Developing ICT Skills and Pedagogy

Blog post #2

This week’s blog post is all about exploring how I can continue to develop my own skills, pedagogy and professional development on my own, back in my own library and environment.

What strategies, tools, resources and networks can I implement to maintain my explorations and development?

I read Steve Pavlina’s 10 Ways to Improve Your Technical Skills. It was a bit humours at times, but here are some of my key takeaways.

1. Read technical books and online tutorials

Pavlina’s first tip to improve technical skills is by reading books. This seems like the obvious answer, especially to Teacher-Librarians, but sometimes we may not have the books we need on hand. Another option would be to take advantage of online tutorials, as they are “accessible, timely, and of course free” (Pavlina, Steve).

2. Take classes

Taking University level courses on this subject matter is a great start to improving ICT skills. “A key advantage of classroom learning is the opportunity to interact with an experienced educator. Teachers with decades of experience know plenty of educational distinctions you won’t find in books or online tutorials” (Pavlina, Steve). This is a great way to get some hands on and personal experience while improving and enhancing ICT skills. If taking a University level courses are not an option for some, they could seek out workshops for a similar experience.

3. Create your own web site

“When you have a compelling reason to learn, your goals will accelerate your learning, and you’ll learn with a focus on practical application” (Pavlina, Steve). This one really resonated with me. I found for so long that I was very unmotivated to do research on subjects that were not of interest to me while in high school and early university. I often told myself “just wait until you get into the education program, things will come easier then”. Which was partly true, but this did not come to light for me until recently, while doing my library courses. It is much more motivating to research ways to improve my library, and my own skills, now that I am actually in that role.

4. Embrace a variety of software

Getting to have an experience with several different types of software would help create a wider breadth of skills, that may be able to be transferred from one software to another. While creating my blog for this course, I had to play around with various blogging platforms until I found one that worked for what I needed it to. Did you know there are SO many different types of blogging platforms, all very similar, but they all have varying features that take a bit of a learning curve. I am still learning all that this platform has to offer.

5. Learn to program

“Programming is the art of instructing a computer to perform a task. The key to accomplishing this feat is learning to think like a computer. Programming is one of the most mentally challenging tasks a human being can perform, but nothing compares to the satisfaction of engineering a piece of code to solve a specific problem” (Pavlina, Steve). I am still not entirely how to accomplish this task. I want to be tech savvy, to be able to be helpful for my colleagues and students, but programming is something I have yet to dip my toe into. My experience began by creating a MARC Record for one of my courses (which was actually a blast), but I am not sure if that counts as programming. I have much to learn.

6. Marry a geek/Hang out with geeks

“Your final salvation on the road to geekdom is to — gasp — marry a geek. If you aren’t a geek yourself, then do what you can to recruit one into your family. If that’s too much to ask, at least find a geek you can befriend” (Pavlina, Steve). This one is a bit funny to me, but not entirely untrue. If you spend enough time with people who are fluent in tech, some of their knowledge will rub off on you. Many of my closest friends are self proclaimed “geeks”, and I use their skills as resources regularly.

What are some of the ways that educators and professionals are connecting and sharing their learning?

In my experience, the best way that educators can connect and share their learning is through social media. I am apart of many Facebook groups and pages that have been so helpful, as educators are able to share their learning in a safe space of likeminded people. Being part of so many groups has given me the opportunity to hear the experiences of many different people, both locally and internationally. Some of these groups and pages include:

French Immersion Teachers:

BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association:

La Classe Nature:

Partage au 1er cycle:

Primary French Immersion Teachers:

Bitmoji Craze for Educators:

What can I do during this class and after it is over to maintain my connections and networks, to further develop my knowledge, experience and skills?

I can continue learning, experimenting, and connecting. The idea of ITC can feel a tad overwhelming at first, but once it is broken down bit by bit, it feels a little more achievable to implement it into teaching and learning. The video I have linked below by Mohamed Adly lays out what ITC is in a very clear manner and gives useful tips on how to implement it.

ICT in Teaching and learning

Finally, I believe it is important to conclude this post with a little reminder to myself (and the readers) that the role of a teacher-librarian is multi-fasciated, and ITC, though very important, is merely one of many aspects of the job. It is a useful skill to have, but not the only department we are qualified in.

Role of the school librarian


Adly, Mohamed. “ICT in Teaching and Learning – YouTube.” Youtube, 

Pavlina, Steve. “10 Ways to Improve Your Technical Skills.” Steve Pavlina, 4 Nov. 2015, 

Students Need School Libraries. “The Role of the School Librarian.” Youtube, 2020, 

Inquiry Blog Post #1

Fostering Reading Cultures in Schools

No one ever needed to foster a love a reading for me, well they probably did, but I don’t remember feeling reluctant to the idea of picking up a book, reading it, and falling for every word. I have loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember, so when I hear a child say “I don’t like reading”, it breaks my heart, but also confuses me. How could anyone not like reading?

When I taught in the classroom, I always made sure that we had at least twenty minutes of silent reading each day. Understandably, the younger grades would need to read for a shorter amount of time, but in my intermediate classroom, we made silent reading a ritual part of our day. We would either start off the day this way, or instead read after lunch to recenter before we continued on with the afternoon. My students knew that they could sit anywhere in the class, in our cozy reading nook, on the floor, or even outside. My class was located directly next to the library, and twice a week it was empty, so we used it as a “special treat” to be able to read in the library too. I had a lot of students with anxiety, and this quiet reading time provided them with the opportunity to find a calm spot and refocus. When the weather was kind to us, we would take our lunches and books over to the provincial park next to our school, and read in the woods, next to the ocean. It was beautiful, relaxing, and inclusive, but I understand that not every student has this relationship with reading.

Reading in the library.
My grade 4/5 class enjoying reading in the sun.

I have a new role now, the role of someone who walks into a classroom, with a bin of books to deliver to students in which I have not yet built deep and meaningful relationships with. I bring them these books, in hopes there is something they’ll like, despite not knowing their stories, or their history with books or reading. I don’t know the kinds of books that bring them joy, or the books that create fear in their hearts. It is a rocky and uneven ground that I walk upon, and its been a tough beginning of the year, trying to foster a love of reading in the hearts and minds of the young ones in my life.

I watched a video by THE OGLESBY OHANA titled Fostering a LOVE for READING in your Children, in the video she carefully outlines some steps you can take to be able to foster a love of reading in children. It is geared towards parents who are homeschooling their children, but the steps are still very well applicable to the classroom as well.

Step one: STRUING

Make books accessible to children, leave them along their path so they can grab them when they want to read.


Get pillows, blankets, couches, to make reading comfortable for them. Take them outside. Make the energy gentle and accepting.


Reading becomes special when they foster relationships. Make the time to reading aloud with your students. Don’t be afraid to stop reading to explain things, to laugh, and make connection points.


Let them read the books they want to read, because at least they’re reading (if it is appropriate). Let them know they have a voice in their reading.


Instead of going straight to your phone, get them to look it up in the books they have on hand or a dictionary.

In Will Richardson’s Why School he speaks of a time when he approached parents, asking them the question “Why School?”.

Not surprisingly, the first answer on their lips is not “I want them to be good test takers.” Nor is it “I want them to know a lot of stuff.” What I hear instead are things like: “I want them to love learning.” “I want them to be able to solve real problems.” “I want them to be independent thinkers.” Those, and many similar outcomes, are what I want for my kids, too.” (Richardson, Why School).

This is a great representation of my heart for the students at my school. Not only do I hope they build a fluency for reading, are able to read, decipher, and articulate information into knowledgable presentations. It’s more than for them to be able to access resources, to then be able to contribute intellectually to a conversation. For me, I aspire to inspire my students to foster a love for reading, to know that they can come back to this calming activity when everything else in their life may seen overwhelming. They can pick up a book, and escape to another world, for a little while. I don’t want reading to be a scary thing for them, I want it to be beautiful and wonderful, as it it for myself, and so many others.


Richardson, Will. Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere (Kindle Single) . TED Conferences. Kindle Edition.

THE OGLESBY OHANA. “Fostering a LOVE for READING in Your Children.” Youtube, 2020, 

Reading Review #3

Digital Literacy

Welcome back! Thanks for following along on this journey as I dive deeper and deeper into my search on Digital Literacy. I will be referencing some links I included in my last post ( but will link there here too, for easy access! Here are some questions I have been asking myself along the way:

How many articles did I find?

I found an abundance of articles. Digital literacy is a topic that is well discussed and well researched. This is a blessing when doing my own research on my topic, but also a curse as I have a pile of articles and journals to sift through before finding ones that align with topic, as well as shake up my way of thinking. In my last post, I brought forward three articles, and two videos to support my topic of interest, and these are the same resources I will be using in this post. I chose Supporting young children as digital citizens: The importance of shared understandings of technology to support integration in play‐based learning by Kelly Johnston, Digital Literacies by Julia Gillen, and Can we teach digital natives digital literacy? by Wan Ng. I will link them below.

What is their relevance to my interest? and How is my topic discussed in the literature?

Supporting young children as digital citizens: The importance of shared understandings of technology to support integration in play‐based learning by Kelly Johnston discusses how technology can be used as a cultural tool in children’s lives, but different definitions, concepts, and understandings of the relevance of technology integrated into the classroom can hinder the integration of technology in an early learning setting. She discusses the opportunity to use technology in play-based learning. Johnston places value on the importance of creating connections and shared concepts between key stakeholders (education, family, and service management), as this can help support children as digital learners.

Digital Literacies by Julia Gillen discusses the enormous impact Digital Literacy has on our literacy and learning. She believes that linguistics have failed to rise the possible opportunities presented by studying language in a digital context. There are a vast range of approaches to the study of writing and reading language online. Gillen touches on the history of literacy studies, and contemporary approaches to language online (such as linguistic ethnography and corpus linguistics). This article is very informative and helpful for someone (such as myself) studying the multimodality of literacy.

Can we teach digital natives digital literacy? by Wan Ng discusses the concept of digital natives, and whether or not they have the knowledge to adopt digital technology in both informal and formal educational contexts. There was a study done on undergraduates in Australia, to see where their knowledge of educational technology lies. They were introduced to eLearning, and observed to see if they were able to adopt unfamiliar technology into their learning. Their “digital nativeness” was determined by investigating their degree of digital literacy, and the ease in which they were able to learn new and unfamiliar technology. As a result, yes they were able to do so, with ease, but they did need some guidance on what exactly constitutes educational technology, and they were given opportunities to use this technology for a meaningful purpose.

The two youtube videos I found, How to put a book on hold in Destiny by SUSD Library Media, and Using Destiny to hold books by Elizabeth Tremper cover many of the same points. I found SUSD’s to be a much more in depth walkthrough, although it is geared more towards Teachers, and Teacher Librarians. This video was great for me to see, so that I am able to better understand the process of putting a book on hold in Destiny. Tremper’s video used a different version/platform of Destiny than I am familiar with. Hers was much more geared towards younger students, but after watching the video, I think it would be best to show the students myself, rather than showing them a video explanation.

What are the key learnings and takeaways that I have generated through this deeper exploration into my topic of interest?

My key takeaways have been:

-This topic is well discussed and well researched, so as a result there is an abundance of information out there. A tad ironic, considering I am hoping to help students feel less overwhelmed while processing information online.

-The generation of students in school right now are “digital natives”, so they bring with them knowledge about technology before stepping foot into a classroom. This does not discount our role as educators, or the need for technology in the classroom. They still need guidance on how to be good digital citizens, and how to use and incorporation educational technology into their learning.

-The importance of building relationships and creating a mutual understanding between the key stake holders in the lives of these children, as this pertains to supporting the children as digital citizens.

-The enormous impact in which digital literacy has on our literacy and learning.


Gillen, Julia. Digital Literacies. Routledge, 2014.

Johnston, Kelly. “Supporting Young Children as Digital Citizens: The Importance of Shared Understandings of Technology to Support Integration in Play-Based Learning Supporting Young Children as Digital Citizens.” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 49, no. 5, 09/2018, pp. 896-910, doi:10.1111/bjet.12664.

Ng, Wan. “Can we Teach Digital Natives Digital Literacy?” Computers and Education, vol. 59, no. 3, 2012, pp. 1065-1078, doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.04.016.

SUSD Library Media. “How to Put a Book on Hold in Destiny.” Youtube, 2020, 

Tremper, Elizabeth. “Using Destiny Discover to Hold Books.” Youtube, 2020, 

Janelle, the island TL

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Reading review #2

Literature Research and Data Collection on Digital Literacy

As a continuation from my first reading review, I have chosen to broaden my topic a bit, as to leave room to research and find new ideas around this topic. I have chosen to dig further into Digital Literacy. This is something that I believe will be relevant to the current situation in my library. In my district, and specifically at my school, we are not having the students enter the library, instead I go from class to class with a bin of books, in hopes that I have chosen books that these students will be interested in reading. The little ones are fairly easy to please, but the intermediate students are very specific in the books/genres they will read. 

I have heard many times “I like that series, but I’ve read all of the books except the most recent one”, and “I only read books about adventure/dragons/haunted history”. How am I supposed to know ahead of time what they are precisely looking for? I am on the hunt for a new system I can implement to be able to satisfy their reading thirst, as well as not add heaps of extra work on my plate. I came up with the idea to introduce a bit of digital independence into the lives of these students, by teaching them how to browse, choose, and put books on hold through the system Destiny. This will make our lives much simpler (I hope!). The next step is “merely” teach them all how to do this.

Digital Literacy covers a wide range of topics, in which I will cover many as I dive deeper into the research this topic. Some of which will include helping students decipher between good and bad information online, how to find good and credible resources online, and being a good digital citizen.

Follow along with me as I embark on a learning journey of digging deeper into Digital Literacy, in order to provide practical techniques, good information, and new ideas for myself, my colleagues, and my students.

A weekend trip to Russsel’s books in Victoria. This picture represents an influx of information, and the ability to decipher between the good, the bad, what is needed, and what is not.

The first resource I will be using to do my research is Digital Literacies by Julia Gillen. In this book she covers a range of topics such as applied linguistics, particularly in the areas of literacy and multimodality. This book will be able to aid me on my search to discover ways to decipher between good and bad information online.

The second resource I will be looking into is Can we Teach Digital Natives Digital Literacy? by Wan Ng. This will be an interesting and insightful read, as I first need to find new and engaging ways to teach the use of technology in the classroom, so students who have known nothing other than technology in their life. It is likely they have things to teach me as well. Some highlights from this book include a study showing that digital natives are not familiar with educational technologies, thus they need to be made aware of and taught about these educational technologies (this is where I come in!).

The third resource I would like to use is Supporting young children as digital citizens: The importance of shared understandings of technology to support integration in play‐based learning by Kelly Johnston. This will be a great support for information on being a good digital citizen. This paper provides an understanding of the complex and interwoven nature of factors that influence the belief of educators and practices in integrating technology.

Finally, I found a few youtube videos in which I can use to demonstrate to my intermediate classes how to place books on hold in Destiny. They both explain the process quite easily and simply, these will be helpful to provide visual and auditory examples of how to search for a desired book, and put said book on hold for future library checkout and book exchanges.

These resources and ideas are merely the beginning of my journey, but I am excited to embark.

Janelle, the Island TL

Gillen, Julia. Digital Literacies. Routledge, 2014.

Johnston, Kelly. “Supporting Young Children as Digital Citizens: The Importance of Shared Understandings of Technology to Support Integration in Play-Based Learning Supporting Young Children as Digital Citizens.” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 49, no. 5, 09/2018, pp. 896-910, doi:10.1111/bjet.12664.

Ng, Wan. “Can we Teach Digital Natives Digital Literacy?” Computers and Education, vol. 59, no. 3, 2012, pp. 1065-1078, doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.04.016.

SUSD Library Media. “How to Put a Book on Hold in Destiny.” Youtube, 2020, 

Tremper, Elizabeth. “Using Destiny Discover to Hold Books.” Youtube, 2020, 

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LIBE 477B-Reading Review #1

I am a Teacher-Librarian on the beautiful Gabriola Island. This is a new role for me, at a new school, on a new island, during a pandemic. It has so far been wonderful but also terribly overwhelming. I have heard that this school has had quite a turnover of new TL’s year after year, so I get the impression that things have been forgotten or neglected in this library. It feels like the perfect time to give this Library a new fresh feeling.

I am impressed so far with the organization of the Library, and how well it has been maintained, although there are certainly things I wish I could change. We have these cozy looking bench seats, that no one can use right now because all plush items have to be taken away, and students are not allowed to step foot in the library, let alone cozy up in the plush chairs to read. I would love to bring in more carpets and pillows, but I shall have to wait on that dream for another year or so. There are incredible murals that cover the walls, that bring such a bright and joyous feeling, but in the future I would also love to see this vibrant library filled with happy faces day to day.

Some things I can and hope to tackle this year include binning some of the books. Very few books in my library have been binned, and this is something that I have taken quite a liking to in the libraries I have spent time in the past. I believe that it provides a lot of freedom of choice for all ages of readers.

This may be a pike dream for this year, but I would love to run clubs out of the library. Ideally this would look like a Minecraft club, a technology club, a board game club, or an art club (of ALL variations) to mesh together some of my passions with the students to build deeper connections with them. I may have to shift my thinking this year, and create a nature club, or something that can be done outside because of all the restrictions in place.

When I was sharing with someone that I was going to be stepping into this new role this year, they said “I see Librarians as the cool Aunt figure of the school”, and I LOVE this description, and plan to run with that as much as possible this year. I want my library to be safe, welcoming, and filled with exploration. I’m still not entirely sure how this will be achievable this year without the physical space to congregate, but we will take it one step at a time, together.

Maybe one day, all of the pike dreams will come to fruition, but for this year I will keep planning and dreaming for the betterment and the future of my school, my library, and my students.

Janelle, the Island TL

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The End

Here is a handout showcasing the important things to know when considering the implementation literacy centers.

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Fun New Ways

I think that learning through play is very important for students. It motivates them to learn. 

Like anything that is new, technology can be scary. I personally find some technology hard and it can be intimidating learning something new and changing our practice. I usually still write hand notes and love making things by hand. Last year I was very intimidated to make our e-portfolio, but after being educated about the program and some instruction on how to navigate the website, I actually really enjoyed making my Weebly. I have also really been into making iMovies with my video footage I have been taking on outdoor adventures. I think that once technology is introduced and properly explained then it is not as intimidating as we think. 

I think there are many ways that we can incorporate technology in our classrooms but I think that taking baby steps will be important and start with easier ways.

Here are some ways we can implement technology in our classrooms (of course we have limited access to some devices):

Delivering Content 

  1. Run a virtual field trip 
  2. Preview field trips virtually
  3. Too noisy (a digital noise metre)
  4. Use videos for mini lessons (teachertube)
  5. Coordinate live videos 
  6. Play podcasts
  7. Add multimedia elements to presentations (images, graphs, pictographs, sound effects, etc.)
  8. Send adaptive content
  9. Share an online class calendar 

Helping Students Process Content

  1. Use virtual manipulatives
  2. Run learning stations
  3. Provide online activities for students who complete work early 
  4. Save time for exit tickets
  5. use twitter hashtags to take questions 
  6. Study, review and critique content on web pages
  7. Use online mind maps for class brainstorms 
  8. Gather student feedback (Socrative, Google Forms, SurveyMonkey)

Allow students of create products 

  1. Launching a wiki page for a collaborative assignment 
  2. Set up student blogs 
  3. Offer open-ended projects
  4. Use online sign-ups
  5. Base assignment on technology-focused subjects

Offer a unique learning experience 

  1. Introduce a game-based learning platform 
  2. play simulations 
  3. participate in a web quest 

This website was very informative on the ideas I have listed above. I would highly suggest checking it out if you’re interested in implementing fun new ways of technology in your classroom.


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How far ahead should I be planning?

I was originally going to make this post about my plans to implement the Six Cedar Trees into my classroom and build community. BUT then I realized I was going off on a tangent and switched my focus to get back on track. I found this great website with a Teacher Summer To Do list which has inspired me to look at Planning for this last blog post.  This website has some great ideas; some of which are reminders for areas we have already talked about and others that will give you more to think about! It focuses on your Management Plan, relationship building/get to know you activities, routines and planning the first 2-4 weeks only…..

Although I agree we can’t plan to far ahead, as we wait to begin out school year there is much to think about and I do believe that having a loose (and flexible) yearly plan is necessary. My earlier post on What To Do the First Day of the School  advised us to begin planning for academics right away… which academics should we start with? To figure this out you will need a Yearly Planning template like this one from Teachers Pay Teachers. Or of course you can just make your own! You need to be able to organize all your main units by each subject and which months units should be placed. It is important to have a copy of the curriculum close at hand so you can be sure to include all the Big Ideas and Content. Make sure to know how many instructional weeks you have per month.

Here are some ways you can organize your units:

  • Seasonally – Consider what time of year it would be best to learn about certain topics (don’t study plants during the dark months of winter etc.)
  • Plan around Holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter to use theming.
  • Focus on planning you Content subjects first then integrate Literacy and Math around them
  • Focus on areas that you are most nervous about to get that area out of the way.
  • Focus on areas that will create the most impact in your students learning.

Here are some more tips from SCHOLASTIC CANADA.

 We learned about the important of backward design last year with Paige and this situation is no different. Look at the units that you want to teach. Are there any skills that your students will need to know BEFORE you teach that unit? Put skill building units to the beginning of the year. Things like the Core Competencies, Historical Ways of Thinking and Inquiry skills are great to work on in the beginning of the year so that your students will be supported in deeper learning further down the road.

Well there you have it! We definitely won’t be completely ready when we start this journey of ours but hopefully this has helped you consider some of the things you will need to be prepared for as a classroom teacher…. *mic drop*

– Ms. S

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Formative Feedback

Lastly, one of the most important parts of feedback is when, and how you implement it. The only way students can improve in their learning, is if they have someone to interpret their work, and share with them effective strategies for them to continue learning. As Bruner said back in 1970, “learning depends on knowledge of results, at a time when, and at a place where, the knowledge can be used for correction.”

Lets unpack that a bit. “Learning depends on knowledge of results”: meaning that its not enough to just learn something, students have to then learn from the results of their actions. “At a time when, and a place where, the knowledge can be used for correction”: its not enough for students to learn, or even to be told how to improve on their learning, that all needs to happen at a time and place in which they are ready for it.

This table from Sharon Gedye’s article “Formative assessment and feedback: a review” shows Sadler’s six resources for effective formative feedback.

Gedye goes on to give some more ways to improve the quality of your feedback. She says that your feedback should be presented as soon as you can after the assignment, and should be as directly relevant to the work as possible. Additionally, the feedback should not just be about the strengths and weaknesses of the work, but also include ways to improve on the work. This feedback should also be minimal, so students do not get overwhelmed and can prioritize in the most important space.


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Differentiate assessments for ELL

Why Differentiated Assessments for ELL?

Differentiated assessment is vital to assess the learning potential of every student, especially those who come to class from a wide variety of backgrounds and circumstances. These students often felt left out just because their first language is not English. Using differentiated assessment will help us find out what they can do and what they need to become a successful learner. I am a strong believer in the concept of equity when it comes to education. It might seem like treating every student equally is best thing to do as a teacher. But It is about understanding the needs of each student and helping them to be successful in their learning.

“Equity is when every student has what they need to succeed”

Teachers can implement differentiated assessment by modifying and matching assessment with varied characteristics of students in order to enhance their learning. Here are some ways of differentiating assessments that I would like to share with you:

1. provide visual supports to clarify verbal instructions

2. allow students to demonstrate their learning in different ways such as visual presentations, oral presentations, graphic organizers, etc.

3. allow extra time to complete the assignment

4. design differentiated criteria for ELL

Here is a video that talks about effective classroom strategies for assessing English Language Learners. I know its a long video but I hope you enjoy it and find it useful! 🙂

Also, I found a book called Differentiating Instruction and Assessment for English Language Learners: A Guide for K-12 Teachers. Here is a link if you are interested in buying the text.

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