Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
I will be honest, when I saw that I was going to have to watch a one hour video I was not too excited. Well now I can definitely say that I have changed my mind. This was a truly inspiring and amazing last lecture. For a man that is dying of cancer to get up there and give such an amazing lecture really astounds me! Randy Pausch did such a great job keeping the audience listening by injecting humor into the lecture that it did not even feel like it was an hour long. I would recommend anyone to watch this video. The main points of Pausch's lecture are his childhood dreams, enabling the childhood dreams of others, lessons learned, and how to get people to help you.
Pausch starts off his lecture by talking about his childhood dreams. His dreams were being in zero gravity, playing in the NFL, authoring an article in the World Book Encyclopedia, being like Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, and being a Disney Imagineer. Pausch got to accomplish all of his childhood dreams except playing in the NFL. While he did not succeed in accomplishing all of his dreams on the first try, with dedication he was able to accomplish them all. Pausch talked about brick walls being there for a reason; they prove who wants things badly enough. I thoroughly agree with this point. If everything in life was given to you, you would never truly appreciate the things you have. Pausch goes on to talk about playing football as a kid. While he never got to play in the NFL, he did have an amazing coach who taught him about fundamentals and the "head fake". The "head fake" is a way of learning indirectly. While the kids play football just for the game, they are really learning about team work, working hard, and practicing. This is a great way for anyone to learn anything. When you make learning fun your students will want to learn more.
The next point that Pausch talks about is enabling the dreams of others. As a professor, Pausch thought that it was important to help his students reach some of their childhood dreams. One way of accomplishing this was by creating the Building Virtual Worlds class. This was a class that consisted of 50 students from around the world who had to come together and work on five projects during a semester. The students were grouped in fours and the groups would change at the end of every project (about two weeks). Another project of Pausch's was the Dream Fulfillment Factory project. Pausch worked on this project with Don Marinelli. This was a 2 year degree program that brought artists and technologists together to work on projects. The curriculum is strictly project based. The ALICE program is yet another project that Pausch worked on. This program teaches student about computer programming through making videos and video games. I believe that helping our students have the tools necessary to reach their dreams should be the goal of all teachers. As educators we are blessed to be able to know the dreams of our students and should do everything in our power to help them reach them.
The third point that Pausch touched on was some lessons he learned on his journey. Pausch talks about how important the roles of parents and mentors are in children's lives. Parents should try to give their kids some freedom and give them room to grow creatively. Parents should also be there to support their children, especially during the hard times. Mentors are also very important in the lives of students. These mentors give the students guidance and help them reach their goals. Some other lessons that Pausch learned include respect authority while questioning it, have fun, never lose the child-like wonder, help others, loyalty is a two way street, and never give up. I believe this lessons are very important. As educators we need to try and reach our students on their level and we must also remember to always question things we are not sure of.
The last thing that Pausch talked about in his lecture was ways to get people to help you. Pausch says you must tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you screw up, and focus on others, not yourself. These are very important things to know. By doing all of these things you can build relationships with people that may benefit you in the future. Some other things he adds to the end are to get a feedback loop and listen to what is said, always show gratitude, and don't complain, just work harder.
Everything that Pausch discussed in his last lecture is quite relevant to life. It is important to follow your dreams, help others accomplish their dreams, and make sure you learn life's lessons along the way. Pausch was an amazing man who will be greatly missed in the educational world. I was truly glad to have the opportunity to watch his last lecture and blog about it. If you are reading this blog and have not watched the video, I encourage you to do so. It may change your life!