Will Richardson voiced his frustration in a recent post about the trouble that he's having getting teachers to focus on the potential of Web 2.0 tools to enhance their own personal learning.

Part of me wonders if he's asking the right questions. It's hard to tell what Will is saying to the teachers. If he's trying to get at their own personal learning practices, it seems to me that the first questions may need to be

  • What are your personal and professional interests?
  • What are you passionate about? What do you care about?
  • How do you currently learn and grow in those areas?

All teachers are learners because all humans are learners (okay, 99.99% of humans are learners; we all know a few oddballs). If Will can find out how these educators acquire and gain new knowledge that is of personal and/or professional interest to them (particularly outside of school for their hobbies, music, athletics, and other outside interests), it seems to me there then exists a natural opening to discuss how various Web 2.0 tools can connect these folks to various communities and content of interest.

Will, perhaps you're doing all this already. For example, maybe you're contextually embedding your participants' learning by selecting one or more individuals, asking them what their interests are and how they learn and grow in those areas, and then illustrating in front of the rest of the audience how to expand those circles of knowledge and knowing using these new tools (look, here are 56 blogs about pomeranians! 204 blogs about orchids! a wiki devoted to knitting!).

I don't know what your strategies have been, Will; this is just what I'd do. But I'd love to learn more (hint, hint)!