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Currently a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in secondary math education.I have a deep affinity for old typewriters, pens, and keys.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blog Assignment 7

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
Dr. Randy PauschImage via Wikipedia

This was a very interesting speech and well worth watching. If you were only going to watch a portion of this video I would go with the summary but I very strongly discourage that. The best piece of advice he gives to us future educators is almost right at the hour mark when he says, "...we learn from our students." It's so packed full of information it's almost impossible to break it down. The breadth of what he covers throughout his speech is truly advice that can be taken into any aspect of life no matter who you are or what you do.

One of my favorite parts of the speech is very early on and it's a lesson in life I have always tried to keep in mind. When Dr. Pausch talks about his childhood dreams and he gets to football it's the only dream that really broke the mold. In talking about this childhood dream he explains how it wasn't about achieving or not achieving the dream but the lessons he learned in working towards it. It's rare that something you learn will ever apply to a singular situation in life, you can always take it, manipulate it, and use it to work through similar problems as they present themselves. The other life lesson he teaches us while talking about this specific dream is that it's not when people are riding you down and getting on you about mistakes because it shows they still care. It's when people stop noticing your mistakes and correcting you that you know they've given up and don't think you can accomplish it.

This brings me to my next point that he makes. When he was talking about his dream to be an imagineer for Disney and he quotes Jon Snoddy as saying, "Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you…just give them enough time and they will almost always impress you." This is something  to always keep in at least the back of your head. It's important to give people, especially students, a chance not only to prove themselves but also to redeem themselves. If you give up on someone they may give up on themselves which is something we never want to happen. It's important as educators to persevere  because you never know what students have to offer; maybe their just waiting for a little push. As Randy Pausch says later in the speech, “The best gift an educator can give is to get somebody to become self-reflective.”

 Two things we can do to encourage students is by remembering as Dr. Pausch says there are two ways that anything can be said, a good way and a bad way. The other thing to remember is that you can get students to learn something hard by making it fun, just as he said while he was talking about Alice. He not only says this but is able to give examples of how professors, coworkers, bosses have said things in ways that got him thinking reflectively and looking at himself in the proper light for improvement to happen. We as educators will constantly be faced with having two ways of presenting everything we say to our students and will have to keep in mind that there is a difference between critiquing and criticizing. The other thing we will be faced with is that we can make it fun to learn, which is what EDM 310 is constantly encouraging us to do. We can always think outside of the box and try and find the best way to teach.

The final point I want to touch on is something the Dr. Pausch never comes right out and says but is a life lesson that EDM 310 is encouraging through the development of our PLN. Networking is an extremely important in life. Dr. Pausch names people throughout his speech that have helped him accomplish his goals, how he saw opportunities to get in touch with people that can help him accomplish his dreams. Without his constant networking he realizes he would not have been able to do all the fantastic things that he has done throughout his life. When he talks about developing his curriculum he talks about how he made phone calls and collaborated with people to get it started, when he talks about his lunch with Jon Snoddy how he first got input from many people to figure out what questions he was going to ask him and how he was going to present himself. We are currently developing our network of resources that we will be able to use, even people in this class could be help to us in our futures. You never know when someone can help you or even how and no one can stand alone. Our networks and resources will be the guiding light of what kind of teachers we will become. If we develop bad PLNs and refuse to communicate, it is unlikely we will be exceptional teachers and Mr. winkle will be right at home in our classrooms.

Put this video in your bookmarks, delicious, symbaloo, whatever, but keep it close at hand. Watching it once just doesn't give you enough with the massive amount of lessons you can learn from it that can be applied to anything. Show it to your students, friends, family and spread it around because this is a video that can inspire anyone.
I was inspired by Dr. Pausch showing off some of his students to show off some of mine. This is a picture of me with three students of a mammal study merit badge class July 2002 in Tres Ritos, New Mexico.
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  1. Are you letting it speak for itself? It really is well worth watching!

  2. Nickolas I totally agree with the fact that people need to network just as Dr. Pausch has in order to spread the word of knowledge that would have otherwise been left unknown, and also as a means of learning something from a different source that you may not have found on your own. I am very excited to be a future educator using PLN's.

  3. So now your post is visible. Google must have been acting up!

    Excellent. Thorough. Well written. Engaging. Thoughtful. perceptive.