Today's expectations related to literacy involve abilities that go far beyond reading and writing small sentences about one's own life. In our society, citizens are expected to use texts functionally and critically to analyze and transform ideas, they must be able to use oral and written language to demonstrate their understanding of the world, to communicate, to participate in problem solving and decision making. In a digital communication age, reading and writing have also assumed a new role in the way people interact, share information and socialize. Furthermore, reading and writing skills are foundational abilities that are required in almost all disciplines in school curriculum. Therefore, failing to read and write not only leads to academic failure but it may also hinder one's insertion in society. In Brazil, since the 1980’s the Ministry of Education has placed the problems related to literacy in the center of their debates. Although a lot of investment has been made to improve literacy levels, the country still figures in the last positions in tests that evaluate the students' ability to read and understand written texts, such as PISA - Program for International Student Assessment. My research focuses on the development of ICT tools to support reading and writing activities. Our main approach has been to use text mining techniques to extract visual representations from texts and then use these representations as a starting point for reading and writing activities. In the development of these technological solutions we have also been aware of the importance of building and diffusing tools that enable cost-effective application in school settings. The project is being developed at CINTED/UFRGS - Brazil, a center thatholds a UNESCO Chair on Information and Communication Technology in Education.
Brazilian Professor Eliseo Reategui is a professor at the Faculty of Education, at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil. He has a PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of London, England. After finishing his PhD, Eliseo worked at Kalisto Entertainment, in Bordeaux, France, applying artificial intelligence concepts in computer games. He has also been a computer science consultant for the company Cognition in Paris, France, working in knowledge management projects for large corporations such as Peugeot and Thompson. In more recent years, he has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of California Irvine. His main research interests involve the uses of artificial intelligence to support learning processes.