The M7310 is a proprietary Nortel phone and will not work with Asterisk. To get started with Asterisk, I’d look at one of the already bundled packages which includes the FreePBX gui interface. Look at PBXinaFlash, Trixbox and Elastix for starters. You can learn from how those packages set up your system.
Many Asterisk purists will tell you to learn from the ground up starting with Linux and then building your own Asterisk configuration files, but that really isn’t necessary. Linux and Asterisk in their pure form will make the average noob crazy and discourage them from moving on with the project.