CoSN launches small district technology leadership wiki

Washington, DC – November 16, 2007 CoSN today announced the launch of the Small School District Technology Leadership wiki, which was created with support from the National Technology Activities contract with the U.S. Department of Education. The wiki will help with systematic planning at the local level for district- and school-based technologies. The objective of this project is to develop a set of resources that fit the needs of small school districts, those with student populations of 2,500 or less. Of the over 14,000 school districts in the United States, nearly seventy-five percent of them have student populations of less than 2,500.

"CoSN recognizes that technology leadership concerns and needs of small districts are typically impacted by a different set of resource, personnel and even expertise constraints than are experienced in larger or medium-sized districts," said CEO of CoSN Keith Krueger. "The content found on the CoSN wiki may prove useful for any district but is particularly focused on the specific needs and challenges of small school districts."

All of the content and resources are mapped to the nine skill areas defined in CoSN’s published monograph, "What It Takes: Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO". While the job title may not always be Chief Technology Officer (CTO), this title is used generically to refer to the main person or, as is often true in small districts, the main people responsible for technology leadership and decision making in the school system.

The idea behind CoSN’s Small School District Technology Leadership wiki is that school technology leaders in small school districts are not only able to access and make use of resources provided by CoSN and other sources, but are additionally able – and encouraged – to contribute to the site by adding their own best practices, tips, strategies, case studies and resources. They are also encouraged to start or contribute to discussions taking place on the wiki.

If you’ve never used a wiki before, don’t worry! Wikis are actually very easy to use, and online help pages are available if needed. Small school district technology leaders can stay informed about current content of interest by using the "watch" tab at the top of any wiki-page. This will produce a watchlist of pages they want to track.

To start accessing resources, best practices, case studies and more on the CoSN Small School District Technology Leadership wiki, just go to

About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

CoSN is the country’s premier voice in education technology leadership, serving K-12 technology leaders who through their strategic use of technology improve teaching and learning. CoSN provides products and services to support and nurture leadership development, advocacy, coalition building, and awareness of emerging technologies.

CoSN leadership initiatives include: Using Technology to Raise the Achievement of ALL Students (; Cyber Security for the Digital District (; Data-Driven Decision-Making (; K-12 Open Technologies (; Taking Total Cost of Ownership to the Classroom (; Value of Investment (; and the development of the Council of School District Chief Technology Officers (CTO Council).

CoSN’s membership includes a unique blend of education and technology leaders, policy makers, and influencers from the public and private sectors. Our audience includes key technology leaders (often called Chief Technology Officers–CTOs) in leading-edge states and districts, policy makers, private sector leaders, as well as those technology leaders who wish to accelerate their districts’ or states’ systemic technology use. Visit or phone 866.267.8747 to find out more about CoSN’s programs and activities supporting leadership development to ensure that information technology has a direct and positive impact on student learning in elementary and secondary schools.


NEA and IMLS announce more than $1.5 million in Big Read grants for the first half of 2008

Washington, DC – November 16, 2007 The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today continued its drive toward making the Big Read the largest federal reading program in U.S. history. The NEA announced that it will award grants totaling $1,598,800 to 127 libraries, municipalities, and arts, culture, higher education, and science organizations to host Big Read celebrations of 16 classic novels from January-June 2008. The newest Big Read grantees represent 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The NEA inaugurated the Big Read as a pilot project with ten communities in 2006. By 2009, approximately 400 communities in the U.S. will have hosted a Big Read since the program’s 2007 national launch.

"In just two years, the Big Read has grown from ten communities to include nearly 200 towns and cities nationwide. Although each of these communities celebrates its Big Read program in its own way, one theme we consistently hear back is that the Big Read is not just bringing citizens back to the joy of reading, but also reinvigorating the very idea of community," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "I am delighted to announce the newest round of Big Read communities in this program, which is about so much more than reading."

"The Big Read is reaching across state and international borders," said Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the NEA’s lead federal partner for the Big Read. "As director of the IMLS, the federal agency that funds libraries and museums, I am pleased to support this initiative that is creating a new generation of readers. The sky is truly the limit with this partnership."

The organizations selected to participate in the Big Read for the first half of 2008 will receive grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based programs. Participating cities and towns also receive reader’s and teacher’s guides for each novel, audio guides that also can be used as radio programming, publicity materials, an online organizer’s guide for running a successful Big Read program, and access to a comprehensive Big Read Web site. Each local program will include events, such as read-a-thons, book discussions, film screenings, and library and museum exhibits, aimed at avid and lapsed or reluctant readers alike.

The Big Read on U.S. military bases abroad

In 2008, the NEA also will expand the Big Read to include U.S. military installations abroad. Ten bases in Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom will receive reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, audio guides, and other materials to host their own Big Read celebrations.

Domestic bases will continue to participate in the reading program through community partnerships with local Big Read grantees. To date, 26 military installations nationwide have participated in the Big Read through these local alliances. The Arts Endowment has previously partnered with the Department of Defense to bring arts programming to military personnel and their families through NEA national initiatives, including Shakespeare in American Communities, the Great American Voices Military Base Tour, and Operation Homecoming.

The Big Read Russia

From January-June 2008, four communities in Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania will take part in the U.S. component of Big Read Russia. These communities will host Big Read programs celebrating Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. In Russia the regions of Ivanovo and Saratov initiated Big Reads of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in October 2007. A second cross-cultural Big Read with Egypt is also expected to launch in 2008.

About the Big Read

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents the Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment. The Big Read in the Pacific Northwest is supported, in part, by a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

The NEA previously announced a partnership with the Poetry Foundation for a pilot initiative, a component of the Big Read, to celebrate great American poets and the nation’s historic poetry locales. Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts, received an inaugural grant to support a community-wide program to encourage multi-generational reading of the poetry of New England writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).

In September, the NEA partnered with XM Satellite Radio to launch a new radio series, The Big Read on XM. Building on the reading program’s success, the new series is broadcast daily weekdays on Sonic Theater (XM Channel 163) bringing the Big Read to XM’s more than 8.2 million subscribers nationwide. The September 10 premiere of The Big Read on XM featured interviews with NEA Chairman Dana Gioia and Mrs. Laura Bush, honorary chair of the Big Read.

The next Big Read application deadline is February 12, 2008, for communities wishing to host a Big Read from September 2008-June 2009.

For more information on the Big Read, including program FAQs, the complete list of Big Read novels, and application deadlines, please visit

Please see for the listing of Big Read grants awarded for programming in January-June 2008.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

About the National Endowment for the Arts The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts-both new and established-bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education.

Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit

About Arts Midwest

Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit


First-ever gold-standard study of adolescent reading intervention reveals significant gains with Read 180 — the treatment that works

New York, NY – November 16, 2007 The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) and The Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University have released the preliminary findings of the most rigorous randomized research study on effective reading intervention for underachieving high-school students. The results indicate that students placed in the READ 180 program outperformed their peers in other reading intervention programs and a control group. READ 180 is published by Scholastic Education, a division of Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company.

The Seminole County study is of particular importance because it acts as a precursor to the much-anticipated federal Striving Readers research on adolescent reading intervention that is expected to be released by the United States Department of Education in 2008. The FCRR study is similar in design and structure to the Striving Readers research and provides preliminary evidence supporting adolescent literacy intervention.

"Two-thirds of American 8th Graders are reading below grade level and, across America, school districts are searching for a solution to this problem," said Margery Mayer, President, Scholastic Education. "Florida is leading the way in finding that solution and the data from the FCRR study is overwhelming-READ 180 is a treatment that works. It is supported by teachers, principals and parents, and it has all the right components to drive even the hardest to reach struggling readers to succeed."

Administrators at Seminole County Public Schools collaborated with researchers at FCRR and The Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University to conduct this two-year, gold standard study to evaluate the effects of READ 180 and other reading interventions in high school. Students reading at Level 1 and 2, or below proficiency, on the FCAT in the ninth and tenth grade were selected to participate in the study. READ 180 Level 2 students achieved the highest gains: 35% higher than the control group; 79% higher than the other commercially available program in the study; and substantially higher than their expected yearly gains. Level 1 students were also successful, making larger than expected yearly gains on the FCAT.

"By the time kids reach 9th or 10th grade, if they are reading far below grade level, they rarely make any gains in reading and, often, they lose ground," said Lory Lyon, a teacher at Lake Mary High School, one of the schools participating in the study, who uses READ 180, "So, the fact that these kids are achieving more than one year of reading growth with READ 180 is amazing. They are gaining confidence in their work and in themselves, and that’s because of the program. I’ve seen it work, I know it works for all the right reasons, and I feel that, as an educator, I can grow with it."

The study also pointed to READ 180 driving the highest level of teacher retention during the 2005-2006 year. Retention rates among READ 180 teachers were 96% compared with 75% and 50% among teachers using the other intervention programs. While teacher retention is a major challenge for school districts nationwide, the FCRR research proves that teachers who witness the success of their students are more likely to stay in the profession.

About Scholastic READ 180

Scholastic READ 180®, a reading intervention program for older struggling readers, is based on scientifically proven principles, offering intensive intervention for students in grades 4 through 12 who are reading at least two years below proficient level. READ 180 offers intensive and individualized reading instruction for 90 minutes through data-driven technology, teacher-directed instruction in whole and small groups, and leveled reading materials that reflect students’ interests and age.

READ 180 is one of the most thoroughly researched and documented reading intervention programs available today. Currently in use in over 11,000 classrooms nationwide, READ 180 is the result of a collaborative effort between Vanderbilt University and the Orange County Public Schools in Florida. Response from numerous large-scale validation studies in Phoenix, AZ, Santa Rosa, FL, Los Angeles, CA, Des Moines, IA and elsewhere are unequivocal in their findings – implementation of READ 180 has resulted in solid gains in student reading scores. More information is available at

About Scholastic Education

Scholastic Education, a global leader in the education marketplace, provides learning solutions through research-based technology products and multimedia supplemental instructional materials that support student achievement in grades pre-K through high school and beyond. Scholastic Education’s technology-based programs include: the groundbreaking READ 180 program, one of the most thoroughly researched and documented reading intervention programs available today and in use in over 11,000 classrooms nationwide; ReadAbout:; Scholastic Zip Zoom English; Wiggleworks; FASTT Math and the Tom Snyder Productions suite of products; the Grolier Online reference portal; and BookFlix, an online suite of e-books for early readers in grades Pre-K to 3. Grounded in the most current scientific research, Scholastic Education programs deliver proven results in the areas of reading intervention, assessment, data management and professional development.

About Scholastic

Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children’s books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company’s Internet site,


Sarah Trabucchi, Scholastic, 212.343.6424 /


NSBA statement on President’s veto of education spending bill and failure of House to override

Alexandria, VANovember 16, 2007 This week, President Bush turned his back on the future of our nation’s schools and students by vetoing the FY2008 Labor-Health & Human Services-Education funding bill (H.R. 3043). Last night, the House of Representatives had an opportunity to correct that mistake by overriding his veto, but came up two votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority. We are deeply disappointed by these shortsighted actions.

The President’s veto jeopardizes the federal investment in programs that impact a significant number of Americans – from education to healthcare The failure of the House to override the veto put these programs further at risk.

The President’s veto, which affects our communities, our nation’s 15,000 school districts, and our 49 million public school students, signals an alarming dismissal of the very principles aimed at enhancing student achievement the administration embraced when signing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) into law. The funding our school districts need to fulfill these goals has been consistently inadequate, particularly in comparison to the actual expenses incurred by districts and the amounts of funding Congress previously authorized under NCLB between 2002 and 2007.

The veto also affects funding for students under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which remains critically under-funded, as school districts strive to address the needs of the more than 6 million students receiving services under IDEA.

The bill would have increased funding for disadvantaged students, school improvement, special education, teacher quality grants, career and technical education, and other key K-12 education programs. These targeted increases to help raise student achievement represent less than one percent of the overall federal budget of more than $2.7 trillion; and, they are greatly needed in our schools. We hope that during the Thanksgiving recess, the nation’s leaders who have stood in the way of necessary investments in education will reconsider their actions and make it right when they return to Washington in December.

About the National School Boards Association

Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association is a not-for profit federation of state associations of school boards across the United States. Its mission is to foster excellence and equity in public elementary and secondary education in the United States through local school board leadership.


National Educational Computing Conference 2008

Washington, D.C. – November 16, 2007 – The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE(r)) has announced that the 29th annual National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) will be held June 29 through July 2, 2008, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

The world’s premier Ed Tech event, NECC 2008: Convene, Connect, Transform, is presented by ISTE in cooperation with the Texas Computer Education Association. More than 18,000 teachers, teacher educators, technology coordinators, library media specialists, administrators, policy makers, industry representatives, and exhibitors from around the globe are expected to attend.

"As we build this year’s program we’re exploring fundamental questions about what it means to be a digital citizen in a digital age," says Leslie Conery, ISTE’s deputy CEO and NECC conference chair. "How do we prepare students for living in a global society and increasingly complex world? What new knowledge and skills are needed for productive collaboration in the 21st century? And what types of learning environments foster the development of those skills?"

Conery notes that NECC 2008 will also be a highly interactive conference, with lots of opportunities for attendees to exchange ideas and collaborate with peers from around the globe. Conference offerings include hands-on labs; "bring your own laptop" sessions; model classrooms; and peer-to-peer learning lounges.

For 28 years, NECC has provided K-20 education professionals with an annual forum to learn, exchange, and survey advancements in the field of educational technology. Through hands-on and discussion-based workshops, lectures and interactive sessions, discussions with key industry speakers, and the largest vendor exhibition of its kind, ISTE’s NECC offers participants the unique opportunity to discover and share what they need to develop the appropriate use of technology in their classrooms, districts, and universities. More than 700 local, regional, and national volunteers are involved in the event.

Online registration and a preliminary schedule for NECC 2008 are now available at Housing reservations are available online, and conference updates, including travel information and keynote speakers, will be posted as soon as they become available.

Full registration materials, including workshop titles and a schedule of social events, will be available in February 2008 at the Web site or by phoning toll-free (800) 280-6218. International inquiries should be directed to (541) 346-3537.

Applications for exhibit space are available online at, or by phoning NECC 2008 Exhibit Management at (800) 280-6218 or (541) 346-3537. The fax number is (541) 346-3509; eMail is

About ISTE
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the trusted source for professional development, knowledge generation, advocacy, and leadership for innovation. A nonprofit membership association, ISTE provides leadership and service to improve teaching, learning, and school leadership by advancing the effective use of technology in PK-12 and teacher education. Home of the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET), and the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC), ISTE represents more than 85,000 professionals worldwide. We support our members with information, networking opportunities and guidance as they face the challenge of transforming education.

Visit or call (800) 336-5191 to learn more about ISTE and its new initiatives — including the next generation of NETS for Students, Teachers and Administrators.

ISTE is the registered trademark of International Society for Technology in Education.


Free holiday resources from Discovery Education complement any lesson plan

Silver Spring, MDNovember 19, 2007Searching for and sifting through thousands of available resources online can be daunting and time consuming. Discovery Education’s free School Resources web site ( helps educators spend less time hunting for activities, leaving more time for teaching and assessment. And this season, teachers can find a myriad of free holiday-focused resources in Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators, available on the Discovery Education School Resources web site. In addition to holiday resources that bring the cultural and historical aspects of the season to life, Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators has a comprehensive list of subject area web sites and teacher tips that make lesson plans more efficient and engaging for students.

Other tools on the Discovery Education School Resources web site that enhance lessons and create an interactive learning environment include:

– Lesson Plan Library: hundreds of original lesson plans, written by teachers for teachers.

– Puzzlemaker: tools to generate puzzles, including crossword puzzles, math squares and word searches.

– Clip Art Gallery: thousands of images in the clip art gallery.

– Brain Boosters: an archive of challenging mental exercises, including categorization, lateral thinking, logic, number and math play, reasoning, spatial awareness, and word and letter play activities.

– Learning Adventures: interactive lessons and games that address major subject areas.

– Science Fair Central: tips, project ideas, guidelines, and safety rules about running and participating in a science fair, sponsored by Elmer’s.

– Curriculum Center: classroom activities supporting core curriculum topics.

For more information about the Discovery Education School Resources web site or any other products and services from Discovery Education, please visit or call 800-323-9084.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education, a division of Discovery Communications and the leader in digital educational media, publishes products and services used by 1 million educators and 30 million students. With standards-based content in all core disciplines – science, social studies, math, language arts, guidance, health, art, and music – Discovery Education provides digital media tailored for use in today’s classroom. Combined with innovative professional development, effective media integration tools, and state-of-the-art delivery solutions, Discovery Education content and services empower educators to connect students to a world of learning. For more information, visit

For more information, please contact:

Stephen Wakefield, Discovery Education,240-662-2893,


Knowledge Adventure announces K-12 distribution rights for ‘Brainware Safari’ from Learning Enhancement Corporation

Torrance, CA – November 19, 2007 BrainWare Safari might look like a computer game but it offers some serious brain training. Now, thanks to a distribution agreement with Knowledge Adventure, this award-winning product from Learning Enhancement Corporation will be brought to students in the K-12 Education Market. The deal unites a revolutionary software program with Knowledge Adventure’s sales clout in K-12 in a powerful partnership.

BrainWare Safari, developed by Learning Enhancement Corporation, invites children to travel with a cast of jungle characters on a “learning safari” which builds cognitive abilities under the guise of an entertaining video game. The 41 cognitive skills cultivated by BrainWare Safari include the major areas of visual processing, auditory processing, memory, attention, sensory integration and thinking. Each of the program’s 20 exercises targets multiple cognitive skills simultaneously, enabling students to use their strengths to build their weaknesses and reinforcing the mental connections that make learning faster and more efficient.

For over 20 years, Knowledge Adventure has brought quality educational software to students of all ages. BrainWare Safari is a much anticipated addition to Knowledge Adventure’s current collection of educational software which includes the award-winning brands JumpStart, Math Blaster, and Reading Blaster. According to Dan Cavalli, VP School Division of Knowledge Adventure, “This is a natural partnership that allows us to offer a valuable and effective new product to complement our existing product lines.” Roger Stark, Learning Enhancement Corporation CEO, adds, “We are confident that our partnership with Knowledge Adventure will help BrainWare Safari reach students who will experience lifelong benefits from improved cognitive abilities.”

About Knowledge Adventure

Knowledge Adventure is a pioneer in educational children’s software and has set the standard in developing, publishing and distributing the finest products for use in the home and the classroom for over 20 years. Knowledge Adventure’s products, including the internationally recognized JumpStart, Math Blaster, and Reading Blaster are trusted by teachers and parents alike. A subsidiary of Knowledge Holdings, Inc., the company is based in California.

About Learning Enhancement Corporation

Learning Enhancement Corporation (LEC) develops neuroscience-based cognitive skill development programs designed to measurably improve learning skills. BrainWare Safari, LEC’s first product, is aligned with the corporation’s commitment to helping each individual become the strongest learner he or she can be through tools that combine sound science and engaging video-game technology. The corporation is based in Illinois.


Project targets new teachers’ tech use

Indiana University’s School of Education is embarking on a $3.1 million study of how current and emerging technologies are being used most effectively in classrooms—and how best to prepare new teachers to use these tools.

IU has teamed up with the Granato Group, a Vienna, Va.-based technology consulting firm, to complete the research. The project, called “Leveraging Education Technology to Keep America Competitive,” is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology.

Some ed-tech advocates believe the curriculum and pedagogy of many colleges of education have not kept pace with advancements in technology. The results of IU’s study could help change that.

“To our knowledge, the federal government … [has] never really funded a comprehensive study of how cutting-edge technologies are being used in pre-service education,” said Jonathan Plucker, director of the IU School of Education’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy and deputy project manager of the study.

Plucker said technological advances have made this a vastly different society. “But a common criticism is that that’s not really changing the way that we teach,” he said. “It’s not changing the way we deliver education. It’s not changing the way that students learn.”

He added: “This study gives us the resources to go out and do a very comprehensive and careful study to figure out if those things are happening.”

The project will produce an overall assessment of technology’s use in the classroom by April 2009. While these final results will help direct federal policy toward technology in education, officials said, a series of white papers issued throughout the length of the project will give educators immediate insight into the issues the work is tackling.

A key part of IU’s research is a national study of how teacher-preparation programs instruct future teachers on how best to integrate technology into their instruction. Another task involves finding the best ways to get such “best practices” information out to in-service teachers.

IU Associate Professor Thomas Brush said the study should provide more structured guidance for education professors to follow when teaching instructional technology. He said professors now only get to compare notes at conferences and in other informal conversations.

“We can use that information both to inform the Department of Education and help [federal officials] in examining more broadly what teacher-preparation programs are doing,” he said, “but also to inform our program at IU and how we can improve the way we prepare our future teachers in Indiana to use technology effectively.”

The study’s broad scope also should provide insights for existing teachers, project organizers said.

“One of the most important things for me is looking at in-service teachers and what they find really meaningful” about technology’s use in the classroom, said IU Assistant Professor Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich.

The study marks the first real focus on helping to prepare pre-service teachers to use technology effectively during the Bush Administration. A multimillion-dollar federal program called “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology” existed during the Clinton Administration, but Congress killed the program in 2003 at Bush’s request.


Center for Evaluation and Education Policy

The Granato Group


Amazon debuts eBook reader

The online-retail giant Amazon begins selling Amazon Kindle, a new electronic book reader, with hopes to succeed where other hardware companies have failed. For $399, Kindle tips the scales at a total 10.3 ounces and uses an “electronic ink” technology to mimic paper, not a computer screen. There is no backlight. Currently, the screen is black-and-white. …

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