Passion and PD: A Discussion Starter

In the online facilitator’s course I’m taking right now I was asked to create a discussion starter for the “break room” forum in my class. I played off of my previous posts on passion and professional development to come up with this, which I thought I’d share here.

A passionate student is a learning student. We have to tap into our students’ passions as people to tap into their desire to learn.

As an educational technologist I often say that “pets and babies will teach teachers more about technology than I ever will.” I’m finally experiencing this myself – I’ve got a four month old baby boy named Clark. Suddenly I’ve got digital video camera and a new interest in sharing video online. My first YouTube video was Clark “discovering wind” in the park – he loves it!

What passions do you have that most motivate you to learn?

I’d be particularly stoked if anyone would like to respond here as well. It’s been a long while since I did any sort of “getting to know my readers” activity on this blog. :)

PS. Here’s the actual video: Clark Discovers Wind. (I put no effort at all into editing it, you can see his dramatic reaction to the wind at about 2 min and 20 seconds into it.)

2 Responses to “Passion and PD: A Discussion Starter”

  1. Jeremy Davis Says:

    Hey Mark,

    Very cool. I have found the very same thing happened to me. I have an almost 3 year old and an almost 3 week old, and their very existence has inspired me to learn more about my .mac account (or mobile me now) and put up web galleries for the family with RSS feeds, start a quick homepage for family and friends and actually organize my iphoto library. Rather than worrying about grandparents complaining about not seeing enough pictures, I have set them all up on RSS feeds to they get email linnks whenever I update the kids’ photos. Because I want to spend more time with them and less time on silly tasks I have also started using diigo and just started twitter.

    I think some of the best classroom examples come from the project based learning that is going on all over southern california, with the kids in Jaime Knight’s class in Huntington and their music videos, or the kids involved in the media festivals. Almost none of them are interested in fractions from a book, but they crave learning music in 3/4 time with sixteenth notes.

    You learn for necessity or desire. If you don’t feel the need to learn something, then you have to be passionate about it. I don’t need to read the Harry Potter books, but I get them the first day and read every spare moment until I am finished. I dig fantasy books. I need to know the technology pieces of our new math curriculum so I can show it to the teachers in September. I don’t need to know anything about cats, and I don’t like them much, so I won’t learn about it.

    We have to tap that as teachers.


  2. Sarah Lovelidge Says:

    Mark – Great post, both as a break room starter and a central idea in teaching. I was glad to learn from Jeremy’s comment that project based learning is going on in southern california. Here in the east the pendulum is still on the “teach to the test” swing. Hopefully it will be returning to something more sustainable in the near future.

    I’m on board with necessity or desire being my compelling why. I learn because I want to know how to do things, most particularly now with web design. At the same time, I’m reading to learn more about geology just because I want to know. I do like cats, and know a lot about them, but I am learning about dog training, as I prefer a well-behaved puppy.

    Now that you mention it, my goal this summer will be to post a video of my puppy catching her frisbee.

    Jeremy is right, we do have to “allow” students to learn what and how they desire to learn.