What are your Digital Learning Options for Your Classroom?

In today’s world, technology is everywhere. Technology is everything. Technology is awesome! But, technology is also overwhelming and everything seems to sound and look alike, making what should be stress-free, stressful. As a teacher who is either interested in going paperless, or already paperless, you and your students have options, but sometimes those digital learning options are confusing and you may be referring to one thing but really mean another. As a blended learning/paperless teacher myself, I totally understand the frustration.

Are you wondering what your digital learning options are for your classroom? Between Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365 - this post has you covered! Learn about the similarities of each through a detailed comparison of each one. Whether you teach primary students, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - this article will ensure you know what technology to use in your classroom to help your students find success with your online teaching.

I have broken down four of the main cloud-based digital learning options you may use in your paperless classroom:


Are you wondering what your digital learning options are for your classroom? Between Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365 - this post has you covered! Learn about the similarities of each through a detailed comparison of each one. Whether you teach primary students, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - this article will ensure you know what technology to use in your classroom to help your students find success with your online teaching.
Google Classroom is a virtual classroom, set up by the teacher, filled with your actual classroom students. This website allows for your students to join their virtual classroom, receive assignments and documents from you, turn in assignments and projects and provide and receive comments from their classmates and yourself. Documents you create using Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms can be easily linked to Google Classroom for your students to view and download to their own files. The teacher can grade assignments, leave feedback on assignments and provide notifications and alerts if needed. The teacher can also sync their classroom calendar to their student’s calendar so there are no more missed due dates.

Are you wondering what your digital learning options are for your classroom? Between Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365 - this post has you covered! Learn about the similarities of each through a detailed comparison of each one. Whether you teach primary students, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - this article will ensure you know what technology to use in your classroom to help your students find success with your online teaching.

Google Drive:

Google Drive is the central location where all of your Google-made documents are held. Your drive contains the folders you create for specific classes or specific topics. It shows you all documents that have been shared with you from other users. The “new” button links you to other Google Apps (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms) to start a new document. The trash bin shows you what files you’ve recently deleted. Google Drive is the starting place for you, as the teacher, to create your Interactive Notebook activities.

Are you wondering what your digital learning options are for your classroom? Between Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365 - this post has you covered! Learn about the similarities of each through a detailed comparison of each one. Whether you teach primary students, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - this article will ensure you know what technology to use in your classroom to help your students find success with your online teaching.

Microsoft365:

If you are not ready to explore the Google world and are more comfortable in the Microsoft world and the Microsoft programs, but don’t want to pay a lot of money for new editions, this one of the digital learning options is for you. Microsoft365 utilizes the Cloud technology, meaning everything is stored online. Microsoft365 offers the traditional programs such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Publisher, Outlook, Access, and OneNote. They are available from any Internet-capable device and for a small fee updates annually.

Are you wondering what your digital learning options are for your classroom? Between Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365 - this post has you covered! Learn about the similarities of each through a detailed comparison of each one. Whether you teach primary students, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - this article will ensure you know what technology to use in your classroom to help your students find success with your online teaching.

OneDrive:

OneDrive is the central location where all of your Microsoft files are stored. All documents you have created using the Microsoft programs are stored on this website and are accessible from any device. They are kept within user-created folders and you are given the option to share documents with others.

Now that you’ve gotten a basic breakdown of each of the main types of programs available, let’s compare and contrast a few of them to erase some of your confusion.


Google Drive vs. OneDrive

Same:
  1. Holding spots for all of your files
  2. Links to documents for creation (Word processing, presentations, spreadsheets)
  3. Cloud-based
  4. Accessible from any Internet-ready device
  5. You can share documents between users
Different:
  1. Google using Google Apps only
  2. OneDrive uses Microsoft programs only
  3. Can not be shared between the two for storage

Google Drive vs. Google Classroom

Same:
  1. Utilizes all Google Apps
  2. Can easily transition between the two
  3. Share documents between each and to other users
  4. Cloud-based
  5. Accessible from any Internet-ready device
  6. Free for users


Different:
  1. Drive is the holding spot for all user-created, and shared documents
  2. Classroom is your virtual classroom for your students to use
  3. Drive is for the creation of folders and files to be sent to Classroom
  4. Classroom receives the files from Drive
  5. Classroom is designed for your students to complete and turn in assignments, receive alerts and notifications from their teacher, and receive feedback from their classmates.
  6. Drive is designed for collaboration on specific assignments such as an essay, report, spreadsheet or presentation.
  7. Classroom requires an education/school e-mail for setup

Microsoft 365 vs. OneDrive

Same:
  1. Cloud based
  2. Accessible from any Internet-ready device
  3. Both utilize Microsoft programs
  4. Documents can be shared amongst users


Different:
  1. 365 is designed for the creation of documents in Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Publisher, etc
  2. OneDrive is the main storage location for all created folders and files
  3. 365 documents are saved to OneDrive
  4. 365 is available for a fee

My hopes are that after reading this, your confusion with the digital learning options has diminished and you’re able to distinguish between the different programs. It may seem overwhelming, but that’s what I am here for!


Are you wondering what your digital learning options are for your classroom? Between Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365 - this post has you covered! Learn about the similarities of each through a detailed comparison of each one. Whether you teach primary students, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - this article will ensure you know what technology to use in your classroom to help your students find success with your online teaching.

Are you wondering what your digital learning options are for your classroom? Between Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365 - this post has you covered! Learn about the similarities of each through a detailed comparison of each one. Whether you teach primary students, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - this article will ensure you know what technology to use in your classroom to help your students find success with your online teaching.

Are you wondering what your digital learning options are for your classroom? Between Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft 365 - this post has you covered! Learn about the similarities of each through a detailed comparison of each one. Whether you teach primary students, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - this article will ensure you know what technology to use in your classroom to help your students find success with your online teaching.

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Key Questions and Answers for Going Digital in Your Classroom

What are your key questions for going digital in your classroom this school year? Are you planning on a blended learning environment? Did your district tell you that you and your students will be 1:1 this September? Here we have the key questions and answers for going digital in your classroom

Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!


What is the next frontier in education? What will we see next? I went to a workshop on Google Drive. I loved it. The burning question would be, "How was I going to use it in my classroom?" I had no idea. I slowly started with some really great student centered apps on Chromebooks. Then, progressed to student surveys and collaborative notes. As a teacher author, I used Google drive to store files, share forms, and collaboration.

In comes interactive notebooks. I can't get enough of them. I love looking at the colorful pages, and I love the creativity and hands on learning it provides. Want to know the truth? Interactive notebooks are just not practical for my instruction for many reasons. Mainly, with today's rigorous curriculum demands, we are under time constraints, we are strongly encouraged to infuse technology as much as possible, and to move toward a paperless classroom. But, I still loved them.
Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!
Why would we want to use digital notebooks? Our students today want to use technology. They want opportunities to engage in personalized online learning. Students want to publish their writing and input their findings. Your most reluctant students will love being engaged in technology infused activities.

Even if you attend well planned professional development, the process can still be intimidating and let's face it, very scary. When I first started implementing paperless activities I struggled with picturing it before even trying it. There are so many options today for infusing technology into your lessons. Technology is always evolving and so are our classrooms. Even for the advanced tech user, it can be really overwhelming to keep up with it all!  Therefore, I compiled the most common questions I receive from educators right here in this post.


So let's get started -- here are the top questions and answers for you to start adding technology driven lessons in your classroom!

1) This looks good, but how is this different from an interactive notebook. 
***Google Drive is a central cloud storage location for all of your files and documents. Teachers create their digital notebooks and upload to their learning management system (LMS). Teachers using this type of delivery are digital in their classroom rather than using paper/pencil each day.
Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!
Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!
Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!

 2) I am a 1:1 campus this coming year and I want to use digital notebooks with  flip book tabs - lots of color, fill in the blanks, and digital notebook templates. Please give me some advice and suggestions. Thanks!

***The Google Drive Toolkit comes with a colorful and versatile assortment of digital notebook templates, colorful textured backgrounds, and directions on how to make movable pieces for fill in the blank options. There are also directions in the Google Drive Toolkit on how to create the flip book tabs as well. It is a great asset to help you transition into going digital in your classroom.



Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!

Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!
***The Google Inspiration Teachers Support Group has many classroom teachers from all different grade-levels (non-TPT teacher authors and TPT teacher authors). Currently, there are very active and motivated members from the United States, Canada, England, India, and Spain. There are contributing members creating amazing resources for the lower elementary grades, too. Members are free to post questions to the group or seek out members specifically for their grade range. Membership is contingent upon purchasing the Google Drive Toolkit. Members also have access to webinars featuring guest hosts. 
3) I am having trouble getting my digital notebook to transfer into Google Drive. Do you have any suggestions?
***On the toolbar, you can click on FILE and then ADD TO MY DRIVE. This will add it as a document to your Google Drive. To be better organized, you can create folders within Google Drive. I like to do this for a particular unit of study. If you want to save to a specific folder in your Drive, you can click and drag files in your drive to the appropriate folder.
4) I am teaching 5th grade Language Arts. Are the digital notebook templates geared toward their standards also?
***Yes, using digital notebooks is geared toward a wide range of standards and can be easily adapted to fit any grade level. The teacher customizes the digital activity to their own grade level as well as incorporating technology standards.


Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!

 5) I am interested in paperless classroom resources and trying to decide which item to purchase. I would like to create custom digital notebooks for my own classroom. I use Google Classroom and my students are 1:1 with iPads. I don't intend on selling anything. I don't want to recreate the wheel if I don't have to. I teach younger students (grades 1 and 2). 

 ***Yes, younger students are loving digital notebooks. Teachers are creating student centered activities for the iPad using the digital notebook templates.


Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!

6) Many of my students do not have access to computers or the internet at home. Is there a way to use a tech resource in hard copy form? Can I print them out blank and have the students complete them and add them to their interactive notebooks?

***Most learning management systems give you the option to print pages. They can be printed and added to their own interactive notebooks. A great tip is to create all digital resources as 8.5x11 so they do not require resizing for print. Students with special needs will likely require an option for print and on occasion, students want their completed assessments printed to study from. Teachers and students can also set their resources to "access offline." This will ensure the file can open without the internet.

 7) Can I create/share/monitor digital notebooks in Microsoft OneNote as you do in Google Drive? Do they look as good in Microsoft OneNote? I would love to use the Google Drive resources, but my school will be using Microsoft Classroom next year, so I feel I need to utilize that.

***This is easy! You can create digital notebooks using the digital notebook templates. Then, you can share with your student's to their Microsoft OneNote like you are able in Google Drive. The digital notebook templates can be downloaded and exported easily to Microsoft OneDrive. And, they look even better! Microsoft OneNote has really great interactive features that foster more engagement.
Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!

8)  I am very interested in using digital notebooks with an iPad. I am wondering what they will actually look on an iPad. How exactly will students interact with them? Have people used them on the iPad before?

 ***It is very easy to use these digital interactive notebooks on an iPad. They look no different than if you were to use them on a laptop or a desktop computer. In my opinion, I love how it looks on an iPad. The colors are very vibrant and the Google App is easy to work in.
Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!
9) If I push these slides out with Google Classroom, how can I have them build a "notebook?" What I mean by that is, do I need to have a bunch of copies/pages all put together and just tell my students to work on one at a time? Any suggestions?
***When using a digital notebook you don’t have to share the entire notebook file with your students at one time. Here are your steps to sharing one or two pages at a time:
1. Share one page at a time with your students instead of an entire digital notebook

2. Save the file to your Google Drive. Make a copy. Name the copy whatever you want to focus on your task. Example: “Macbeth cell phone text” “The Outsiders plot structure”

3. Then, delete all the pages you are not using for that lesson. You should only have the pages left that you are using for that lesson. 

10) We are going 1:1 next year and using Blackboard for the first time too. (Yikes!) Will this work with Blackboard? I have used interactive notebooks for years and digital notebooks sound awesome!

***Google Drive is a cloud sharing platform. It is an awesome file storage space and synchronization service. It is a great solution for educators to store files in the "cloud," sync files across different devices, and - the best part - share files. Teachers can connect their Google Drive teaching lessons to the top education apps. 

11) I love the idea of an interactive notebook, but we need to limit our number of copies (plus I do not have enough time for cutting and pasting). Do you think this will be helpful for high school math? My school will reimburse me.

***Yes, it can be done! There are great Google add-ons for equations and graphing. It is important to collaborate with math teachers who are successfully creating for the Google Drive teaching resources. Learning from each other is your best source for strategies.      

 12) I am very interested in digital task cards. Will I be able to edit the slides for what we are doing specifically in class?

***Teachers should use digital task cards with their students as a great way to mix alternative with authentic written assessments. One of the best reasons to use digital task cards is that they can be modified for any level, just by changing the pace of using them in the classroom.



One of the best perks of using the digital task cards is that you do not have to worry about storage, cutting, or laminating. It is also really annoying to have a student lose one of the cards during the school day. Students can work directly in the task card file, record their answers in a doc on their drive, or on a separate notebook page.
Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!

Are you interested in going digital in your classroom? This blog post will take you through 15 questions and answers to help you get started on the right path! You'll have digital interactive notebooks and other digital resources mastered in no time! Whether you teach in the primary grades, upper elementary, middle school, or high school - you CAN go digital in the classroom! Click through to learn more, get great tips, amazing resources, and more today!

 13If I have a computer lab with regular computers and have access to Google docs/google drive, can I use digital notebooks with my students?
***All of the Google Apps can be accessible from any Internet-ready device (desktops, laptops, netbooks, Chromebooks, tablets, smart phones).
14) Will I be able to upload individual pages of the document to Google Classroom for my students to work on? Will students be able to save a document just with their answers?
***You can upload individual slides OR you can upload one complete digital notebook to Google Classroom. Once uploaded, your students can then save a copy of the original file to their drive just for their answers. 

 15) How do the students manage the digital notebook? We use Google Classroom daily. Do I share the different activities and have them submit there? Do your students create their own folder to manage different tasks or units? Is it just one shared drive?

***The teacher creates the digital notebook and uploads it to the students through the LMS. The students log into their account and save a copy of the notebook to their drive. The students work through the digital notebook and can upload back through the LMS. Within their Drive, they can create specific folders to keep their digital digital notebooks organized. 

There you have it! Fifteen questions and answers to get you started with digital notebooks. Try a technology infused activity with your students today and you'll be going digital in your classroom in no time! Sign up for Danielle Knight's newsletter for special offers and free downloads.





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5 Free Google App Extensions For Your Secondary Classroom

Congratulations! You have made a very important decision on going paperless in your classroom! How exciting! Now that the decision has been made, I want to make the process even more stress-free for you and provide you with five free Google app extensions that myself and my students use everyday. The apps and extensions are free to download on any device or computer you and your students use and are so easy to work with.
Are you looking for free Google app extensions to make life in your secondary classroom easier? Then check these out! You'll never live without them again! Perfect for your English, Math, and other high school classes. Even middle school and upper elementary teachers will love these free Google App Extensions.
5 Free Google App Extensions For Your Classroom

Google Classroom

One of the most important free Google app extensions for any classroom that is now paperless is Google Classroom. With Google Classroom, the possibilities are endless. You set up your virtual classroom by adding your student to your ‘class’. You receive a class code that allows the students to log in and join your specific class. The highlight of Google Classroom is the ability to share documents and presentations so easily from other Google apps. You can assign projects and assignments through Google Classroom and all your students have to do it submit through the website under the correct assignment. No more lost or forgotten assignments!  You can comment on students work and they can comment on each other’s work as well.

Are you looking for free Google app extensions to make life in your secondary classroom easier? Then check these out! You'll never live without them again! Perfect for your English, Math, and other high school classes. Even middle school and upper elementary teachers will love these free Google App Extensions.

One important feature of Google Classroom is the announcement option. If you need to change an assignment last minute, or would like to remind your students of an upcoming due date or test date, the announcement feature is perfect. It sends an email reminder to each of your students at once. 

Another important feature of Google Classroom is the ability to grade assignments as your view them. Students can receive immediate feedback and will no longer stare at you and pester you until you grade their work! The app also updates when a student turns in the work, eliminating the guessing game of who turned it in, who still has to turn the work in, etc. Best of all, like all Google apps, Google Classroom is available from any computer or device with internet access.

Are you looking for free Google app extensions to make life in your secondary classroom easier? Then check these out! You'll never live without them again! Perfect for your English, Math, and other high school classes. Even middle school and upper elementary teachers will love these free Google App Extensions.

Google Keep

As teachers, we have a million things to do at once, and most of the time, can’t remember what one of those things are. We have to-do lists a mile long and it is so hard to keep track. Sometimes I will remember something I need to do on my commute home, but realize my Post-It’s are on my desk at work and I have to make a separate note someplace else. This only leads to misplaced lists and more things not getting done. 

Google has solved this problem for us. It’s called Google Keep, your virtual Post-It system. You can create an endless amount of reminders for yourself, and even color-code them to better organization. Google Keep can send you an alert as a reminder of a specific note if you wish.  Google offers an extension download that appears at the top of your internet browser that lets you add websites you wish to save for later use. Again, it’s available from virtually anywhere and you’ll no longer forget things!



Are you looking for free Google app extensions to make life in your secondary classroom easier? Then check these out! You'll never live without them again! Perfect for your English, Math, and other high school classes. Even middle school and upper elementary teachers will love these free Google App Extensions.

Grammarly

As an English teacher, one of the BEST free Google App extensions I have found and use every single day is Grammarly. Once downloaded, it is added to the top of your internet browser for easy access. Grammarly offers so much that saves so much time and is just so valuable to all Educators. 

So what is so amazing about this app, you ask? Let me tell you! First off, it is a spell and grammar checker, and not just in documents. It can be applied to almost anything you type and wherever you type on the internet, including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. It offers a comprehensive list of synonyms for common words (Grammarly, 2016)


When you make mistakes, whether it’s a grammar or simply a punctuation mistake, it explains the mistake to prevent it from happening in the future (Grammarly, 2016). It can be applied to whatever, and wherever you type! How convenient! You can choose to upgrade to Grammarly Premium, which provides a key plagiarism tool that checks over 8 million websites. Students find the use of this extension so beneficial to their school work and the improvement of their writing skills. I highly suggest any teacher just try this out in their classroom and see the improvements for themselves.



Are you looking for free Google app extensions to make life in your secondary classroom easier? Then check these out! You'll never live without them again! Perfect for your English, Math, and other high school classes. Even middle school and upper elementary teachers will love these free Google App Extensions.

WizKids CAS

For my fellow Math teachers out there, I have an app for you, too! For those of you who are trying to incorporate more Google app usage in your math courses but are having a hard time figuring out how to graph and use equations in Google Docs, for example, then I suggest downloading the Google App extension called WizKids CAS

This extension is again downloaded and is considered an ‘add-on’ when using Google Docs. With the help of this app, your students can solve equations and plot graphs, find numerical and exact solutions, simplify and factorize expressions with variables, and drag and drop graphs and results into Google Docs from the add-on (WizKids CAS, 2016). It’s free to download and I think it’s a valuable tool for any mathematical classroom that wishes to utilize Google Apps more.

Are you looking for free Google app extensions to make life in your secondary classroom easier? Then check these out! You'll never live without them again! Perfect for your English, Math, and other high school classes. Even middle school and upper elementary teachers will love these free Google App Extensions.

SpeakIt for Chrome

SpeakIt for Chrome is another free Google App extension that I feel is so valuable and beneficial to any classroom, especially in the Special Education and ESL setting. For those students who struggle with reading, this app is for them. For those students who just choose not to read because it’s “too much” or “too long”, this app is for them, too. The app also can be spoken in over 50 different languages, suitable for your ESL students, as well. 

SpeakIt allows the user to highlight text found on the computer, whether it be from an email or from a website, and it will be read aloud to them. Once highlighted, it indicates the number of sentences that will be spoken at a time. I have found great success with the use of this app in my classes. I have no doubt you will too.

These are just five of the most useful free Google app extensions I have found that are offered for our classrooms, regardless of the subject area or grade level you may teach. The beauty of such apps and extensions is that they can be used and accessed from anywhere, and from any internet-accessible device. They make the process of going paperless that much more stress-less and your students will again find much success.


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