Sunday, June 27, 2010

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

This video was around an hour and seventeen minutes. Every second was worth it. From watching this lecture, it seems that Pausch focused on project based learning the most with his students. By implementing this method, the students get hands on work and have the opportunity to draw ideas off of each other which, most of the time, creates a better product than if the student worked alone. I'm beginning to find out that a project based class, such as this one, is better than just reading and writing all the time (much like my other class at the moment). The amazing thing about the projects that Pausch had his students do was that they completely blew him away. He did not know what to do. This brings us to the next teaching method that I've never even really thought of before.

Due to being completely amazed at the first project he assigned, Pausch had to do something so his students would keep amazing him. So, he told them that they could do better next time. Pausch called this "not setting a bar". By not letting the students know how great they really did, they achieved more and more with each project. This idea was actually given to him by someone else but by Pausch doing this, it created the popularity of his students' virtual world simulators. Which, by the way, the example he showed was really cool even though it was creepy.

The next completely awesome thing that Pausch did that I've never thought about was called "the head fake". A head fake is making the students do something without them knowing that they're actually learning. The biggest example of this is Alice, a virtual life program that he helped create. When I saw this part, I remembered using Alice in the 10th grade, or at least trying to (slow computers). This also reminded me of how much my son learns from watching cartoons, such as saying "Si" instead of "Yes" from watching Dora. While Alice is a cool program, from what I've seen of it, the best head fake was at the end when he told everyone that the lecture was really for his children.

Everything that I mentioned above was great but I got way more out of this video than just teaching methods. Pausch said talked about always working as hard as you can to reach achieve your dreams. To go beyond that, he said not to let a brick wall get in the way of your dreams. This is motivation and inspiration that can be passed from person to person, especially from teacher to student. I am very glad that I got to watch Pausch's Last Lecture and that he got the chance to inspire so many people, even after his death.


  1. Jessica,

    I think this video is so amazing. It completely changed my perspective on teaching and life. I actually started crying at the end. Randy Pausch was one wonderful person. It is great that he has affected so many people, and his lecture will continue. When I am a teacher, I hope to leave a legacy as great as his.

  2. Excellent analysis of the Pausch lecture Jessica.

    I agree project based learning is a much more effective way to impart information. We learn so much better by doing. Project based learning is Pausch's "Head fake" in action. Like in EDM310, yes, students must complete all of these projects but as a result they learn to use a lot of great, free tools. Students also learn to find more tools, communicate, and collaborate.

    Randy Pausch is truly an inspiration. I think this lecture is a classic that people will be talking about and learning from for many years to come.

    Keep up the good work Jessica. SS