Sunday, March 31, 2013

Project #14 SMARTboard basics

Happy Easter everyone! :)
Here is my demonstration of the basic tools of the SMARTboard.

Project #11 Green Screen Project

Here is my first attempt at using a green screen! Special tribute to my favorite movie of all time!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Blog Post #10

PaperMate and Ticonderoga

Mac verses PC mock cartoon using pencil brands. PC is cheap and unreliable, Mac is the most expensive purchase a hipster will make.

From 2006-2009, Apple created 66 ads called the “Get a Mac” series. This series featured a thin, handsome, young and hip actor as “Mac” and an awkward, hefty actor as “PC.” Throughout the commercials, the two would make jabs at each other through wit, sight gags, and one-liners. The cartoon above, also found here, is an obvious reference to this long running commercial series. The PC, or PaperMate here, cost less but is also unreliable. The Mac, or Ticonderoga, while expensive, John Spencer says only “hipsters” use them. Personally, I have always had a PC but longed for a Mac. I would always play with my friends’ and cousins’ Macs and love them. Then through this semester, I have learned new tricks on my computer and had to discover more about Macs. The more I have learned about the computers, I really enjoy my PC, and I don’t plan on “becoming” a Mac! That’s just my personal feelings.

I really like this cartoon because I feel like it’s somewhat true. While some of the programs and software on the Mac is better, they are often associated with hipsters. Also, the price, in my humble opinion, is kind of outrageous.


Playing Games

Pencil me in. The brand photo for Adventures in Pencil Integration

In Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?, John Spencer talks about how he got in trouble from his principal for “playing games” in class rather than “teaching.” Games are means by which true teaching can occur. So many children have difficulty learning from straight lecture. This reminded me of Randy Pausch’s last lecture where he talks about the “head fake.” The art of teaching involves using engaging and interesting ways to get the children to actually learn the information. From personal experience, the only time that I actually retained the material in any class was when I found it interesting. What’s more interesting than a game? I understand that some subjects can almost only be taught through straight lecture, but anytime it can be avoided, it should. Kids need to be involved, engaged and fascinated in order to truly learn. As Dr. Strange says, “No more burp-back education!”

As I explored his blog some more, I found one very interesting post. Capturing Reality caught my attention first because it was about taking pictures, which I LOVE! While trying to set up for a photo, Spencer’s daughter asks him, “Why do you have to capture it? Can’t this moment run free?” (Side note, kids always asks the best questions!) Spencer goes on to talk about a man who refuses to use cameras at all. That blew my mind! How can you not use a camera? Spencer writes their conversation about how cameras can affect the situation and memory. Paul the Preindustrial Poet says that he would rather live in the moment than “capture” it on a piece of technology. In the end, Paul makes a statement that it just isn’t for him. Spencer then asks himself and his audience an important question. He says, “It has me thinking that maybe we're doing a disservice to students when we teach tech criticism as good versus bad rather than asking, "What is best?" And perhaps we're doing a disservice to students when we teach, "What is best?" rather than "What is best for me in this current context?'” What an amazing thought. If instead of teaching them to ask what is good, bad or even best; ask what will work best in this situation for me and will get the job done. How great would it be to teach the kids to think for themselves and figure out what tech tools they need to use for different circumstances.


They Don’t Need It!

In Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?, Scott McLeod uses a sarcastic approach to discuss the different sides to teaching technology to students. For the first few moments of reading this post, I almost missed the sarcasm. Personally, I didn’t like his style of writing. I appreciated the sarcasm, but the broken, un-capitalized and limited punctuation style drove me kind of crazy. However, this isn’t of importance, the content is what truly matters.

A few of the arguments he presents, I can agree with. For instance, there is a ton of junk out there! Much of the time, I wonder if we should trust these kids with so much freedom. The entire world is open to them. But, then again, the entire world is open to them! Imagine what sort of amazing things students will be able to do! Technology is all around us and is closing in; there is no possible way to ignore it. The challenge is, not to teach kids about technology (I can guarantee most children can do more on a computer than most adults). It isn’t a question of how to operate it; it’s a question of how to use it! We need to focus on teaching our children and students how to use all the technology and massive amounts of information it comes with safely and effectively.

I thoroughly enjoyed his post, and absolutely love his sarcasm! What really amazes me, is how there are still some out there who think this way. Why should we include so much technology into teaching? What good will it do? Let me answer that, it will do a TON of good; just wait and see!


Side Note

This has nothing to do with the blog post assignment, but it happened this week and applies to EDM310 so I don’t know what to do with it, other than write about it here. While babysitting this week, the kids and I were watching Disney Channel, naturally. During one of the shows, a statement was made that really caught my attention. On the show ‘Jessie’, a young student asks her teacher, “Why do we need to know where Germany is? That’s the internet’s job.” The teacher on the show was very “old school” without even a projector of any sort. The class was looking at a map that was pulled down over the chalkboard (gasp!). Immediately when the character made this statement, I thought of EDM310. This is exactly what we learn about each week. The importance of memorizing and knowing facts and tidbits of information is fleeting. Instead, students are beginning to learn to create, process and THINK! Like I said, this has nothing to do anything, it is simply a side note, but I found it extremely interesting and had to share!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blog Post #9

Mr. McClung's World
Mr. McClung's World: Volume 4

Mr. McClung is a teacher who has posted lessons he learned from the year of teaching for the past four years. After his fourth year, Mr. McClung talks about only two themes: “you gotta dance with who you came to the dance with” and “challenge yourself.” In the first of these lessons, he discusses the effects he felt personally when stressing over what his peers thought of his teaching. By the end of the year, he says he has come to realize that this isn’t what he is about. He never before worried about what his peers thought about how he taught his classroom. Instead, one rule has gotten him this far, are the kids having fun? I think this is an incredible rule. I have said it in previous blog posts, but learning must be fun. If we as educators don’t believe this, the students never will. There have been many many classes that I have been FORCED to sit through and be bored out of my mind. I don’t want this to be my classroom. I want my students to love to be there, and enjoy learning and discovering the many things the world has to offer them.

Challenge yourself. Mr. McClung tells us how he became too familiar with the subject and the lesson plans and the teaching method. Eventually, he began to lose his creativity and he says himself, he wasn’t teaching well. However, by challenging himself and changing subjects in the year to come, he had to do a lot more work, but he can ensure the students are having fun and learning as much as possible. As a teacher, it is extremely important to keep variety throughout the years. This will not only help students learn, it will also help the teacher be best at what they do.

Both of these lessons are not only applicable to the classroom, but also to life. In life we don’t need to stress about what everyone else thinks of us. In addition, we constantly need to challenge ourselves. By challenging ourselves in life, we can work hard to learn new lessons, and we can avoid being lazy and lame. If we don’t challenge ourselves, who will?

At the bottom of this blog post there was a link to an "update". Apparently, after his third year at the same school, Mr. McClung was leaving Woodland to be an assistant principal at a new school! Many congratulations!


Mr. McClung’s World: Volume 2

After this blog post, I chose to read Mr. McClung’s “What I Learned This Year” post from the 09-10 school year. The first lesson he talks about here is adapting. He talks about how he had to teach a completely new subject (that he was uncomfortable with) to a new grade. I really enjoyed reading how through a little research and work he was able to make even history interesting and relevant. History has always been my least favorite subject, and honestly, I dread having to teach it one day. However, this gave me a little hope that through a little hard work, I will be able to make every subject enjoyable for my students. I also found it interesting that the last sentence of this section, “The lesson to learn from here is to never get too comfortable, change is good and ultimately it makes us better teachers,” is mimicked in his most recent post about challenging yourself.

His second lesson is something that I truly take to heart. All my life as a student, I have been taught by multiple teachers that only one answer and one opinion is right, theirs. I hate that! Not everything in life has one answer. I had one teacher in particular who would ask a question of “In your opinion….” and magically, my “opinion” would be wrong if it wasn’t what we had discussed in class. That is precisely the teacher I don’t want to become. Like Mr. McClung said, “I want my students to be independent thinkers and to only lean on me when they feel like they have hit a barrier.”

All of his lessons throughout this blog are extremely helpful in my opinion. I have never thought about having a “school mom” before and hadn’t thought about the possibility of becoming a control freak in my classroom. However, of the remaining lessons, “Don’t Lose Sight of What’s Important” really stuck out to me. His story about the “grown-ups” he worked with really reminded me of my last job. At the daycare where I worked, the other adults simply acted like middle schoolers. They would bicker and argue over petty things and talk about what you were doing behind your back and flat out lie to get you in trouble. Often times, it was extremely hard to focus on the children and ensure they were having fun and discovering new things because you were so infuriated at the teacher next door. So, I learned a lot from this blog post about what kind of teacher I want to be and how to accomplish it.

All in all, I really enjoyed Mr. McClung’s lessons and feel I have learned a lot that I will remember and reread before starting my first teaching job. I also plan on reading the rest of his posts to learn more lessons to help me in my future classroom.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blog Post #8

Technology Changes Everything

Technology: even without it, we have to change the way we teach

When watching This Is How We Dream Part 1 and 2, I felt like a lot of what he was saying was old news. Then I realized, it’s not. This dramatic change from pencil and paper to computer generated EVERYTHING has only happened very recently. In fact, it still is going on. Dr. Miller begins by saying this is greatest change in human communication in history. With everything from brilliant ideas to people’s food choices being published online, everything lives on. It used to be that only those who you ate with or talked to daily knew what you ate, and only the most brilliant ideas MIGHT be read in a couple of years when it may or may not get published. Now, anyone can know instantly almost anything. Growing up without an abundance of technology or without Google, we only knew what our friends and family knew or what we were willing and dedicated enough to find for ourselves. Finding things on your own meant cracking a book, many trips to the library and asking many people many questions; nowadays, it is as easy as typing one word into Google. Information also can be changed or updated instantly, before, making one change to a published book or paper cost a lot of money, paper, ink and time.

Knowledge isn’t the only thing being affected, what we find can be so much more. Virtually everything online isn’t only text. Information includes pictures, sound, and video. With this, everything must be beautiful, compelling, or contain auditory details to capture audiences. The limits are only those which we place on ourselves. Almost anything is possible.

Dr. Miller also points directly at teachers. “Ideas don’t belong to us individually; they belong to us as a culture. We as educators must be in the business of sharing ideas freely.” Especially with this much technology at our fingertips, being able to share anything instantly, we need to share our ideas. We shouldn’t keep secrets; instead we should share our knowledge and finds with the world. With this we can push ideas into the culture and affect it greatly.

With technology, collaboration is also possible. Meeting in person isn’t always possible, and phone conversations aren’t always easy. Now there is Skype, Google Docs, Facebook, instant messaging, all sorts of devices at our disposal with which we can work together as teams to accomplish great things. Whether it be group projects for class, sharing ideas with coworkers, working with someone to publish an article, even catching up with friends, it has been made easier through the magic of technology.

Towards the end of the talk, before discussing the dream for his college, Dr. Miller talks about the work of Jonathan Harris. One that he mentions searches the web for blogs constantly and finds feelings posted by people around the world. This really caught my attention, mainly because it looked so cool on the video. After searching for maybe ten seconds, I found it. We Feel Fine is really cool. You can really find out what feelings people have posted. You can search by feeling, gender, age, weather, location and date. I had a lot of fun playing around with it. Fun fact: “No feelings found from people on March 6, 2013 from Mobile, Alabama, United States.” This site is so much fun and truly amazing!


YouTube Playlist

After reading Carly's post I was intrigued and inspired. I love this idea. I’ve watched a lot of videos throughout this class so far that I think “I want to remember that!” So why I haven’t made my own playlist beforehand, I have no idea! Then I watched the video she posted at the bottom, which is also the first video in her playlist. At first I was thinking, “YES! I am 100% in the moment and totally committed to all I do…. Okay, most of what I do. YES! I am naturally enthusiastic and excited about life! Do I approach life with the magic, vulnerability, and curiosity of a child? Yes… at least I try to.” Then came the tough questions. When I watched this video, I had been having a terrible day, full of a lot of stress, a lot of annoying friends and a lot of personal issues I won’t even go into (this is why I need a personal blog). Then the video asked, “Are you as honest as a child? Do you love unconditionally? If you fall down, do you get right back up?” The next thing I know, I’m crying! Aside from the assignment part of this, I looked at myself and the tough situation I was in, and honestly, I couldn’t answer those questions like I wish I could have.

So anyway, back to the assignment. When I first looked at the playlist… 57 VIDEOS!?! Are you kidding me??? But her blog post was so interesting I wanted to watch them all! Honestly, I didn’t watch all (several had been removed from YouTube or were private, and I skipped a few that didn’t interest me) but I did watch almost all. I don’t think there is enough room/time to write all my thoughts about each of these videos, but they all inspired me. Here are a few that really stood out for one reason or another. When I Grow Up was extremely thought provoking. No child says they want to grow up and “marry the wrong person” or “commit a crime.” However, many children turn out doing just that. We as teachers have a power to guide these children and can affect the way they turn out. Don't Laugh At Me made me cry again. It’s such a powerful song. Creativity to the Rescue was just so cute. You Can't Be My Teacher basically is what all of EDM310 is about. Sometimes these things don’t seem very important coming from Dr. Strange. It is easy to blow this class off as “busy work” but it is extremely important! In case anyone thinks it isn’t, try hearing it from a child; everything is more powerful when coming from a child!

Thank a Teacher made me not only think about my future as a teacher, it also made me think about my past teachers. I have already sent a few of my past teachers a lovely thank you via Facebook because of this video. Never Stop Learning is just purely inspirational. Goofy - Teachers Are People was an obvious favorite because of Disney! And finally, Leave Your Mark which is slightly morbid and dark, but it is inspiring to want to be more than just a grease spot on the chair.

It was interesting after writing this to go back and see which ones Carly highlighted in her blog post compared to which one I highlighted. It’s amazing how the same set of videos can speak different things to each viewer. Her assignment was completely brilliant! As Dr. Strange said in his comment, she definitely set the bar high. Now, I feel kind of intimidated for Blog Post #12. I think she completely embodied the hopes Dr. Miller talks about in his video. She is using technology to learn and bring together all sorts of ideas in an organized fashion! Not only is she learning and inspiring herself, she is also teaching and inspiring others, all through the power of technology. Many of these videos I never would have known about nor seen if she hadn’t posted about them. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the assignment for sure. I even passed a few of the videos onto my best friend to watch because they were that awesome!


EDM310 Help!

I think a lot of the trouble that my classmates and previous students have had with EDM310 isn’t necessarily the work (at least from what I have heard). A lot of the problems are with time management. Procrastination is a terrible “disease” sweeping over our nation. I think that a helpful video that should be made is about how to manage your time. Many procrastination and poor time management skills occur because they don’t know how to do it. There are also many cases where the person simply isn’t willing to give the time necessary to devote to class, and that is something that just can’t be helped. However, the ones who just don’t know how can be rescued. I think a fun video would be superhero themed “rescuing students from the pressures of time” by teaching them how to manage and organize themselves for EDM310.


School As We Know It

a cartoon of a child playing on his laptop on the front porch because his mother told him to play outside.
In Learn to Change, Change to Learn a fascinating statement was made. Schools must change. Technology is taking over the world. It can’t be ignored. One of the men said that by turning off these devices, we are turning off the children. It’s almost like these machines: computers, phones, iPads, iPods, etc, are extensions of the person. These kids can’t seem to function without these things. Students aren’t learning skills they need for life through “right answer vending machine approaches.” The jobs they are going to have will call on their artistic abilities, their ability to work in teams, understand context, and they will be expected to be multi-cultural, multi-lingual, etc. What better place to achieve these skills than on the internet? School isn’t the only place kids learn, they learn at home, in the community and yes, online. Instead of teaching facts, students need to be taught how to find information, validate it, communicate it, etc. This video is extremely powerful and in my opinion, it is very true. The world is changing, kids are changing, school systems must change to. This was the first time that it fully hit me that I will be working in the first complete educational change in history. This is the first time that “education” won’t be chalkboard, pencil and paper. And after this FULLY hit me, I had to take a step back and just take a breath, because that is the most amazing feeling, knowing you are going to be part of something so extreme and so astounding.


Scavenger Hunt

Wow! A scavenger hunt sounds like tons of fun! And it was actually! I found some great tools to use one day in my future classroom! First I read through what I was to find. I got extremely excited about making my own comic strip so I started there. I found Make Beliefs Comix! When I first started, I was going to make a comic for kids. 15 minutes in with hardly any comic and nothing that I liked, I started over. Then I looked at my clock. It was 11:56… I started working on this ridiculously long blog post at 6:00! How had it been 6 hours! I was barely tired (yawn….). So from that thought process, I created…
comic about working for 6 hours on this blog post
I had planned on doing my online midterm today… but I guess that will wait until tomorrow. Good thing it isn’t due for a couple of days. I just really got into this blog post and couldn’t stop! On to item number two. Since I’m all about creating things, I decided to find the tool to create a poll. I found Poll Everywhere. So, here is my poll… Feel free to text in your answer! Don’t ask where the last response came from… It’s past midnight and weird things happen in my brain, especially late at night.
text in poll I created asking how great my blog post is on a scale of pretty awesome to as a awesome as a possum holding a baby blossum
Now, for the final item on my scavenger hunt. I decided to find a social platform. I created an account with Edmodo. I feel like a social platform is a great tool to use in the classroom. Not only can the students connect with you and information be shared with the students, this is something the parents also get involved in. Parents can connect with the teacher and keep up to date on what is going on in the classroom.

And so ends a very long blog post. It was very enjoyable and I feel like I learned a lot!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

C4T #2

GTA and Googleplex? What's That?

Googleplex

For this C4T assignment, I looked at Eric Langhorst’s blog, Speaking of History…….. On December 9, 2012, Langhorst posted 2012 Google Teacher Academy - At the Googleplex Mountain View. This blog post was written while he was flying home to Kansas City from the 2012 Google Teacher Academy (GTA) in Mountain View. Eric discusses his experience at Googleplex. Through the weekend, he learned about tools, the Google culture and the GTA network. He discovered many new tools to use in his personal time and in his classroom. He also got to experience a piece of the Google culture. He says, “The campus is colorful, playful, visually appealing, accommodating the staff and quite honestly might be one of the most amazing places to work on the planet. We saw people riding bikes to get from one building to another part of the campus. People bringing their dogs to work and walking them on the grounds at lunch. Office buildings with bowling alleys, rooms for massages, heated Japanese toilets in the restrooms, tech help stations and every possible feature to help people focus on their job and being creative. It would truly be a great environment in which to work.” Lastly, he talks about the GTA network. Not only did he learn a lot of information, he also got to know a lot of people. They can keep in touch through the social media. He can continue great conversations with people from across the country. As he traveled home, he mentions multiple times how excited he is to get back to teaching and how his time at the GTA will make him a better teacher. I had never heard about the GTA or the Googleplex, and I started my comment with this. His post was extremely interesting. I also told him how incredible Googleplex sounds. Maybe one day I will be able to attend a GTA! Then, I thanked him for his post and left my twitter name and class blog address.


Snow Days

When I went back two weeks later, his newest post looked very interesting. Forget the snow, I'm presenting today anyway! was about a snow day. Eric Langhorst was supposed to present at the 2013 KCPT Education Conference in Kentucky. The event was cancelled because of a snow storm. Instead, he created a 50 minute video to make his presentation anyway. The presentation is about great sites and apps for teachers. The sites and apps he talks about are all located at this site. The video was very interesting and useful. I plan to explore and use many of them in my future classroom. I started my comment by saying I was currently a student at the University of South Alabama and taking an educational technology course! Some of the sites he mentioned in his presentation I have already been interoduced to through this course. I really enjoyed learning even more resources I can and will one day use in my own classroom. In fact, I used one of the sites When Send to send myself an email in a few months to remind me of this post and awesome sites. Again, I thanked him for his post and left my twitter name and class blog address.

I learned a lot from Eric Langhorst’s blog posts, especially the second one. Many of these sites I definitely see myself using in my own classroom one day. I think this would be a great addition to EDM310 in the future semesters!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Project #8

Lighting Their Fires
Video podcast with Brandy Douglas, Rebecca Lathem, and Brelyn Searcy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Project #9 PLN Progress Report

People work together to get things done.
My PLN is constantly growing, with every project, every blog post assignment, every required activity, and every encounter throughout the day. A lot of my online PLN so far has come from Project #10. While searching for new technology to use in my classroom, I found two new blogs which I now follow, Educational Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Visualising Ideas. Through this last blog, I discovered an entire list of books teachers should read, which I have also added to my PLN. I would say my PLN is coming along nicely. I have organized my virtual PLN on Symbaloo. I also have added Symbaloo’s EDU Tools webmix to my homepage. Along with this online PLN, I have many people in my life to help me along in my teaching career. Not only do I have my professors here at South, I also have my teachers from elementary and high school which I stay in touch with. I also have stayed in touch with a few teachers from the daycare I used to work at. Two of my cousins teach in elementary classrooms along with a couple of friends. They often encourage me and give me advice when discussing my future. I am very thankful for these people who help me along. I am also thankful for this class; otherwise I wouldn’t know many fundamental things I will need to know to run an excellent networked classroom.

Comments4Kids February Summary

The first page of Magen's newsletter about The Masque of the Red Death.
For my first C4K assignment, I commented on Magen's blog from Mrs. Miller’s Baldwin County High 10th grade English class. The class’s assignment was to create a newsletter. On February 8th, Magen posted her newsletter about The Masque of the Red Death. On the first page of her newsletter, Magen wrote about the author, Edgar Allen Poe. A summary of the work was found on page two. The story is about a dying kingdom and the selfish prince wanting to escape the disease. The prince locked himself and his closest friends away in the castle to have an endless party. On the final page, Magen talks about the themes of the story. The prince was trying to escape an inescapable death. Man is mortal; therefore they cannot hide from the inevitable. When I commented on her post, I was sure to add that I enjoy Edgar Allen Poe’s work and I loved that she posted about him. I told Magen how wonderful she did on her newsletter. The layout was great, and the pictures she chose were very intriguing. Then I questioned about the selfishness of Prince Prospero. Magen had stated that he was selfish and didn’t care about others, but he chose his best friends to be locked away to safety with him; therefore, he cared for those people. I then asked her how she would respond if something like that were to happen to her. I encouraged her to keep up the good work and told her that I enjoyed her post.

Prairie Dogs and Their Burrow children's book cover
For my second assignment, I commented on Vodrick's blog from Ms. Muhammad’s 4th grade class at Robbins Elementary from Prichard, Alabama. Vodrick was currently reading Prairie Dogs and Their Burrows. On December 21st, he wrote about different things he learned so far from this book. For instance, what prairie dogs eat and why they burrow. When I commented, I told him how I think prairie dogs are awesome. I also asked if he has learned anything else interesting about prairie dogs. I encouraged Vodrick to keep reading and learning and also keep up the great work on his blog.

Child's drawing of 9th birthday cake
For my third assignment, I commented on Lorenzo's blog from Miss Ouano’s Year 5 classroom from Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. The assignment for the class was to write about their weekend. On February 20th, Lorenzo posted about his cousin’s birthday party. I got really excited when I found out he was from New Zealand. I have always wanted to travel there and that was the first thing I told him when I commented on his blog. I told him I love birthdays and love chocolate mud cake which is what kind of cake they had eaten. He also had mentioned noodle buiscite. I have never had that, and asked Lorenzo what it was. I also encouraged him to keep up the good work on her blog. I thought it was really cool because I posted my comment on 2/21/13 at 8:05 pm. However, because they are in New Zealand, it showed up as 2/22/13 at 15:05. I just found that extremely cool.

I love Mom
For my fourth and final C4K I was assigned TriShawn’s blog from Mrs. Vannoy’s first grade class. However, TriShawn did not have any posts, so instead I commented on his classmate, Morgan's blog. Her blog post, on February 20th, was about her mom. She loves her mom and tells us that her mom is sweet. When commenting, I told Morgan that I loved my mom, too. My favorite thing about my mom is the way she hugs me. I then asked Morgan what her favorite thing about her mom was and encouraged her to keep up the great work.

Blog Post #7

Dr. Pausch and his family The Last Lecture: A novel by Dr. Randy Pausch

Watching and Reading

I was genuinely excited when I read the assignment for this week. This was going to be my fourth time watching The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, yet I was still excited to watch it again (even though I cry every time). When I had viewed it previously, I learned how to live my own life and thought of things I wanted to teach my own children one day. I had never thought about looking for things to use in my own classroom, which is exactly what this assignment was. I was also excited to watch it again, because since I watched it last I have gotten Randy Pausch's book about this lecture and have started to read it. I haven’t gotten very far, but the book gives a lot of insight into what he was thinking before, after and during the lecture. For instance, not even an hour before going on stage, Dr. Pausch was lying on his couch in his office sick, throwing up and in pain wondering if he would be able to even give the lecture. Also, while he was on stage right before the lecture began, he was getting his props ready and such; he also was going through deleting, editing and switching his slides around, minutes before he was to begin. The book is extremely interesting and also tear-jerking. I think that Dr. Pausch’s lecture should be taken to heart. Everything he talks about has some sort of practical lesson, whether it is something to apply to the way we live, the lessons we teach our children and students, or ways to teach. As I have said in a previous blog post, the idea of “enabling the childhood dreams of others” helped along the decision for me to become an elementary teacher.


Lessons I Learned

One of the hardest lessons I think Dr. Pausch talks about is becoming self-reflective. We need to find out how well we work with others. We must also change with the results so that we are easy to work with, because no matter what we do in life there will always be people we have to deal with. I will also remember, “When you’re screwing up and no one says anything, it means they’ve given up.” This is a lesson to look at both inwardly and outwardly. I don’t want others to give up on me, but I also don’t want to give up on others. I personally plan to put one of his “lessons” into practice with my future family. I do plan to let my kids paint their room if they so wish. I absolutely loved that his parents let him do this. I even watched the tour of his childhood room. This is a section of the book which Dr. Pausch goes into great detail about. I think it is important to allow kids to be creative and imaginative. However, it is also important to remember that he was in high school when he was allowed to paint his room; I don’t think I will give a four year old a tub of paint and let them go at it.


Lessons I Plan to Pass Along

There are many lessons Dr. Pausch talks about that can be used not only in everyday life but also in a classroom. For instance, the lesson he repeatedly mentions is the “head fake”. Kids can learn indirectly while having fun. “The best way to teach somebody something is to make them think they are learning something else.” This reminded me of Mr. Miyagi of “Karate Kid” teaching karate through other tasks. We as educators also need to remember that kids can do amazing things, we shouldn’t limit them. Dr. Pausch gives an excellent example, the first assignment he gave his class, they came back and he says they blew his mind. After talking to his mentor, Andy van Dam, he went back to his class and looked them in the eyes and said, “That was pretty good but I know you can do better.” A lot of the time we don’t know where the bar should be, and we only do students a disservice by placing it anywhere. They can be amazing; we have to help them get there.

Dr. Pausch reminds us that brick walls are there for a reason. They separate out the people who don’t want it bad enough. I think this is an important lesson to learn at an early age. There may be bumps along the road, but if you want something bad enough you may be able to work it out. We also need to remember that there is a good way and a bad way to say anything. There is a huge difference between “I don’t know!” and “Well, I don’t have much information, but I want to learn more.” Kind of like Dr. Strange’s motto: “I don’t know. Let's find out." It is helpful to think of better ways to put things, especially when dealing with children.

We also need to teach our children and students the “simple” lessons. For example, help others. Not only is it important to offer help, we must teach them that you can’t do everything alone, therefore, you must also ask for help. It seems our society is so used to taking the easy road and giving up when things get rough. Children and adults alike must remember not to give up. Instead of complaining, just work harder. It’s so easy to complain rather than do the work, and it’s a bad habit that is difficult to break. As teachers, we should help children break this habit early on. We also need to find the best in everybody, even if you have to wait for it, it is there.

Most importantly, we need to teach our kids to have fun. Perhaps we need to learn this from our kids instead. Children are the masters of fun. However, we need to teach them and remind them to have fun in everything they do. As Mary Poppins says, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun; you find the fun, and – SNAP! – the job’s a game!”