ADA Lovelace Day


#1

I am attempting to have some sort of school site event for Ada Lovelace Day.
A guest speaker or a showing a film about someone historical such as Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper or Hedy Lamar.
Are there resources from code.org I can turn to?


#2

This is a great resource code.org has provided: https://code.org/educate/resources/inspire
I accessed the “Find a Guest Speaker” and have lined up a CS person in my area to speak in my class. This link also has: inspiring videos featuring role models and professionals in technology fields, careers in technology link with videos and interviews of people working to change the face of technology, posters and ideas to grow participation by women is the CS field.


#3

I like a segment in a PBS special called “How We Got to Now: Sound” it features a quick segment on Hedy Lamar’s contribution to wireless encryption.

As a former history teacher I think there is an imperative to get history right, to let it teach us the lessons that are there, as opposed to the lessons that we want to be there, which is why I sometimes have a problem with the quick and dirty attribution of Ada Lovelace as the first computer programmer. Babbage made the analytical engine and programmed it independently of Ada Lovelace’s help. However, it was Ada Lovelace that used her understanding of the machine and her connection to high society to create a conversation about the power of Babbage’s difference machine to solve problems through abstraction. She pushed the envelope in imagining the values that would be calculated as code for things other than numbers, so that a machine could answer questions or perform task beyond numerical calculation. Much more visionary than just writing a computer program, but not as easy to communicate on a t-shirt. So unless you want to say that mathematical formulas are not computer programs and it was Ada Lovelaces suggesting the potential to solve larger problems through abstraction that makes her the first programmer, I think we need to be more careful in how we celebrate Ada Lovelace day. I personally think her contribution as a visionary, and her mathematical prowess despite the chauvinistic limitations put on her education make her story more compelling than just “Ada Lovelace first computer programmer,” her story is absolutely worth celebrating, just with an eye to all the facts please. Perhaps a good way to spend Ada Lovelace day is with a fact checking adventure of the claim “Ada Lovelace wrote the first computer program.” Let her genius and contribution come out in all their glory, along with the truth, and perhaps an opportunity for conversations about digital citizenship; not believing everything you read. There also in lies a valuable conversation to be had with the impact of computing as being what Ada Lovelace suggested before a computer ever existed, they would abstract the creation of products through the mechanism of mathematical computation, and creates a responsibility to monitor the positive and negative consequences of creating those products.