Randy Pausch: The Last Lecture.
How can someone describe the importance of Randy Pausch's work, and give due justice? When a man goes as far as using his last days to continue teaching others about life, justice is not obtainable. All we can do is listen to his lessons and take to heart the message he wanted us to hear. The overwhelming theme of his talk was how to live your life by learning from your dreams,helping others achieve theirs, and most importantly have fun doing it.
How did he help others achieve their dreams? He taught them. He allowed them to be creative. He didn't set a bar. He had fun. He taught them by teaching something else that they thought was fun. Dr. Pausch referred to this as a "head fake." No one wants to be forced to learn, the magic happens when students want to learn. This approach will keep the students engaged, and the quality of work they will do will be much better. The Alice program is a perfect example. By allowing students to "play" with this virtual world they will "learn" how to program.
Creativity was also very important to Dr. Pausch. When used correctly, creativity can inspire students to undertake breathtaking feats. In the building virtual worlds class he told his student to make a world. The specifics was completely up to them. After two weeks the students presented their work. The results were so amazing that he had to call his mentor for advice on how to react to this high level of work. The point here is creativity is a force that will drive students to the edge of their limits and beyond. Once students see that they required another piece of the puzzle to complete their picture, they will learn how to acquire it.
The advice Dr. Pausch received from his mentor was "If you set a bar for them, you will be doing them an injustice." This holds true in so many different ways. Setting a bar will allow students to see a finish line. After seeing the results from the first building virtual worlds project, Dr. Pausch told his students "that was good, but you can do better." The projects grew more complex, more puzzle pieces were needed, and most importantly more puzzle pieces were acquired. If the bar had been set as the first project being perfect, would the students have ventured into new territories? Should teachers ever set bars in the classroom? Bars are ceilings, they tell students, this is the top you don't have to go any farther.
What is the easiest thing someone can do to make someone else interested in what they are doing? Have fun doing it. Did Tom Sawyer convince the other kids to paint the fence by saying how hard it was? No, the kids would have left. The point here is find joy in all that you do. Live your life to the fullest and for every second that it has to offer. If your doing good and having fun doing it then the other people in your life: friends, family, and students will follow your lead.
Thank you Dr. Pausch. The life you have led will echo throughout all time. You are an inspiration to millions, and to me. I understand now what it is that I must do. I have to have more fun. I have to stop letting the fear of standing out getting in the way and just do it. I will become a teacher. I will educate the future generations. I will have fun doing it.