ada lovelace

Ada Lovelace Day: Women, Tech, and OER

Cathy Casserly, October 15th, 2012

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace / Kaldari / CC0

Ada Lovelace — widely considered the first computer programmer — famously said, “I never am really satisfied that I understand anything; because, understand it well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand.” That quotation brings to mind the axiom that a curious mind is always asking more questions and learning is never complete. Every day, like Lovelace, I am all too aware that my knowledge is dwarfed by what I have yet to learn.

Around the world today, the technology community is celebrating Lovelace and the many women in technology who’ve followed in her footsteps. Here at Creative Commons, we think a lot about women in science and technology and the untapped potential we have yet to realize. In his speech to the United Nations a few weeks ago, President Obama spoke of the importance of women and girls in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The White House identified Creative Commons as a key member of an emerging community of practice supporting girls in STEM.

A few days later, Creative Commons and the OpenCourseWare Consortium announced that we’d formed a task force to determine how open educational resources (OER) can support the success of girls and women in STEM fields. As I said in that announcement, the challenges of the future will require bright, ambitious, well-educated people of both genders.

Many people reading this probably know that the OER movement played a pivotal role in my career. When I was at the Hewlett Foundation, we made a gamble in starting our OER initiative. At that time, OER was an untested idea. Today, those early investments are paying off, with open-licensed resources benefitting women, men, boys, and girls around the world, many of whom wouldn’t otherwise have access to high-quality educational materials that can be localized and improved for teaching and learning.

But like Lovelace, we’re not yet satisfied. Last month’s groundbreaking open textbook legislation in California was a huge step in the right direction, but it was just one step. We must keep the end vision in mind: together, we can democratize education through openly licenses resources, tools and processes. While we can’t create future Ada Lovelaces in a lab, we can provide for a culture of education that rises to the challenge of its most curious learners.

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Ada Lovelace Day: the Women behind Librebus

Jane Park, October 7th, 2011

It’s a little late in the day in some timezones, but we couldn’t let the day go by without mentioning some inspiring women for Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate and “raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire.”

Rather than highlighting just one woman, we thought we’d highlight several–the women behind Librebus! which includes current CC Guatemala lead Renata Avila and former CC International Project Manager Michelle Thorne, among others.


LibreBus by librebushon-1-10 / CC BY-NC-SA

Librebus, a project inspired by Free Culture principles, consisted of a regional tour spanning most of May of this year to explore Central American shared culture and digital communities. Twenty-seven “librenautas” with different nationalities, backgrounds and skills, from the free software community, Creative Commons chapters, freedom of speech activists and natural commons experts, shared their “open” knowledge with others in a variety of activities, from roundtables to public data hackathons and the first Central American CC Salon in Guatemala.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! And if you haven’t already, also check out Renata’s post on more Inspirational Women in Action at the intersection of technology and social change.

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Ada Lovelace Day: Pamela Samuelson

Mike Linksvayer, March 24th, 2009

Today (March 24) is Ada Lovelace Day:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology.

Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Entrepreneurs, innovators, sysadmins, programmers, designers, games developers, hardware experts, tech journalists, tech consultants. The list of tech-related careers is endless.

And includes tech lawyers. It seems highly appropriate for CC’s contribution to Ada Lovelace Day blogging be to highlight Pamela Samuelson, a giant in the field of law and technology, in particular copyright and technology.

Samuelson is Professor at the University of California at Berkeley with a joint appointment in the School of Information and the School of Law and co-directs the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.

Also see our post on Samuelson’s copyright reform thinking and a video of her excellent keynote of last year’s Students for Free Culture Conference.

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