Ada Lovelace Day: Celebrating women’s accomplishments in technology

Celebrating women’s accomplishments in technology

I’m joining hundreds of bloggers today in celebrating Ada Lovelace Day, which recognizes the accomplishments of women in technology. I’ve included a screen capture from today’s blog from Ian Douglas in The Telegraph, which included a photo of Ada Lovelace and a brief bio.

When I heard that today was the day to recognize women’s accomplishments in technology, I thought that was a great idea but wondered who was the namesake of this event — Who is Ada Lovelace? From what I’ve learned from reading online, she was the daughter of Lord Byron (the poet — a man we know by name) and developed a theoretical model of a calculating machine in the 1830s.

The goal of focusing blogs today on Ada Lovelace is to note how seldom we see women associated with technology developments and to recognize women we know who have contributed to technology.

One reason women aren’t known for technology is because they often are teaching technology and often at the pre-college level. I admire Bobbe Huffman, my fifth grade teacher, and Christine Young, my sixth grade teacher, who both helped explain how technology worked and designed lessons to help the class get involved in seeing how technology worked.

Mrs. Huffman had our class design a nature center that we could see through our classroom windows. I remember learning how an early technology form — the sun dial — should be created and positioned.

One of my science projects in Mrs. Young’s class was developing an embankment for a canal that would not errode because I had to calculate the correct slope of the embankment, using the techology equipment available at the time to sixth graders.

My UF colleague and friend Dr. Judy Robinson has had a great influence on my technology abilities. Like Mrs. Young and Mrs. Huffman, Judy is a great teacher and able to set up projects that make learning challenging but do-able. She helped me create my first class Web site with Claris Homepage — and then with Dreamweaver. She was learning to create podcasts and helped me learn to develop my own podcasts. Now I’m helping her work with the mentors in the JEA Mentoring Program to develop podcasts to share with journalism teachers. A real treat was team teaching with her last summer in “New Technology for Journalism Educators,” a graduate course we developed and taught at Indiana University’s High School Journalism Institute.

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