Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blog Post # 7

On September 18, 2007, Carnegie Mellon professor and alumnus Randy Pausch delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture. The video Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, has been viewed by millions and has been turned into a best-selling book published in 35 languages.He died of Pancreatic Cancer on July 25, 2008 at the age of 47. He was associated with Alice an academic project that is revolutionizing computer programming education, and co-founded  the Entertainment Technology Center. 

In the video, Pausch highlights lessons that all educators as well as individuals should know:
1. Fundamentals are immensely important. 
2. Critiques show they still care about you. 
3. Brick walls let us prove how badly we want something. 
4. Self-reflection is the best gift an educator can give.  
5. The best way to teach someone is to make them think they're learning something different. 

Randy Pausch and his three children
Pausch and his children
He emphasizes in his lecture the importance of fulfilling your childhood dreams. Some of his personal dreams were to experience zero gravity, play in the NFL, develop an imaginer attraction for Disney, become Captain Kirk, and write an article for World Book Encyclopedia. During his life, Pausch achieved each of these dreams in his own way .While trying to fulfill these dreams, many people hit Brick walls. As mentioned above these Brick walls (obstacles) make us reach farther for what we truly want and allow us to prove ourselves. He also explains that critiques who continually point out our flaws push us to be our best. Teachers, peers, parents and friends can all be critiques in our lives. They allow for self-reflection to take place, so that individuals can evaluate the way in which they perform for their environment and peers. Each of these concepts ultimately allow for students and individuals to fulfill their dreams to their fullest potential. 

The one teaching method that impacted me most was the head-fake. This method takes place when students believe they are learning one thing, but in reality they are learning something more. His example: Students who think they're learning how to make an electronic world when they're really learning computer programming. I think this is a great method. It incorporates fun and learning. This method allows students to be creative while acquiring technological skills much like EDM310. 

For me, the video was very encouraging. Pausch was a wonderful speaker, and even though he fell on hard times, he was still willing to educate others. His most profound head-fake was targeted at his audience. The lecture was not intended for us but was meant for his children. This was a very moving moment. This message was meant to encourage Pausch's three children, yet functions to impact us all. 


  1. Great summary of the video. I really enjoyed this video and it really made an impact on me. I agree with you that the best teaching method I got out of this was the head-fake. I think this is definitely something we are learning in EDM right now and I will apply it with my students. This can help engage them in something fun while still teaching them fundamentals. Great job!

  2. Randy Pauch's Last Speech truly is an inspiration and a great guide in how to be a good educator.