I wrote a new script a few weeks ago, to teach our students about Ada Lovelace Day. Here’s what I decided not to include.
Today is Ada Lovelace day, which is not her birthday or any date significant to her life. An unassuming date in the middle of October was chosen because it was a considerate date without major conflicts, because when we are honoring women who’ve been ignored in tech for decades, let’s be considerate and thoughtful and choose a date that’s convenient for others, ok? Ugh. Maybe I should include that, it’s a pretty good metaphor for women’s experiences in STEM fields!
Ada Lovelace is the daughter of Lord Byron, the writer who was known for — never mind, kids, you’re too young. Let’s just call him a famous writer!
The Analytical Engine, designed by Charles Babbage, was the forerunner to the Difference Engine, and WHAT? What is this? Turns out Charles Babbage never actually built the Difference Engine, although he managed to receive over 17,000 pounds from the British government to do so. Huh. Kinda the patron saint of those project-delay emails from funded Kickstarters, now that I think about it. Also, pretty cool metaphor for certain parts of startup culture.
This is getting really long. Our students are aspiring developers, so I’ll focus on the invention of the computer and the creation of computer programming. That means deleting the last three paragraphs on how Ada Lovelace was one of the earliest tech bloggers, by looking at emerging technology, envisioning all the potential uses, and then writing her thoughts and publishing to share with her mathematician friends.
My scripts are always read and performed by a man, which is usually more than with me (I hate listening to my recorded voice and I have extremely conflicted feelings on becoming more visible) but it feels weird to be invisible on this particular topic.
Ada Lovelace died at 36. She invented programming in that time, and I’m basically the same age, and I’ve… um… I wrote some things that weren’t completely dreadful. Sometimes.
My actual post for our students is here, and the related Ada Lovelace Day video has been very well-received by our audience of 8-year-olds.