Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blog Post #7

LastLectureCover.jpgRandy Pausch: The Last Lecture
    First, I want to say that I am so glad this blog post assignment came when it did. It was such good timing for me personally. It's the middle of the semester and I've reached that point where I'm just sick of school and want to be done and this was a good motivator for me to keep going. Before watching this, I had heard a lot of good things about it but had never gotten around to actually watching the video.
     In this lecture, Pausch discusses his childhood dreams, how he achieved them, and the lessons he has learned from them. His childhood dreams were: zero gravity, to play in the NFL, being an author in the World Book Encyclopedia, Being/Meeting Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, and being a Disney Imagineer. In some way or another, he achieved all of these dreams but one- playing in the NFL. However, it is this dream that he cites as being the dream that he learned the most from. He played football as a kid and one day at practice his coach rode him all day about what he was doing wrong and he never let up. When he was telling someone about this particular day at practice they told him something that changed his views completely. They said "When you're screwing up and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up." This quote inspired not only him, but me as well when I heard it. You never really think about things in that light and so when someone shows it to you, it really opens your eyes up.
     After going through his list of childhood dreams and how each was accomplished or not, he goes on to talk about enabling the childhood dreams of others. He realized that he could do that by being a professor. He is a professor at Carnegie Mellon and he created a course called "Building Virtual Worlds."  There were 50 students in this course from all different colleges at the school. In the course, they were divided into 4 person teams to do projects 2 weeks at a time. At the end of the 2 weeks the groups would present their projects and over time more and more people came to watch these presentations. In his lecture, he included an example of one of the projects- the bunny and creating the world. I thought the  video was really cool and it was neat to watch someone just wave their hands and something come up on the screen. Eventually the class became a campus phenomenon. At the presentations, he tried to involve the audience using technology that was also used at the premiere of Spider Man 3 in LA. The technology let the audience control what was on the screen.
      He taught this course for 10 years before passing it along to someone else and creating something new. He worked with another staff member to create the Entertainment Technology Center. The ETC is a two year profession masters degree. When he was describing the course he said it was like Cirque du Soleil. People say Cirque du Soleil is like a circus, but not like any circus you have ever seen. ETC is a masters degree, but not like any masters degree you've ever seen. The course was all project based and really technology centered. At the end of this segment he said something really cool about how he felt about the ETC: "Millions of kids having fun while learning something hard." I think that quote speaks wonders about technology in the classroom. Kids find technology interesting, exciting and new. If we can merge something they find so exciting with education, they are really going to learn a lot more and it will most likely be easier for them to do so.
       The final topic of discussion was lessons learned. The lessons he has learning throughout are: mentors are important, work hard, don't complain, never lose the child-like wonder- it's what drives us, help others, have fun, loyalty is a 2-way street, never give up, be honest, focus on others, and show gratitude. If you lead your life the right way, the dreams will come to you. The very last thing he said in his lecture was my absolute favorite part of the entire thing. In the last seconds of the speech he said "This talk's not for you, it's for my kids."


  1. I completely agree that this assignment came at such a perfect time! Midterms are so stressful! The quote "when you're screwing up and nobody is saying anything, it is because they have given up" inspired me as well. You truly to not think of things in this way and it was nice to hear. I also found it inspiring and encouraging when he stated that this talk was for his kids. For some reason that just really touched me!

  2. I totally agree with what you said about Mr. Pausch. It's an extremely motivating video. I can't believe how he acts even though he was told he has little time to live. It's a breath of fresh air to see someone with that much life. It also makes you realize when you think you have it rough there are so many others out there struggling. He sets a great example for all of us.