E-mail contact
Charlotte McCullough

Teacher Bio
Charlotte McCullough, now at Orchard Gardens K-8, was Vocational Instructor of Business Systems Networking at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. An original techie, she developed her programming expertise during the dawn of modern computer technology. Her certifications combine to endow her students with cutting-edge training plus historical perspective. As HTML creator of the first 100 pages on boston.technet.org, CharM continues to advise and consult. Her several awards include the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Teacher of the Year, and Golden Apple Teacher. Through TechBoston she has received the City Excellence Award for Innovation in Education sponsored by John Hancock and the Boston Management Consortium.

Subject Areas
Language Arts, Business Systems Networking

Grade Levels
11 - 12

High School Juniors & Seniors mentor Freshmen.


From Ada to Grace to Sandy ~ Women Have IT
(Information Technology)


Key Question How can students in Computer Studies understand that throughout history, women have made significant contributions to the growth of Information Technology (IT)?

Overview When students in a Business Systems Networking class view the Boston Women's Memorial they wonder how Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley, and Lucy Stone, would have used technology. To their surprise, they learn about three women: Ada Lovelace, founder of scientific computing; Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, known as "First Lady of Software;" and Sandy Lerner, co-founder of [c]isco Systems, Inc. Studying the lives and contributions of this brilliant trio, the high schoolers share their findings with freshman buddies. They prepare for e-mail correspondence with Sandy Lerner and produce their own Local Area Network (LAN) using Cisco routers and switches. With a broader understanding of how women contributed to computing history, both male and female students applaud these pioneers and prepare to enter the field of Information Technology without fear of gender bias or discrimination.

Active Exploration + Applied Learning + Adult Connections
Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Read about BWM & view images of sculptures.
Discuss how these 3 writers would have used technology.
Begin classroom logs.
Take IT women pre-test.
Conduct Internet research & read about Ada Lovelace, Grace Murray Hopper& Sandy Lerner.
Compose answers & questions for computerized Jeopardy (1.92 MB) game.
Create computer slide show on these computing pioneers.
Produce LAN with Cisco routers & switches.
Take IT women post-test.
Arrange series of visits to Grade 9 ELA/History class.
Describe BWM to these freshman buddies.
Perform KWL activity on background knowledge of IT women.
Present oral essays & computer slide show about 3 IT women to buddies.
Play computerized Jeopardy with them.
Invite buddies to classroom discussion by military spokesperson.
Demonstrate LAN to buddies & to Electronics class at schoolwide Nontraditional Careers Exposition.
Create centrally located display featuring IT careers during Career & Technical Education Week.
Invite military spokesperson to discuss her IT experience.
Research Sandy Lerner's mid-life career: Chawton House Library, Centre for the Study of Early English Women's Writing.
Conduct e-mail correspondence with Sandy Lerner & invite her to visit school's Cisco Networking Academy Lab
Research Augusta Ada Lovelace Annual Awards by Association for Women in Computers.

Academic Rigor

Learning Standards English Language Arts
Facilitate discussion groups independent from the teacher.
Summarize and evaluate what is learned from the discussion.
Conduct interviews for research projects and writing.
Demonstrate understanding of reference materials.
Identify and analyze knowledge of the purpose, structure, and elements of informational materials.
Collect information for writing from different texts and sources.
Identify visual or aural techniques used in a media message for a particular audience.
Create media presentations that effectively use graphics, images, and/or sound to present a distinct point of view on a topic.
Apply established criteria for assessing the effectiveness of the presentation, style, and content of films and other forms of electronic communication.

Technology Skills

Word Processing
Electronic Research

School to Career Competencies

Develop Communication and Literacy Skills.
Communicate and understand ideas and information.
Use technology.
Initiate and complete entire activities.
Act professionally.
Take responsibility for career and life choices.
Understand all aspects of the industry.


Students take pre/post test on IT women. They use class rubric to assess their Classroom Logs, and hold weekly feedback session to edit and critique computer slide shows, displays, and presentations.

Software or Materials Used For technology: Cisco Networking Academy online curriculum; plus demonstrations on a large screen monitor, Diagnostic Utilities, software installation disks; computer slide & digital whiteboard presentations; Microsoft Office; for research: List of Women in Technology.

Teacher Developed Materials Rubr ic for Classroom Logs, Pre/Post Tests, KWL chart, Computer Slide Template for Jeopardy, List of Women in Technology.

Student Developed Materials Classroom Logs, Oral Presentations, Answers and Questions for Computerized Jeopardy, Computer Slide Shows, LAN, Invitations, Display of IT Women.

Web Sites List of Women in Technology

Final Words A recent study reports "the lack of positive IT role models for young women, both real and within fictional popular culture." This project not only shows positive role models but provides exciting true life stories to which both young women and men respond.

Teacher Tip High School juniors and seniors are fascinated about the value of projected skills in dollars & cents. When they compare salaries of 19th and 20th century women, who so often were unpaid or underpaid, with today's salaries, they are impressed. Expect them to be thrilled with Sandy Lerner's story.

Back to Index Page

Back to CHESP Home Page

Back to CHESP Home Page

href="../../chesp/index.htm">Back to CHESP Home Page