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Workshop: Documentation as Problem Solving for K-12 Literacy Programs

Call for Participation

Improving the literacy of underperforming students in urban schools is one of the great social challenges of our time. The ability to effectively read and write nonfiction prose, including technical instructions, is now more than ever a prerequisite for adequacy as a citizen (and parent) in any community, as well as success as an employee in any job. Language arts lessons grounded in documentation theory and practice offer an innovative, world-relevant response to this literacy development challenge.

Participants in this workshop will explore four questions raised by this approach:

  • What is the appropriate professional model for "expanding the literacy" of K-12 writers (alternatives to journalism)?
  • What is the strategic contribution of documentation to school literacy programs
    (alternatives to literature)?
  • What is the tactical relevance of documentation cases for the K-12 writing curriculum
    (finding a place for the psychological, linguistic, and engineering principles of effective text)?
  • How can specific documentation techniques benefit micro-level writing instruction in K-12 classrooms (fine-grained practice abetted by scaffolding)?

Workshop Submission and Format

To participate, prepare a concise (1-page) biographical profile that summarizes your professional background and interests relevant to documentation outreach efforts.

After a 1-hour analytical overview of the problems (above), workshop participants will divide into panels (one per problem) by interest and explore, then share for mutual discussion, the implications of and possible solutions to their chosen problems. One goal is a publishable summary of the issues discussed, while another goal is to immediately enable more sophisticated pursuit of documentation-based literacy projects by all those who attend.

Send profiles (in plain text, if e-mailed) no later than September 5, 2003 to:
T. R. Girill
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
P.O. Box 808, L-319, Livermore CA 94551 USA

Workshop Organizer

For 25 years, T. R. Girill has led innovative documentation projects at the National Energy Research Supercomputer Center and related UC centers, work reported in three dozen articles and conference papers. He served as associate editor of Technical Communication from 1983-1990 and as editor in chief of the ACM Journal of Computer Documentation from 1995-2000. He was elected a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication in 1999 and received the ACM Outstanding Contribution Award for service to SIGDOC in 2001. Besides supervising many interns, Girill has taught professional development courses at UC Santa Cruz Extension (1986-1992), and, since 1999, has worked in classrooms with underperforming urban high-school English students to improve writing skills with customized technical-writing exercises.