Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blog Post Assignment #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
Randy Pausch gave a lecture at MIT after being diagnosed with cancer. As is customary at MIT, when a professor is about to leave the University he or she gives a "Last Lecture", unfortunately this was actually Randy Pausch's last lecture ever.   In this lecture he tells about how to reach your childhood dreams. Here I will discuss some of the techniques he uses in his teaching.

Randy Pausch's main focus is hands on learning. His ALICE project is totally hands on. He teaches his students by letting them learn from experience. I believe that hands on teaching is the best kind of teaching.  Students can have a visual and kinesthetic representation of what the lesson is about.   You can tell students anything a million times and they may memorize it well enough to pass a test but if they can show you how they have mastered the concept you know they really understand it.

Another focus of Randy Pausch is to push his students to be better. In his lecture he tells about how when he first started the program and the students did much better on a project than they ever expected. He told them "That was good. But I know you can be better." He did this because he didn't know what they were capable of so he didn't know where to set the bar. Because of his lack of knowledge he continued to move the bar higher and higher. By telling them this he showed them they could do better.

He also believes in critiquing his students. He told a story from when he was playing football as a younger child and his football coach had been very hard on him. Another coach came up to him and told him that critiques are a great compliment because when someone stops critiquing you it means they have given up on you. When someone cares enough to critique you it means that they care and they still believe in you. As teachers we should constantly be critiquing our students.  We need to be telling them what they can improve on and making them better people and preparing them to make them to make an impact on the world, not just to pass the test and move onto the next class. 


  1. I think you are right. We as teachers need to critique our students. If we never critique them, they will never improve or be challenged to do better! Roll Tide! Go Braves! Am I allowed to say that on here?

  2. Jacaob, I feel you are right as well Educators must step up and teach our students right from wrong, for if we place too much motivation into our students efforts, this could in terms back fire and cause our students to under acheive to what their personal capabilites are!

  3. Jacob, I enjoyed reading your assessment of Randy's lecture. I think I took just about everything he said to heart. He is very knowledgeable and his techniques are amazing. I also enjoy the hands on technique which can help us always remember what we have learned instead of memorizing it and then throwing it away.

    I love the critique method as well. As humans, we are always making mistakes, and feedback is necessary in order to do it properly. As a former athlete and future coach I will be using this method a lot. Setting the bar higher as well as critiquing are things that we must always use and your post has reiterated that idea for me. Thanks again and good luck throughout your EDM experience.

  4. Jacob,
    Good summary post. This video was one of my favorites that I watched when I took this class. Always remember it!