including Avalon’s online writing and speaking platform, the MOODLE CMS for my own JJU classes, and my own experience taking a year of online class for my Master’s degree from Full Sail University in Florida. So, I have a pretty good idea what good teaching with technology looks like.

Additionally, when I teach about making grade books in Excel, it consistently is ranked as the best and most popular skill I teach other teachers. So, I’ll talk about that in this presentation.

The book I’m currently teaching is “The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide” by Doug Johnson, an English teacher, librarian, and district technology manager in his state in the US. It’s a great book, and many of my ideas have come from it.

Part One

Let me start with an observation – Technology Revolution. It’s revolutionized every field in the world…except maybe, education. In fact, ONLY education has not changed so much that a teacher from 1900 would not know what to do in today’s classrooms.

And when it comes to tech changes, we are creatures of habit – we like the old stuff even if its outdated. For example, new interfaces from Gmail and Facebook (Timeline) and the tons of resistance those received from (some) users. Sir Ken Robinson in a TED talk mentioned kids and wristwatches.

For kids under the age of 20, they see no need to wear a wristwatch, because technology tells the time all around them. But for the older generation (teachers), most of us wear wristwatches because we are creatures of habit, and its how we grew up. For our generation, a wristwatch was the best (only?) way to tell time, and even though it isn’t the most effective means of telling time nowadays, we still wear them.

Tech in schools is no “passing fad.” Neither is tech in schools a “silver bullet” (to solve every single problem with a single technology – though many administrators may come back from conferences with that kind of notion).

So then, WHY do we want tech in schools?


Tech in general really has 2 main functions:

  1. Automate – take standard operations and make them faster, more accurate, and less labor intensive.
  2. Informate (coined by Shoshana Zuboff in her book “In the Age of the Smart Machine” (1988)) – translating descriptions and measurements of activities, events, and objects into information.

The real power is in “informate.”


  • Grade book: Automate (calculate grades), Informate (make available to students, inform teachers of trends, inform parents)
  • Website tutorials: Automate (lessons), Informate (learn new skills at my own pace)
  • Student Devices: Automate (homework), Informate (learn from anywhere)

So how can we go from 1906 to 2012? “Attitude is everything.”

Look at the “Survival Skills for your Own Tech Use.” We’ll look at #5 in the following section.


  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Johnson’s Hierarchy of Educational Technology Needs
  • Johnson’s Hierarchy of Student Technology Use

We will look at “Personally Productive, Enhanced Teaching” with the grade book.

Part 2

There are probably 3 kinds of (Excel) people watching my talk today:

  1. Those who don’t really know Excel (a blank spreadsheet)
  2. Those who know the basics (a basic grade book)
  3. Power-users (like me) who want advanced techniques

This look at Excel with be fairly basic, but even Power-users can benefit from some of the specialization I will talk about, AND the fact that we are all forgetful. This will be a good reminder to those who already know how, and a good beginning for those who wish to learn more.

Creating the Grade book

The grade book has spaces for:

  1. Student names and numbers
  2. Test and Assignment grades
  3. Participation and Attendance grades
  4. Final grade percentages
  5. Final letter grades
  6. A schedule of classes and topics
  7. A place for Bonus Points
  8. A place for calculating a grading curve

The grade book needs to have the following requirements met:

  1. Use the =SUM(...) function
  2. Use the =IF(...) function
  3. Use 2 more functions of your choice:
  4. Fill out the info (including grades) for 10 students
  5. Make it “pretty” with good formatting and design

Example Gradebooks

  1. Simple Elementary Grade book
  2. Aaron’s Grade book Example

Example formulas:

=RANK(A1, A$1:A$10, 0)
Means RANK(“what student?”, “Whole class”, Descending order)

=IF(A1>=0.9, “A”, IF(A1>=0.8, “B”, IF(A1>=0.7, “C”, IF(A1>=0.6, “D”, “F”))))
Please remember to change the CELL numbers.


  • FIX the view: 보기 – 틀고정
  • Data Validation: 데이터 유효성

Some notes:

  • ISBLANK(CELL) only works on cells that are truly blank (no formula)
  • Need to be sure that “Automatic Calculations” (not Manual) is selected in the Excel Options.
  • Do you want to use points or percentages?
  • You CAN find out how many Absences they have using COUNTIF – but that only works on a continuous range of cells, not multiple selections
  • You CAN assign an “F/A” grade if the student has 9 or more absences – but that must be the FIRST argument in the cell.
  • Need to use the test “>=” to test grades, if using only “>” (for example, > 90) then it will evaluate wrongly. 90 would be “B” but “91” would be “A”
  • Therefore, separating Attendance and Participation VERTICALLY, rather than horizontally would probably work better.