On the morning of monday 28th July 2008, wanting to do a work related search, I fired up Google and saw this:
It was a nice tribute. The link went to one of the many videos of Randy’s Lectures on youtube – the full lecture, and the one most worth watching.
“The Last Lecture – Achieving your Childhood Dreams”
It’s clear he prepared long and hard for the lecture. It’s full of humour, wit and wisdom ….. and teaching aids. Yes, this man was indeed a pedagogue to the core. It’s a lecture I want to watch over and over again (made easier by the nifty flv downloaders that you can get as firefox add-ons). Thanks to the lecture, I’ve been introduced to the Alice Project – and will explore the sw for use in the School IT Labs we’ve been building these last couple of years.
I strongly recommend investing the hour and a quarter it’ll take to view the video in it’s entirety. The slides and transcript are available on the Randy Paush webpage, as are links to projects he speaks about in the video.
I’m a quarter way through his book, “the Last Lecture”, which so far reads like a “making of….” tv special for a new hit movie. Like the lecture, it’s intelligent and inspiring, going behind the scenes of how it came to be, and adding in content he could not fit into the time confines of his speech.
Here’s a man not much older than I am – concerned about leaving something more for his kids than just setting things up financially/logistically and a few vague memories dulled by time’s passage, who’s loved and worked with technology all his professional life. This sounds so familiar and is so easy for me to relate to. Yet he was totally unknown to me and much of the world until his last lecture video became a hit all around the world, which would not have happened if he had not come down with pancreatic cancer. Suppose he had not had the cancer? He could just as easily have passed away in a traffic accident on 25th July 2008, so the end result – his passing from this world by a certain date, would have been the same. But his having advanced notice, a time limit, and his focusing on the good he could do with the remaining time made possible his inspiring so many. Credit goes to the vendors, technologies and communities of the Web2.0 universe that made it possible for his message to reach far and wide, free of charge, across geographies and eventually, across time to his grown up children who will then be able to understand the wisdom their father wanted to impart to them.
I have no idea how much time I have left. Nor do most people who have not been notified by the countdown that comes with a detected terminal illness. A priority for me in the coming weeks is to really seek out my passions, and see how to bring these as much as possible into my work-life, which consumes so much of my life energy today.