Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blog Assignment #6

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

When I noticed that Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams was an hour long, I dreaded watching it. Not because what he had to say would not be interesting, but simply because I can barely sit still that long. I was pleasantly surprised to find the hour quickly go by, and me wanting more! I can be classified as a "dreamer" easily. This video was so fitting to my life, and everyone's, for that matter, because we all have dreams. This blog post assignment is my favorite so far (and the easiest to pen). The only part of the lecture that I didn't like was that I wasn't in the audience!

For those who are not familiar with Randy Pausch, I will fill you in. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who passed away from cancer in 2008. He wrote the book The Last Lecture for his children but it has received worldwide recognition. This lecture is all about Pausch's childhood dreams and how we can achieve our own career and personal goals. At the beginning of the lecture, Pausch addresses the elephant in the room by showing the audience his CAT scan of the ten tumors in his liver. The doctors gave him only roughly 6 months of good health left. He did not, however, want to talk about cancer, spirituality and religion, or his wife and children. He believes that, "we cannot change the cards we are dealt; just how we play the hand." I really admire Pausch for how he lived his life after learning he had only a short time left.

For this lecture, Pausch talks about his childhood dreams and how we can achieve our dreams and enable the dreams of others. The following is a list of Pausch's dreams: being in zero gravity, playing in the NFL, being Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, authoring an article in the World Book encyclopedia, and being a Disney Imagineer. The last one is my favorite for obvious reasons, and I noticed Pausch is wearing a Disney cast member name badge (I have one too!). Pausch did end up achieving many of his childhood dreams, and the ones he didn't quite achieve he says he, in a way, achieved more than what he could have imagined.

Randy Pausch gave me some great ideas for teaching. He believed in project based learning, which I love. I abhor the traditional textbook learning. When he taught at Carnegie, his classes were made up of projects, and only projects. He shows the end results of his students' work, including making a virtual world using technology. I thought it was cute because the bunny went from living in a plain world to a world full of trees and sunshine. Pausch loved the idea that "millions of children can have fun while learning something hard." I want my students to always have fun in my classroom while receiving an excellent education. I want my teaching methods to be fun and memorable!

I took a lot away from this presentation, but the most important thing Pausch said was to always keep the child-like wonder. Some other advice I took away was to have fun every single day of your life, because life is so short and fragile. Be a Tigger, not an Eeyore. Tell the truth. Be earnest. Apologize when wrong. Focus on others, not yourself. Help others. Okay, at this point of the presentation, I am starting to tear up a little. Overall, Pausch's presentation was very inspiring and I got a lot out of it.


  1. "When I noticed that Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams was an hour long, I dreaded watching it." Such short attention spans students have these days.

    Even though this lecture was addressed to his kids, every educator can take many lessons from it! It appears that you are doing just that.

    Succinct. Thorough, thoughtful, well done! Thanks

  2. Elizabeth,

    I enjoyed reading your post. You are a very great writer. I could feel the emotion you have by reading your work. Pausch's presentation was awesome. I learned so many things I had never thought about before.

    "Overall, Pausch's presentation was very inspiring and I got a lot out of it." - You need a comma after inspiring.

    This was the only mistake I found. You done a great job with this post. It was very thoughtful and informative!

    Jamie Ham