Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Ada Lovelace Day!

Ada Lovelace
(photo from Wikimedia Commons)
It's Ada Lovelace Day, an international blogging celebration of women in the sciences and technology that is named for the person often considered to be the world's first computer programmer (see Wikipedia article).

For my contribution to the celebration, I would like to recognize Sonja Gonzalez, who is currently Director of Technology for the Oyster River School District in New Hampshire. This district was recognized by Offspring magazine as one of the 100 top school districts in the U.S.

Sonja Gonzalez, going places

When I worked with Sonja, we were in a much smaller and less recognized rural K-8 school in Fremont, New Hampshire. She was Director of Technology; I was the School Library Media Specialist.

I want to tell you about what a difference Sonja made to the staff and students there.

Sonja did what an ideal technology director should do--she kept up with the latest changes in her field and used whatever means she could to funnel those new technologies into our hands. As every teacher knows, having the technology (say, laptops for all of your students) is meaningless if you don't know what to do with it. Sonja taught us how to use equipment and software to make better learning experiences for our students. She led workshops, made learning opportunities available to us both on- and off-campus, and was a model user of technology herself.

She tirelessly researched grants and wrote applications for funding, greatly expanding the possibilities in a school where money was always scarce. By the time she left, classrooms had computer workstations, access to portable laptop labs, and a greatly improved stationery computer lab.

Every teacher knew how to use technology to enhance their teaching and simplify the record-keeping chores that take up so much time in a teacher's day.

It was because of Sonja that I was able to "fly" a fourth grade class to Shibuya, Japan via Google Earth, as an introduction to a book set there (see The Librarian as Travel Agent). Sonja also introduced me to blogging, and here I am, 2 blogs and over 1200 posts later! (She also introduced quite a few of us staffers to the art of making sushi during a memorable how-to luncheon held in the library, but that is probably a story for another time).

For all that she did for me, and for our school, faculty, and students, I would like to send her a big

Thank you, Sonja!

You are really making a difference!

I would love to hear about women in science and technology who have made a difference in your life. Just leave a comment on this post.

Read more about Ada Lovelace Day and find other bloggers taking part in the celebration.

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