May 27

A picture's worth of .5 thousand words

This is a Wordle graphic showing the top words–where font size is used to show how frequently each word occurs–in the 2010 Indiana State Science Standards. There’s a great deal to like about these standards: they are more concise in content, and the process standards include both science and engineering principles. The occasion for my looking at them today, though, was to find the extent to which “computing” or “computational thinking” were mentioned or used. As you can see (if you’re really patient, since n=500 words) they do not occur. If you do a word search on the document, you’ll find that neither word nor any of their cognates (“computing”, …) occur at all in the document. Neither does “simulation”. Although “data” occurs quite frequently, “data mining” does not, nor does “informatics”. Given the prominent role that computing, simulation and data mining/informatics plays in science and engineering, this omission is noteworthy.