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Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. Right?…Right?

How terribly droll. No, teaching isn’t the preserve of the inept. Teaching is an important process in learning. One of my first technology jobs had this baked into its training process, where new hires had to “see one, do one and teach one”.

Teaching allows you to consolidate information you’ve learned, and to absorb new concepts faster and better. And it is no longer the preserve of academics and schoolteachers. Anyone can become a teacher. Here’s how.

Start A Blog

So, I’m a software developer by trade. I do front-end and back-end stuff; I am always reading about the latest trends on HackerNews 10 Websites Where Cool Computer Geeks Reside 10 Websites Where Cool Computer Geeks Reside Geeks were once ridiculed and reviled. Or perhaps that was just at my school. Either way, as first computers hit the mainstream, and then the Internet entered into our lives in a big way, geeks... Read More and Reddit; and Im always hacking away at something or other. And I blog.

Whenever I learn something new, or see something cool, I

Firstly, it means that I end up understanding stuff that little bit better. I consolidate new concepts, transforming them from purely practical applications to something more concrete. I can also learn from the people who end up leaving a comment, which is often. It’s also incredibly gratifying when people leave comments, thanking you for articulating something which they struggled to understand before.

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Secondly, it means that I can curate an air of authority. I can show other people (and potential employers) that I’m passionate about learning, developing and improving. This is incredibly valuable, especially when I’m on the hunt for internships or employment.

Getting started with blogging is incredibly easy. I’m incredibly fond of the WordPress platform, which has an incredible community surrounding it 4 Reasons Why Blogging Beginners Should Be In The WordPress Community 4 Reasons Why Blogging Beginners Should Be In The WordPress Community The WordPress community is notoriously helpful and supportive, and ridiculously active. Here's how to connect with them. Read More . If you’re a total novice in this field, why don’t you check out MakeUseOf’s WordPress manual, which should teach you all you need to know about getting started with WordPress.

Start A Podcast

Got a laptop with a built in microphone?

That’s all you need to start a podcast 4 Tips for Producing a Professional-Sounding Podcast 4 Tips for Producing a Professional-Sounding Podcast They say content reigns king when producing a podcast, but it's not the only thing that matters. Read More . I’m serious. Grab a copy of free sound-recording titan Audacity, and you’re set. You can use Audacity 10 Creative Uses For Audacity That You Probably Haven’t Thought Of 10 Creative Uses For Audacity That You Probably Haven’t Thought Of You've probably heard of Audacity. It's a free cross-platform application for recording and mixing, which also happens to be incredibly powerful and versatile. You can use it to record vocals, instruments and other sounds, mix... Read More for many creative projects. But why should you care?

I listen to a lot of podcasts. I’ve appeared on podcasts in the past, and in the past I’ve even ran a couple of my own. For those completely uninitiated with the concept of podcasting, they allow you to create radio shows which are distributed online. Whilst they can be comparatively quite costly to host and produce, they come with some pretty compelling selling points.

teaching-microphone

Let’s be blunt. Podcasts are big business. Many people listen to them as they while away their commutes and the working day. Millions are downloaded daily, and they’ve become almost ubiquitous. If you want to reach a large number of people, but perhaps aren’t too keen on writing a blog, you should consider starting a podcast. At the very least, you’ll learn about public speaking, which is a useful skill to have.

There’s a notable downside. Hosting podcasts is  expensive, especially when you’re hosting it yourself. Success can be quite costly (WBEZ’s This American Life costs almost $160,000 to distribute) and it’s actually reasonably difficult to monetize podcasts, especially when compared to blog advertising.

Teach A MOOC Course

I always thought ‘MOOC’ was an insult dished out by New-York gangsters in Scorsese films.

Yeah, perhaps not. It stands for ‘Massive Open Online Course’, and they’re democratizing education, allowing people to take university-level courses without having to fork out the exorbitant fees demanded by most universities.

I’ve written about MOOC as compelling alternatives 4 Online Courses You Could Take Instead Of Going Back to School 4 Online Courses You Could Take Instead Of Going Back to School Going for a university education is an expensive proposition. There's no doubting that. For most people, this is totally worth it. The advantages that having a degree to your name totally outweigh the crushing indebtedness... Read More , and I’m pretty fond of them, having enrolled in a couple of courses myself. Whilst many are run by bricks-and-mortar universities in the US, Australia and Europe, there are opportunities to run your own courses online.

Sites such as Udemy and Curious (my favorite) allow anyone to run an online course, and even earn money whilst you’re at it. You also get to interact with people on your course, learning from user feedback and constantly improving. Cool, right?

Reddit fans can check out The University of Reddit, which is a MOOC platform loosely associated with the popular social news website. It allows people to create their own courses, and already has a healthy user base, although lacks some of the features found on Udemy and Curious.com

Start a YouTube show

YouTube has allowed the most irritating breed of jump-cutting, pseudo-random twerps to unleash their inane ramblings on an audience of millions. It has also allowed very smart people indeed to run courses, teaching people and developing a following.

Perhaps the most famous one of these is The New Boston, run by a chap called Bucky. For years, Bucky has been running classes in Java, PHP and C++. These have been watched and shared by millions, and although many have found quarrel with certain aspects of his programming technique (especially with respect to the naming of variables and functions), the quality of his content is actually pretty decent.

Getting started on YouTube is really quite easy. Likewise, monetizing YouTube content is easy, with Google’s AdSense platform being baked in and accessible to anyone who has posted a moderately successful video at some point. The difficult part is developing your audience and your content.

For me, the latter would be the most pressing concern. YouTube comments are notoriously bad, and it’s often difficult to distinguish between genuine criticism and blatant trolling. To the credit of Google — the owners of YouTube — they’ve started addressing this by linking YouTube accounts to Google Plus (and therefore the real-life identities of the posters).

Conclusion

Teaching is a fun, rewarding experience, and one I would recommend wholeheartedly. It should go without saying that the Internet has been incredible in the way it democratizes the ways one can share our experiences and knowledge.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Are you using the Internet to teach? Are you enrolled in any online classes? Drop me a comment below.

  1. James Epp
    March 21, 2014 at 1:09 am

    helpouts.google.com -- "Real help from real people in real time"

    • Matthew H
      March 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      How did I not know about this? Thanks ever so much man.

  2. Nick Kark
    March 20, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Hi Matthew,

    Great article that summarizes the dominant techniques to share your knowledge and insights.

    May I suggest a 5th way? You can use OpenKnowledgeworker (http://www.openknowledgeworker.org/) to create and share e-learning coures with interactive content for free, under a CC licence.

    What do you think?

    • Matthew H
      March 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      That's really interesting! Thanks for your comment!

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