POLICY INFORMATION REPORT Computers And Classrooms

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POLICY INFORMATION REPORTComputers and ClassroomsThe Status of Technology in U.S. Schools POLICY INFORMATION CENTEREducational Testing ServicePrinceton, New Jersey 08541-0001

CONTENTSPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2Summary and Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7School Access to Technology .Computers . . . . . . . . . . . .Multimedia Computers . . . .Cable TV . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Internet Access . . . . . . . . .CD-ROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . .Videodisc . . . . . . . . . . . . .Satellite Technology . . . . .This report was written by:Richard J. ColeyPolicy Information CenterEducational Testing ServiceJohn CradlerCouncil of Chief StateSchool OfficersPenelope K. EngelEducational Testing ServiceThe view expressed in thisreport are those of theauthors and do not necessarily reflect the views of theofficers and trustees ofEducational Testing Service.101113151719212325Student Use of Computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .School Computer Use Information from NAEP . . . . . . . . .Student Use of Computers at Home and School . . . . . . . .Student Use of Computers for School Work . . . . . . . . . . .The Use of Computers in Teaching Reading, U.S. History/Social Studies, and Geography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Student Use of Computers in Mathematics . . . . . . . . . . . .Computer Coursework and Experience of College-BoundSeniors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .A Profile of the Class of 1996 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Change Over the Decade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27272728Evaluating the Impact of EducationalWhat the Research Shows . . . . . .Evaluation Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . .An Example from the Field . . . . .Technology .Connecting Teachers and Technology . . . . . . . . . . . .Current Status of Staff Development for TechnologyBarriers to Effective Technology Use . . . . . . . . . . .Models for Connecting Teachers and Technology . .Involving Administrators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28. . . 29. . . 30. . . 30. . . 32.34343838.Use .4141434446Assessing the Content and Quality of Courseware . . . . . .The Instructional Design of Courseware . . . . . . . . . . .The California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse .The CITC Evaluation Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Guidance for Courseware Developers . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Quality of Current Courseware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Integrating Effective Courseware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Incentives for Research and Development . . . . . . . . . .Next Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .484949505252545454The Costs of Educational Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . .Estimating the Costs of Technology in Our Schools .Cost Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .California’s Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Urban/Rural Cost Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Economies in Educational Technology Funding . . .575758626263.Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 661

PREFACEEducation reform andthe quality of schoolstop the list of nationalconcerns these days. Andthe use of technology inclassrooms shares topbilling with the standardsand assessment movement as ways to improveeducation.This report is abouttechnology in the classroom. It is not an argument for or againsttechnology, nor a howto-do-it manual. Itspurpose is to inform —to bring together whatwe know about: the access of schools totechnology and the fairness of access amongstudents how technology is usedin schools the effectiveness ofeducational technology issues involved inconnecting teachersand technology the quality of educational courseware the costs of deployingtechnology in ourschoolsThis report alsoprovides a baseline ofinformation from whichwe can track change.Change, of course, is the2ACKNOWLEDGMENTSone constant in theworld of technology.This report is a “snapshot” of a rapidly changing phenomenon; thepicture will have to betaken regularly for suchinformation to be useful.Paul E. BartonDirectorPolicy Information CenterThe authors wish tothank the followingpeople for their helpwith this report. At ETS,Tony Cline, Larry Frase,and Ellen Mandinachcontributed advice earlyin the project and provided reviews of thereport. Paul Barton andHoward Wainer of ETS,and Margaret E. Goertzof the Center for PolicyResearch in Education atthe University of Pennsylvania also reviewedsections of the report.Quality EducationData, Inc. provided prepublication access totheir data on technologypenetration in schoolsand we are grateful toLaurie Christensen andJeanne Hayes for theirhelp. Ruth Mary Cradlerof Educational SupportSystems also providedassistance.Shilpi Niyogi andBarbara Bruschi providededitorial support andCarla Cooper did thedesk-top publishing. RickBruce, Rod Rudder, andJim Wert designed thecover. Jim Chewningmanaged production.Errors of fact orinterpretation are thoseof the authors.

SUMMARY AND HIGHLIGHTSSCHOOL ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY There are major differences among schools in theiraccess to different kinds of educational technology. Students attending poor and high-minority schoolshave less access to most types of technology thanstudents attending other schools. Ninety-eight percent of all schools own computers. Thecurrent student-to-computer ratio of 10 to 1 representsan all-time low ratio. The ratio ranges from about6 to 1 in Florida, Wyoming, Alaska, and North Dakotato 16 to 1 in Louisiana. While 85 percent of U.S. schools have multimediacomputers, the average ratio of students to computersis 24 to 1, nearly five times the ratio recommended bythe U.S. Department of Education. The ratio rangesfrom about 9 to 1 in Florida to about 63 to 1 in Louisiana. Students attending poor and high-minority schoolshave less access than students attending other schools. About three-quarters of the nation’s schools haveaccess to cable TV. This percentage ranges from 91percent of Connecticut’s schools to 36 percent ofVermont’s schools. Students attending poor and highminority schools have less access to cable TV thanstudents attending other schools. Sixty-four percent of U.S. schools have access to theInternet, up from 35 percent in 1994 and 50 percent in1995. In Delaware, Hawaii, New Mexico, and SouthCarolina, all schools are connected. Students attendingpoor and high-minority schools are less likely to haveInternet access than other students. Only 14 percent ofU.S. classrooms have access to the Internet. Little more than half of our schools have CD-ROMdrives, ranging from 91 percent of the schools in NorthCarolina to only 29 percent of the schools in Vermont.Students attending poor and high-minority schoolshave less access to CD-ROM than students attendingother schools. Thirty-eight percent of our schools are using local areanetworks (LANs) for student instruction. This rangesfrom 57 percent of the schools in Colorado, Utah, andNorth Carolina, to 16 percent of the schools in Vermont. Students attending poor and high-minorityschools have less access to LANs than students attending other schools. About one-third of U.S. schools have videodisc technology, ranging from 95 percent of Florida’s schools to10 percent of Mississippi’s schools. Students attendingpoor and high-minority schools are more likely thanstudents attending other schools to have access tovideodisc technology. Just under one-fifth of our schools have access tosatellite technology, ranging from 50 percent of theschools in Missouri to only 1 percent of Hawaii’sschools. While students attending high-minority schoolshave less access to this technology than studentsattending other schools, students attending poorschools have more access than students attending richschools.USE OF COMPUTERS Among eleventh graders, writing stories and paperswas the most frequently rated computer use at homeand school. Among fourth and eighth graders, playinggames (presumably at home) was the prevalentcomputer use. At all three grade levels, using thecomputer to learn things and for writing were highlyrated uses. About half the students said they used acomputer at home. Nine percent of fourth graders, 10 percent of eighthgraders, and 19 percent of twelfth graders said theyused a computer for school work almost daily. Sixtypercent of fourth graders, 51 percent of eighth graders,and 37 percent of twelfth graders said that they neverused a computer for school work. Black and Hispanic fourth graders were more likelythan White and Asian students to report using computers almost daily. Fourth graders receiving Title 1 services and thoseattending the lowest scoring third of schools reportedmore frequent use of computers than other students.3

White, Black, and Hispanic twelfth graders were morelikely than Asian students to report almost daily use ofcomputers.— Females were more likely than males to haveword processing experience. Twelfth graders receiving Title 1 services and thoseattending rural/small town schools were more likely toreport daily computer use than other students.— Students from minority groups were less likely tohave courses or experience in word processingand computer literacy, and less likely to usecomputers in English courses and to solveproblems in mathematics and natural science. About 40 percent of fourth-grade teachers used computers to teach reading, U.S. history/social studies, andgeography. About one-third of eighth-grade teachers used computers to teach U.S. history/social studies and geography,and 17 percent reported using the computer to teachreading. With a few exceptions, the use of technology to teachreading, U. S. history/social studies, and geographywas found to be equitable. Among the exceptions:— White fourth graders were more likely than Blackfourth graders to have teachers who used computers to teach geography.— White eighth graders were more likely than theirBlack and Hispanic classmates to have teacherswho used computers to teach history.— Students whose teachers indicated that the abilitylevel of their class was low were less likely thanother students to be taught geography using acomputer. About half of the nation’s 13- and 17-year-olds hadaccess to a computer to learn mathematics. For college-bound seniors from the Class of 1996, wordprocessing exposure was the most frequent type ofcoursework or experience, followed by computerliteracy, use in English courses, use in solving mathematics problems, data processing, computer programming, and use in solving natural science and socialscience problems. Only 9 percent of students reportedno computer coursework or experience. Findings bygender and racial/ethnic group follow:4— Minority group students were more likely tohave courses in data processing and computerprogramming.— Females were less likely than males to havecoursework or experience in computer literacyand computer programming, and less likely touse computers to solve math and natural scienceproblems.— Since 1987, the percentage of college-boundseniors reporting no computer coursework orexperience dropped from 26 percent to 9 percent.— Drops were registered in computer programmingand in using the computer to solve math problems.— Increases were registered in all other areas,particularly in word processing and in usingcomputers in English courses.THE EFFECTIVENESS OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY Research generally agrees that drill-and-practice formsof computer-assisted instruction are effective in producing achievement gains in students. More pedagogically complex uses of educationaltechnology generally show more inconclusive results,yet many offer promising and inviting educationalvignettes. Many ongoing educational technology projects are inthe process of documenting and recording measures ofstudent motivation, academic outcomes, and otheroutcomes such as increased skills in problem-solvingand collaboration.

Evaluations of educational technology are reallyevaluations of instruction enabled by technology, andthe outcomes are highly dependent on the implementation of the instructional design. Evaluations of educational technology applications mustconfront a number of methodological problems,including the need for measures other than standardized achievement tests, differences among students inopportunity to learn, and differences in starting pointsand program implementation. Effects of educational technology on teachers should beemphasized because teachers remain in the classroomto influence many generations of students.EFFECTIVE COURSEWARE Effective courseware needs to reflect the research onhow students learn, be matched to national, state, ordistrict educational standards, and be integrated intothe teaching and learning activities of the classroom. Research-based criteria for the development of effectivecurriculum should also be applied to the developmentand selection of educational courseware. The California Instructional Technology Clearinghousehas rated only 6 to 8 percent of evaluated coursewareas “exemplary,” and from 33 to 47 percent as “desirable.” Less than half of the courseware submitted to theClearinghouse had sufficient quality to merit review.CONNECTING TEACHERS AND TECHNOLOGY Research shows that helping teachers learn how tointegrate technology into the curriculum is a criticalfactor for the successful implementation of technologyapplications in schools. Most teachers have not had the education or trainingto use technology effectively in their teaching. Only 15 percent of U.S. teachers reported having atleast nine hours of training in education technology in1994. In 18 states, teacher education students do not needcourses in educational technology to obtain a teachinglicense. Only 16 percent of teachers currently use telecommunications for professional development. Research on the adoption of innovations in schoolsconsistently points to the key role of administrators insuccessful implementation. Effective staff development for teachers should takeadvantage of telecommunications technologies thatallow teachers to interact with each other, take onlinecourses, and easily access the latest research in theirdiscipline. Promising directions in courseware development mightinclude a national clearinghouse; partnerships amongdevelopers, teacher groups, and private and publicagencies; and a determination of courseware needsthat would meet current and emerging curriculumdirections.THE COSTS OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY Research shows that the cost of the technology currently in our schools is about 3 billion, or 70 perpupil. This cost represents just over 1 percent of totaleducation spending. Estimates indicate that it will cost about 15 billionto make all of our schools “technology rich.” This isabout 300 per student, 5 percent of total educationspending, and about five times what we now spendon technology. Different deployment scenarios are estimated to costfrom 11 billion for a lab with 25 networked PCs inevery school, to 47 billion for a networked PC forevery five students. The primary upfront factor affecting costs is thepurchase and installation of computers and otherhardware.5

Secondary, very high-cost, factors relate to the hiring orreassignment of technology staff and the training ofstaff and teachers. Telecommunications costs (e.g., Internet access,telephone bills) are a small portion of total technologycosts, estimated at from 4 to 11 percent. Connecting schools with cable substantially increasestheir technological capacity over that of telephonewire, but technical problems have to be solved. Wireless solutions are appropriate and cost-effectiveunder certain circumstances, such as in old buildingsrequiring asbestos removal or in rural areas. Savingsfrom 20 to 40 percent of the cost of Internet connectivity have been observed. Urban/rural disparities in telephone costs exist whichadversely affect rural schools. Significantly higherpercentages of non-metropolitan than metropolitanschools are located in high-cost service areas. A variety of technology cost reductions to schools havebeen achieved through the configuration of networks,discounted group rates, donated services, and specialprograms.6

INTRODUCTIONI believe that the motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and that ina few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks.Thomas Edison, 1922Because education will be much more efficient, it will probably cost less than it does now. This is not autopian dream. It is well within the range of an existing technology of teaching.B.F. Skinner, 1986There won’t be schools in the future. I think the computer will blow up the school. That is, the schooldefined as something where there are classes, teachers running exams, people structured in groups byage, following a curriculum — all of that.Seymour Papert, 19841Education has alwaysbeen susceptible to“silver bullet” solutions toits problems, and imposing a new technologyhas often been such asolution. Yet time aftertime, the “technology dujour” has collided withthe realities of the classroom and resulted inonly marginal changes inhow teachers teach andstudents learn. Why isthis so? And what are theprospects for change?Some researcherspoint out that “technoreformers” too oftenignore the main purposeof schooling, the realsocial organization ofschools, and the pressingdaily realities of teaching.Teachers are seen as partof the problem and areburdened with solvingit.2 Yet most of theteachers in today’sclassrooms have hadlittle training or experience in technology.Nationally, only 15percent of our teachershad at least nine hours oftraining in educationaltechnology in 1994;and as of 1996, 18 ofthe states did notrequire courses ineducational technologyfor a teaching license.3Further, teachers oftenhave difficulty linkingeducational technologyuse to local curriculaand integrating itwith instruction andassessment.Perhaps anotherproblem is the couplingof educational technology issues with education reform issues. Somecomputer advocatesargue that computerswill become integratedin our schools onlywhen teachers teachdifferently than they donow and students studya different curriculum.Others have suggestedthat we can makeheadway in gettingteachers to use computers in instruction if westop trying to get teachers to do their jobsdifferently and beginusing technology to helpteachers do their jobs asthey do them now. Oncethe use of computers isunhitched from movements to reform teachingand redesign the curriculum, technology stands abetter chance of assuming an important educational role.4We need to remember at least two important things. First, computers in and of themselvesdo very little to aidlearning. The presenceof technology in theclassroom does notautomatically inspireteachers to rethink theirteaching or students toadopt new modes oflearning. Althoughcomputers may makethe work more efficientand more fun, students’use of computers forvarious tasks — likewriting, drawing, orgraphing — does nottend to radically changewhat they would havedone without computers.Computer technologymay provide powerfullearning opportunities,but both teachers andstudents need to learnhow to take advantageof them. Second, nosingle task or activityhas profound andlasting effects on learning by itself. Rather, it isthe whole culture of aclassroom environmentthat can have importanteffects on learning.5What is educationaltechnology? And how isit used in schools today?In the broad sense, theterm includes anyresources used in theeducation of students.These can includemethods, tools, orprocesses. In practice,the term was used inthe post World War IIera to mean technologies such as film strips,slide projectors, language laboratories,audio tapes, and television. Since the advent ofpersonal computing inthe 1980s, the phrasehas come to refer7

Some Milestones in Educational TechnologyAlthough today’s technologyreform started about 15 years ago,technology in the schools goesback twice as far. The computerassisted instruction projects of the1960s evolved, with the increasedavailability of personal computers,into the CD ROM-based multimedia learning resources of today.At the same time, telecommunications networks burgeoned, greatlyextending the possibility of connections to learning sources acrosstime and space, via voicemail,E-mail, direct broadcast viasatellite, and the electronicresources of the World Wide Web.The federal governmentsupported technology for schoolsas early as the late 1950s, largelythrough funding from the NationalScience Foundation and theDepartment of Education. Morerecently the departments ofAgriculture, Commerce, Defense,and Energy, as well as NASA andthe National Endowment for theHumanities, have offered funds foreducational technology. Thesefederal efforts have supportededucational television programming and facilities, development ofcomputer-based instructionalmaterials, hardware and softwarepurchases, demonstration projects,educational technology centers,distance learning networks,conferences, evaluations, assistivetechnologies for disabled learners,and more recently, support fortelecommunications networks andeducational technology planning.7Federal legislation passed in1994, both The Goals 2000:8Educate America Act and theImproving America’s Schools Act(IASA), authorized funds for stateand federal educational technologyplanning. Five million dollars havenow been distributed under Goals2000 to nearly all 50 states fordevelopment of state technologytask forces and plans. IASA hassupported federal leadership,regional technology centers, and43 large technology challengegrants to school-business-collegepartnerships for technology toimprove learning. It also authorized America’s TechnologyLiteracy Challenge, for which 200million were appropriated for FY1997. Title I of IASA providedsome 450 million, and Title VIsome 60 million, for support ofeducational technology in FY1996.President Clinton and VicePresident Gore have madeeducational technology a highvisibility, high priority issue. In1996 Clinton called for connectingevery classroom in America to theinformation superhighway, “withcomputers and good software andwell-trained teachers.” The WhiteHouse announced four educational technology goals:1. All teachers in the nationwill have the training andsupport they need to helpstudents learn using computers and the informationsuperhighway.2. All teachers and studentswill have modern multi-media computers in theirclassrooms.3. Every classroom will beconnected to the informationsuperhighway.4. Effective software and on-linelearning resources will be anintegral part of every school’scurriculum.Other White House technology initiatives include America’sTechnology Literacy Challenge, afive-year effort to help statesachieve the goals; a 21st CenturyTeachers program to recruitteachers to train others in technology use; and the “Tech Corps”which involves volunteers helpingschools integrate technology intothe classroom.A National Education Summitof governors and business,education, and community leaders,convened in Palisades, New Yorkin March 1996, also stressed theimportance of educationaltechnology. Conference leaderscommitted to helping educatorsovercome barriers, including“planning for the acquisition andintegration of technology inschools, the high cost of acquiringand maintaining technology, thelack of school technology policies,resistance to change, and the needfor staff development and curriculum change.”8 The participantspledged to subject their states topublic scrutiny through annualreport cards on their progress.The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), underthe direction of Chairman ReedHundt, has been playing animportant role in makingtelecommunications servicesaccessible to schools, includingenabling schools to createwireless computer networks,allowing inexpensive access to theInternet and other advancedtelecommunications services. Asthis report goes to press, the FCCis developing provisions to meetthe Telecommunications Act of1996, which requires thataffordable service and access toadvanced telecommunicationsservices are provided to publicschools and libraries, includinghigher discounts for economicallydisadvantaged schools and thoselocated in high-cost areas. A finalFCC decision is expected in May1997.The President has continuedhis support for educationaltechnology in 1997 by recommending in his State of the Unionaddress and budget request adoubling of the funding forAmerica’s Technology LiteracyChallenge. For FY 1998, 425million was requested as thesecond installment of a five-year, 2 billion investment to modernize schools to prepare studentsfor work in the coming century.

primarily to computerbased learning, andmost recently to learningenvironments establishedwith computer andcommunications technologies. In short, educational technology is aphrase used to refer tothe most advanced technologies available forteaching and learning ina particular era.6How are educationaltechnologies being usedin today’s classrooms?At one end of the spectrum, computers areused to “deliver” traditional instruction, e.g.,software provides drilland-practice in multiplication tables. In otherinstances, computersprovide students withexperience in technologies that adults use inmany work situations —word processors forwriting, data bases forcollecting and analyzinginformation, and desktop publishing softwarefor publishing. Computers are increasingly beingused to provide studentswith opportunities toexplore “microworlds,”enabling them to “construct” new knowledgeand learn basic skills inuseful contexts. Finally,Internet connectionsallowing electronic mail,file transfer, conferencing,and access to remoteexpertise and information offer tantalizingpromise to educatorsseeking to preparestudents for the 21stcentury.In assessing thestatus of educationaltechnology in ourschools, equity issuesare paramount. Somereformers argue thattechnology can be the“one” educationalchange that can reallymake a difference fordisadvantaged students,allowing them totranscend the boundaries of their schools.Others warn that technology could widen thegap between the education “haves” and “havenots.” Where available,data in this report arebroken out by demographic categories tohelp determine whichway we are heading.While many educational technology issuescontinue to be debated,the presence of technology in schools continually expands. Thisexpansion will continue,whether one believesthat computers shouldbe an integral part ofeducation for pedagogical reasons, or that theiruse is justified simplybecause of the technicalrequirements of theworld in which today’sstudents will work.Meanwhile, those concerned about theseissues — the public,teachers, educationaltechnology planners,and policymakers at thefederal, state, district, andschool level need currentinformation about howtechnology is being usedin classrooms today andwhat are its effects.This report attemptsto meet that demand forinformation. The aim isto provide a “snapshot”of where the U.S. is interms of technology inclassrooms. We assembledata to answer thefollowing questions: How much technologyis in our schools and isit allocated fairly? How are computersused in schools? Isaccess equitable? What do we knowabout the effectivenessof educational technology and what are theevaluation problems weface? What are the costs ofdeploying technology inour schools?1 Quotations from Nira Hativa andAlan Lesgold, “Situational Effects inClassroom Technology Implementations: Unfulfilled Expectations andUnexpected Outcomes,” in StephenT. Kerr (ed.), Technology and theFuture of Schooling, Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1996.2 Larry Cuban, “Revolutions thatFizzled,” Washington PostEducation Review, October 27,1996.3 Education Week, Quality Counts: AReport Card on the Condition ofPublic Education in the 50 States,January 22, 1997.4 Tom Loveless, “Why Aren’tComputers Used More in Schools?”Educational Policy, Volume 10,Number 4, December 1996.5 Gavriel Salomon and DavidPerkins, “Learning in Wonderland:What Do Computers Really OfferEducation?” in Stephen T. Kerr (ed.),Technology and the Future ofSchooling, Chicago: University ofChicago Press, 1996.6 Roy Pea, “Learning and Teachingwith Educational Technologies,” inH.J. Walberg & G.D. Haertel (eds.),Educational Psychology: EffectivePractices and Policies, Berkeley, CA:McCutchan Publishers, 1996.7 Office of Technology Assessment,Power On! New Tools for Teachingand Learning, Washington, DC:1988.8 National Education Summit, “1996National Education Summit PolicyStatement,” Sponsored by theIBM Corporation, the NationalGovernors Association, and theEducation Commission of the States,Palisades, New York, March 27,1996. How can teachers andtechnology be betterconnected? What is the quality ofcurrent educationalcourseware and how isit related to currenteducational standards?9

School Accessto TechnologyTwo of the four Technology Literacy Challengegoals are related to thepresence of hardware inour sch

c Ninety-eight percent of all schools own computers. The current student-to-computer ratio of 10 to 1 represents an all-time low ratio. The ratio ranges from about 6 to 1 in Florida, Wyoming, Alaska, and North Dakota to 16 to 1 in Louisiana. c While 85 percent of U.S. schools have multimedia computers, the average ratio of students to computers

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