Technology leveling the playing field

Bitesize Irish Gaelic has been a public web app since 2010. I find it interesting how technology has leveled the playing field since then in this of online learning.

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I was (and am) a software developer, and the solution looked like it needed software to be built for it.

I developed a custom content management system for it. That allowed me to have hacks to get it going, like writing custom markers in the lesson text, and that being automatically filled into a databaes, where a script them tells me which audio to record.

There’s a fine-line between needing custom software, and taking something off the shelf. It seems the off-the-shelf options are becoming more viable as the web matures.


WordPress, which now powers this site again, has been maturing over the years. Its parent company has continued to invest in it, so the platform has been getting better instead of getting older.

This blog, at the time of writing, is being hosted on DigitalOcean using a one-click installer for WordPress. You still need technical skills to manage it, but there are simpler solutions out there like Wix and SquareSpace, plus the hosted version of WordPress.


WordPress too has matured into a platform where you can build and sell e-learning courses. Plugins like WP Courseware and MemberMouse let you run full membership sites (integrated with Discourse for community, see below).


The forum software Discourse has matured, surpassing old forum softwares. For $20/month, you can set you a home for your own community, your own cause.

I’m excited about what sense of community we can build around Bitesize. This is going to be our tool of choice.


Airtable lets you build applications on top of database structures. It’s a viable option for a “get it working” type of solution, if you don’t have teams of software developers at your disposal (or even if you do).

I built a prototype event registration system with Airtable, which did work. It would let people choose a session, register for the session, and get emailed details of the topic for that session.

You don’t have many excuses left

You’re it. There’s no longer the middleman in your way, someone you have to get permission from. You don’t need permission. You can create today. All you have to get past is yourself.