Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blog Post #8

What Can We Learn About TEACHING and LEARNING From Randy Pausch? 

Randy Pausch

     "I mean I don't know how to not have fun. I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I'm going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there's no other way to play it," he said in his Carnegie Mellon lecture. "You just have to decide if you're a Tigger or an Eeyore. I think I'm clear where I stand on the great Tigger/Eeyore debate. Never lose the childlike wonder. It's just too important. It's what drives us." -Randy Pausch, Last Lecture

     Let me start off by saying, WOW. What an emotionally-filled, fun, entertaining way to grab someones attention with a video like that. I've never felt more, like I am on the right path, than I do after this video. There are so many things to be said about learning and teaching from Randy's video and I don't believe we will all come up with the same thing, because there are so many different aspects to it. I'm going to attempt to cover a small fraction of what I have learned from this experience. Randy's Last Lecture.

   Similar to what we covered, he mentions a few times about staying a learner. In the Pausch video Randy explains that throughout your time, stay curious, and learn always. One of the examples he gave of that was when he explained his first year of teaching Building Virtual Worlds. He was lost on what to do with students that had exceeded his expectations so he called his mentor for advice, and was told: "Tell them they can do better," and they did. For ten more years. Because he was constantly developing a way for his students to continually become better learners (and teachers) he himself was evolving and becoming a better learner. 
Another thing that I learned from watching this video is that PBL is not a new concept. Randy Pausch and his team were using PBL in their class in the 90's. Project Based learning WORKS and it is so effective that you can eventually make it the only way to get things done. 
RANDY NEVER STOPPED TAKING ADVICE FROM HIS COLLEAGUES AND PEERS. Did anyone else notice this? Any time he was presented with advice on how to change something or become better, he took it in stride. He worked collaboratively with people every day to become one of the best professors and he did so with the help of others. Learning is asking questions, finding the answers, and sharing those answers. One of the final thoughts he had was about sharing. People need to be able to share their work and show it off. In order to get to the best final product though, it takes a team of learners, not just one person.

  Throughout his lecture Randy goes back to his theory of "enabling others' childhood dreams." As an educator he does not focus on just his own, but others around him. I think this is one of the most important lessons he can show about teaching. Teaching has its hardships and not everything will go as planned the first time around. You won't always get into the school of your dreams, but with determination, help from others and taking good advice, you will probably be there. As a teacher Randy never gave up and he kept things FUN. He wanted to make sure his courses were entertaining. I think that if a course is not challenging AND entertaining then you lose a lot of the student's attention. "Never stop pursuing your childhood dreams." I think this speaks volumes about everyone's determination. One last thing on teaching would be that sometimes you have to give the students a "head fake". Sometimes we are teaching our students to develop a particular skill by making them think it is something entirely different. I just think this is such a great idea.

     Most importantly though, I think the lesson I learned from this video is that sometimes two people can be saying the exact same thing, and yet be saying to very different things by HOW they respond.
If a student brings you a question and you do not know how to do it, its easy to push it away and say "I DON'T KNOW!" and brush it away. But a true learner will respond in such a way that they too want to learn about it.... "I DON'T KNOW, BUT NOW I'M INTERESTED BECAUSE YOU'RE INTERESTED...." This is definitely something I will keep in mind, and I hope everyone else does too.  


  1. Hey Jennifer! I love how you started out the post with one of your favorite quotes from the video. Like you, I too thought this video was very emotional and I learned a lot just from this short lecture. You can really see what kind of person he is and it made me want to strive to be a better learner, teacher, and person in general. Your post is great!

    Callie Barton