Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blog Post 6

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Technology has this special way of letting people live on well after they have left this world, and that is what all of Randy Pausch's lectures and such are doing for him. They are helping him live on, and this last lecture was actually a way to talk to his children and live on with them. He may have intended this lecture for his children, but he also reached millions of other people. Technology is definitely phenomenal in this way. In his last lecture, he talks about his childhood dreams, helping other achieve their childhood dreams, and the lessons he learned along the way.

First of all, he talked about his childhood dreams. He achieved some, altered some, and didn't achieve some. With the ones that he didn't achieve, he got something better out of. He said this phrase over and over again, "Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things." This is a marvelous saying that we'll have to teach to our students because it's inevitable that they will run into some of these brick walls while learning. Another quote I loved that he said he learned at Electronics Arts was, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." This ties perfectly into the previous quote. Most of what we will be teaching our kids will be learned through something that Randy Pausch likes to call "head fakes." We will have to learn to teach our kids difficult concepts that they wouldn't normally want to learn through making fun so they won't even notice that they are learning.

The next item he discussed was helping others achieve their childhood dreams. He started a course at Carnegie Mellon called Building Virtual Worlds, to achieve this item. This also helped them learn to work as a group, and they were required to do, make, and show something. He, like Dr. Strange, advocates "no book learning," or as Dr. Strange would say, "no burp back education." This is something even we can use in our classroom because learning should be by doing, not memorization. Another thing that we can apply to our classroom is displaying student work. Even these college students got excited to put on a show of their projects for people who were truly interested in what they were doing. One of Randy Pausch's legacies, Alice, is another thing we can apply to our classroom. He "head fakes" them into learning them how to program by making it a fun video game where you tell a story. These type video games will be vital in our classroom because this will engage so many of our students.

Now, the last item he discussed was the lessons he has learned along the way. Parents, mentors, students, friends, and colleagues, have to help with this aspect. Our students will actually be the ones that we will probably learn the most from. One of my favorite things that Randy Pausch quotes is from Andy van Dam, and he told Pausch, "... you might as well be selling something as worthwhile as education." He then lists some tips: never lose what drives you, help other people, be loyal, don't give up, get other people to help you by focusing on others, never bail, listen to feedback, show gratitude, and don't complain. These are things that we should be teaching to our students along the way. We are not only teachers of academics, but life lessons as well. Some more important advice he gives is this: be good at something, find the good in people, and be prepared.

In Pausch's last lecture, he actually "head fakes" the listeners, twice. The first is, his lecture really isn't about how to achieve your dreams, but rather, how to lead you life. By leading your life in the right way, your dreams coming true will follow. Then the second was, this lecture was actually for his children, like I mentioned in the first paragraph. I'm glad that Pausch's memory will be able to live on through his videos. He is such an inspiring man. Nothing can get him down, and I think that's an important lesson that we, as future educators, should embrace with open arms because there will be days when we will just want to give up. We need these inspiring people to push us, and we should strive to be as inspiring as they are to us.

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