Guest Writer: Tech Training & Tutorials via

Today I have a really special post for you about, a great website for teachers to learn about using technology. was started this year by Brent Warner, an ESOL educator and tech enthusiast based in California. Brent was a classmate of mine at USC, so he even agreed to tell you about the site himself. I am thrilled to be able to introduce you to and hope you check it out today. Take it away, Brent!

Brent Warner

Guest Writer Brent Warner

“If you can’t meet your students where they are, they’ll never follow you where you want to take them.”

Being a teacher in today’s environment is far different than at any other time in the history of education. In the past, inventions such as chalk boards, film projectors, OHPs, and the like helped us find different ways to connect with our students. We had years to work with them and master them, and, frankly, not a lot of thought went into stretching their true potential.

Now we’ve stepped into a new era, where anyone with a laptop can be a content creator. We’re no longer bound by what big publishers tell us to do and instead we can customize how we work with our own content and our preferred technologies. Instead of years to master the new technologies, we have days.

While this is an undeniable benefit, for many it’s an intimidating task. Most teachers I know were never trained to bring technology into the classroom and the best training they’ve gotten was at a weekend seminar teaching them how to make a basic PowerPoint. While these efforts are noble, teachers only have to glance up from their lesson plans to see that their students are flying right by them—using technology in ways the teachers never even considered possible, let alone worth trying.

Recognizing the growing gap between teachers and students, I launched The goal of the site is to create an empowering community and resource for teachers who truly desire to be as effective as possible, but might not know where to start. It’s my intention to bring some simple, and some more complicated tutorials that can help spark ideas in the minds of proactive instructors.

Many times when I tell people what I do with my site, they look bemused and respond along the lines of “I’ve been teaching for ___ years, and I’ve been fine without all this technology.”

Fair enough.

But that kind of dismissal makes me think about the last time I was at the dentist. Recently I had to get an overlay procedure done, and I was a little wary because I’d done similar procedures when I was younger. I was apprehensive because I knew it would require several visits: X-rays, molding, sending off to the lab, and the actual overlay.

Imagine my surprise when the whole process took about an hour and 20 minutes. This was not my childhood dental procedure.

Teaching should be the same. You don’t have to turn your world upside down, but incremental incorporation of technology should be a regular part of your routine. If you’re teaching the same way you taught 10 years ago, the truth is that you haven’t been developing yourself as a teacher. A student who comes to you now should not expect the same experience as a student who came to you 10 years ago, much the way I shouldn’t have expected my dental procedure to be as slow and consuming as it was when I was younger. is designed to help you take those incremental steps. It’s not demanding, and it’s not overwhelming. My intention is to bring you practical and actionable steps that will bring you one step closer to where your students already are. Where you take them after that is up to you.

About Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen recently completed her Master's degree in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California. She currently teaches in the Intensive English Program at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has taught ESOL in China, Japan, and Cambodia as well as online. Her primary interests are communicative teaching methods and the use of technology in education.
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3 Responses to Guest Writer: Tech Training & Tutorials via

  1. Brent says:

    Very well said, Linda. I hope that more people feel empowered to take your approach to it. My thought has always been that teachers need to be life-long learners. Teachers like you who are proactive should be the standard! The best part (for me) is that I get to learn all this fun stuff as a part of what I do.

  2. Linda Rogers says:

    I feel I have to keep reminding teachers that the students they are educating are going out into a world where not knowing the technology to do their jobs is not an option and employers do not take responsibility for training. If you are an educator get up to speed on the tech you need or retire and get out of the way. You should know how to use your CMS as a bare starting point, but also to Skype, web-conference, make and edit video, make slide shows for embedding, capture your desktop, use Google hangouts, Tweet, blog, edit images for display, convert docs to pdf, and…. anything else that your students probably already know. If you answer that you are too old to learn this, consider that this poster is over 60, knows all of this and no one has ever taught me how to do it. As a non-profit worker, it’s simply what’s been expected over the years, just like in every other workplace.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thanks for your comment, Linda! I really like how you emphasized how important tech knowledge is to employers. You’re absolutely right on that point and it’s an important one for teachers to think about. Your list of skills is lengthy and it’s great that you’ve been able to master them on your own. While a lot of this is, as you mentioned, expected, it can still be very intimidating and not just for certain generations. There are so many websites, programs, techniques, etc out there that many teachers, including myself, feel overwhelmed. There’s really no way to learn all of it well. Here’s something to think about that I heard recently. Teachers should not find new resources and try to force their curriculum to fit them, but seek out resources that support the objectives they’ve created for their students. In other words, choose what you want to teach first and the technology to do so second. I think this is a great approach and something that will help keep teachers focused on their teaching.