I laugh because the parent website to TheHovercraftProject.com is PassionForEducation.org. My greater passion is learning. The reason I acquired that address is because PassionForLearning.org was already taken. I do have a passion for both, but how do they differ?
Education is giving or receiving instruction. Learning is knowledge gained through experience. I do love education in that we need to impart facts to students to help them relate to society. Examples would be : the alphabetic symbols and their meanings, mathematical symbols and their meanings, or looking both ways before crossing the street. Fundamental education is important because you don't want your kids to experience getting hit by a car before they learn that they should look both ways.
Learning is what happens in life, every second of every day, in all contexts, concurrently. Learning is a student creating their own meaning though their experiences. Learning is climbing on monkey bars and then letting go. (gravity) Learning is speaking to people and watching their facial expressions compared to what you say. (body language) Learning is sticking your finger in an ant hill to see if they are red ants. (wish I had been educated on this.) Learning is creating things that fail and creating again. You get the idea.
Education is necessary, however, we have taken it too far. We program our students with facts and knowledge without allowing them the time to backup that knowledge with experiences. I would even go so far as to say that much of that content is useless and pointless unless it is directly relevant to a students' life experiences. Why do you think students are educated, take a test, pass and then forget what they learned? Because they didn't really learn the material. They have no experience relating themselves to the material. They have no immediate use for the material. How can we solve this problem?
Here's what I would do. If I had a choice, I would teach students primarily how to learn and less of what to learn. Students would determine what to learn based on where they are in their ZPD (zone of proximal development) by creating their own projects and evaluations for those projects. They determine the meaning, content, and application of their learning. Teachers would assist using the Socratic method of Learning. (Use questions to facilitate learning) Do we need educational facts? Yes. However, let students discover facts and truth at their own pace and in their own time using project based instruction, modeled by the most passionate teachers in existence.