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Communicating with Technology Implementing ePals and A Technology Survey for Professional Development Candice Fritts Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis J538 Practicum Spring 2010


Table of Contents 2

Literature Review Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………… …..3Writing in the 21st Century: A report from the National Council of Teachers of English ………………………..3 Beyond Technology for Technology's Sake: Advancing Multiliteracies in the Twenty-First Century …………...4 Transform Learning with Interactive Video Communication…………………………………………....................6 Learning Powered by Technology [National Educational Technology Plan 2010]……………………………….9 Using Scientifically Based Research in Schools [Newsletter] ………………………………………...................….9 Technology in Schools: What the Research Says………………………………………………...............................9 Making Time for Teacher Professional Development………………………………………………………………11 Critical Issue: Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use……………………………….11 Maximizing the Impact: The pivotal role of technology in a 21st century education system……………………..13 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………………………… …..14 Project Description…………………………………………………........................................................................15 Goals……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ....16 Location………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …...17 Rationale………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. …17 Timeline/Procedure………………………………………………….................................................................... ....18 Project Reflection…………………………………………………………………………………………………...21 Anecdotal Results…………………………………………………………………………………………………...21 ePals Survey Results……….……………………………………….........................................................................22 Tech Survey Results………………………………………………………………………………………………...25 Conclusion………………………………………………………........................................................................... ...27References…………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……...28Appendices Appendix A………………………………………………………………………………………………..30 Appendix B………………………………………………………………………………………………..31 Appendix C………………………………………………………………………………………………..32 Appendix D…………………………………………………………………………………………….....33 Appendix E………………………………………………………….…………………………………....34


3 Appendix F……………………………………………………………………………………………….35 Appendix G……………………………………………………………………………………………....38 Appendix H………………………………………………………………………………………………39 Appendix I……………………………………………………………………………………………….40 Appendix J……………………………………………………………………………………………….42 Appendix K………………………………………………………………………………………………43

Literature Review Introduction Communicating with technology is an integral skill in the 21st Century. Students must be empowered to be multiliterate, to have global awareness and to have access to quality learning at all times. Teachers must also be empowered through on-going professional development to seek out opportunities that utilize technology tools in the classroom. The aim is to implement technology in classroom instruction in order to promote student achievement and to prepare students for a competitive global world. In researching the following articles and journal reviews, the research indicates that students are already interacting with their world in a technological, multiliterate way. Students are composers of writing and they have a worldwide audience at their fingertips. Technology enhances how students learn, and educators and education must endeavor to guide 21st Century learners in a 21st Century way. Professional Development opportunities that focus on teaching with technology assist teachers in creating and designing authentic projects for students. Integrating technology into every aspect of education is necessary for engaging and preparing students to achieve success in the 21st Century. Throughout history, writing and writing instruction has primarily been through the modality of reading, penmanship, and testing (Yancey, K. B. 2009). However, "outside of school, people wrote--orders from the Sears book; letters from European trenches in WWI;


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diaries recording the flotsam and jetsam of daily life."(Yancey, K. B. 2009). The report from the National Council of Teachers of English, Writing in the 21st Century calls for educators to support 21st Century writing which is a call to action, a call to research and articulate new composition. Students should compose often, compose well, and through these composings, become the citizens writers of our country, the citizen writers of our world, and the writers of our future (Yancey, K. B. 2009). The report, Writing in the 21st Century examines writing instruction in schools throughout history and the potential writing instruction available in the 21st Century. Historically, the writing process was laborious. Students spent much of their time learning the skill of penmanship vs. the skill of composing written work. Culture also used reading more than writing because than citizens might be more easily controlled (Yancey, K. B. 2009). Today, in the 21st Century "writers are everywhere". The invention of the personal computer and Web 2.0 transformed writing because now the writer is self-sponsored vs. writing for the test or writing because the teacher provided a writing workshop. The audience is global and they want to compose and do compose to each other (Yancey, K. B. 2009). Educators should tap into this desire to participate. Students are the next generation of citizens and they need to exercise their own free speech. "A new era in literacy, a period we might call the Age of Composition...gives us opportunities to learn to write authentic texts in informal, collaborative contexts" (Yancey, K. B. 2009). Writing instruction for the 21st Century should include learning how to compose in a 21st Century way; where students know their audience, how to organize and compose, and how to complexly think. Composing today isn't composing alone; it's composing in the company of others (Yancey, K. B. 2009).


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Technology enhances the potential for students' writing. Students are inspired and engaged in creative writing projects because they are participating in the broader scheme. In the article Beyond Technology for Technology’s Sake: Advancing Multiliteracies in the Twenty-First Century, Carlin Borsheim, Kelly Merritt, and Dawn Reed focus on using 21st Century technology to advance multiliteracies in pedagogical practices. Technology is to be more than the newest, coolest tool; it is to be utilized as a way for students to be multiliterate. The article cited this quote from Anstey and Bull’s definition, (2006) “a multiliterate person [is] one who is flexible and strategic and can understand and use literacy and literate practices with a range of texts and technologies; in socially responsible ways; in a socially, culturally, and linguistically diverse world; and to fully participate in life as an active and informed citizen.” (Borsheim, C., Merritt, K., & Reed, D. 2008). The article focused on many technologies that are used in the 21st Century classroom such as Web 2.0 applications like wikis, blogs, podcasting, social networking sites and Internet researching pedagogy as a means to be multiliterate. Students are interacting with texts in multiliterate and multimodal ways for the explicit purpose of honing in and focusing on their researching skills, their writing skills, their editing skills, and their final product skills for the purpose of expanding their communication skills “beyond the classroom walls” (Borsheim, C., Merritt, K., & Reed, D. 2008). Technology is impacting the nature of texts, the ways people use and interact with texts, and the way educators teach text. Multiliteracies pedagogy constructs meaning and authentic experiences for when technology is integrated into the classroom (Borsheim, C., Merritt, K., & Reed, D. 2008). The article examines how writing research papers is different for students today.


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The research process is more effective. Students use databases, wikis, and film-editing software to to engage in the various aspects of the researching and writing process. Through explicit strategies for reading articles from online databases and Web sites, to gathering and evaluating and social bookmarking sites that assist in organizing and taking notes, and through composing revising and reaching an audience outside of the classroom, students develop traditional researching skills that are enhanced to reach an authentic audience (Borsheim, C., Merritt, K., & Reed, D. 2008). One example from the article was of students in a high school speech class listening to podcasts on NPR (National Public Radio). The “This I Believe” essays assisted students in preparing their own speech on the same topic, rehearsing it and then sharing the speech through a podcast. Students spent extensive time on revising and re-revising. They had the perspective that their audience was interested and permanent because anyone could access their work on the Internet. The students felt a great deal of ownership and excitement over the possibilities of having an authentic audience. Pedagogically, educators should be tapping into students’ familiarity with 21st Century technologies to advance their learning and their multiliteracies. Students who use technology such as podcasting in the classroom have the opportunity to then participate in a global classroom. The technology available today in the 21st Century enhances students’ authentic learning opportunities. Podcasting is one such technology that gives students a voice beyond the classroom. Another type of technology that extends the classroom walls is video communication. In the review of the article, Transforming Learning with Interactive Video Communication, there was a poignant quote, “Quality learning anywhere, at anytime, for anyone, at any level.” (Zanetis


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& Ittelson, 2010). They were referring to the technology rich area of Interactive Video Communication. Interactive video communication is a “rapidly expanding area of distance learning, class collaborative projects and an ideal way for students to become global citizens.” (Zanetis & Ittelson, 2010). Students can have unlimited access to class presentations, lectures and materials so they have opportunities for better use of class and study times. Some virtual connections could even be with scientists, engineers, and other professionals to encourage students to pursue like degrees. The article was very clear in that interactive video communication is not a way to replace teachers. It is a way to support teachers in reaching all of their student learners (Zanetis & Ittelson, 2010). Student-to-student interactions promote communication between students worldwide. Students engaged with the outside world beyond their classroom walls naturally become global learners. They are excited to interact with regional, national, or global experts concerning the content that they are learning about. Interactive video communication can also support distance learning which addresses the concern of equitable education. Regardless of location or social economic status (SES), interactive video communication provides resources, simulates traditional face-to-face classroom learning, and promotes collaboration among students, teachers, and administrators in education. Interactive video communication prepares students for the information Age. “Today’s education is built on an agrarian model that worked in the years when we were a nation of farmers, foresters and fishermen. Schooling changed to take on elements of the industrial revolution (factory-line classes, assembly-line curriculum and teacherforemen) and that worked for the needs of the Industrial Age. New designs are needed to


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create the “knowledge workers” who will define the Information Age.”(Zanetis & Ittelson, 2010). The article explained the benefits of interactive video communication for students and educators. Students benefited from exchanging ideas and learning from different viewpoints from all over the world. Students also have access to educational resources that they might not have had previously due to location of SES (Zanetis & Ittelson, 2010). Students have relevant and engaging learning experiences brought to them by collaborating with many cultures and communities through the Web. Educators benefit as well. A personal relationship element is included through video interaction in distance learning applications. Mentoring is enhanced for early-service teachers. Timely, convenient, professional development may take place without the cost of travel and there is an increased interaction with colleagues and access to resources (Zanetis & Ittelson, 2010). School districts and higher education benefits were also presented in the article. Educational equity is provided for schools in isolated locations. Virtual field trips provide experiences for schools who cannot afford to travel. Team teaching expands curriculum so that more students can take more classes and collaboration between high schools and colleges are successful (Zanetis & Ittelson, 2010). There are some challenges to including interactive video communication in classrooms. There are cost considerations as well as considerations for the school's Network capabilities. Training, maintenance, programming, and content are all necessary start-up and on-going costs. However, by exploring the possibilities of connecting your class with a class across the country or across the world, many educators can initiate their own distance learning programs and, “The world can literally become an extension of the classroom.” (Zanetis & Ittelson, 2010).


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Through interactive video communication, students gain a new perspective through different points of view. They are learning to be global citizens with a mission of pursuing life-long learning through collaboration and connection around the world. Students and educators have access to experts that motivate and inspire. Most importantly, students have relevant and engaging learning experiences because their learning is transformed by interactive video communication. The NETP, National Education Technology Plan draft focused on five areas that technology should be implemented in schools. Those five areas are learning, assessing, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity (Learning Powered by Technology [National Educational Technology Plan] 2010). All students should have engaging and empowering learning experiences. Their learning in school should match their outside school experiences. The article was referring to students having to power down when they come to school, because they are not allowed to use their cell phones or their own personal digital devices. Critical thinking, complex problem-solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication are all real world learning skills that education promotes and students need to have. Assessments should be geared to show that these skills are being accomplished. Teaching should be a collaborative effort as well, because there are millions of new resources and new technologies out there. A team or a PLC (Professional Learning Community) will minimize the work and maximize the efficiency in which new technologies are utilized in the classroom. Teachers need to implement scientific research and technology resources into their infrastructure. Through example, students at a young age will learn "to pose important questions, suggest theories and seek evidence to corroborate inquires." (Using Scientifically Based Research in Schools [Newsletter]. (2005, October).


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Technology is emerging in schools, through the call to make learning relevant to the 21st Century and through the desire of students and educators to utilize technology. There is a challenge of harnessing technology as a positive impact in students' lives. The productivity comes about when technology tools are utilized in the best practice possible. In the article, Technology in Schools: What the Research Says, the authors look back at the sometimes controversial research done on the emerging technologies in schools. For the purpose of their review, authors Fadel and Lemke examined multiple descriptive studies and rigorous research studies. These studies were representational and not comprehensive. However, the goal was to indicate the research that showed an impact on student learning; whether that impact was negative or positive. The authors aim was to take the following aspects of student learning and show how technology influenced those learning experiences. The aspects of student learning, or LEARNtype, are automaticity (effortless task completion), content expertise or knowledge (effective retrieval of factual knowledge), information processing and visualization (ability to use multimedia-based information to interpret and evaluate), Higher-order thinking and sound reasoning (the ability to problem-solve) and authentic learning (the ability to pursue relevancy, questioning, and producing) (Fadel, C. & Lemke, C. 2006). The above LEARNtypes are all impacted by emerging technologies used in the classroom. Fadel and Lemke reviewed multiple research studies to see how the variety of technical types “spiked� learning in the areas above. The TECHtypes that Fadel and Lemke reviewed were Television and Video, Calculators, Engagement Devices, Portable ICT Devices, Virtual Learning, In-School Computing (which also included information on computer assisted


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instruction, communications, and educational gaming), and 1:1 Computers to Students (Fadel, C. & Lemke, C. 2006). There were several instances throughout the article where rigorous research had not been carried out. Rigorous research was not available for the Authentic Learning LEARNtype for every TECHtype examined in the review. However, in the descriptive and rigorous research studies reviewed there were not any negative effects on students’ LEARNtype with the exceptions of mixed results in a descriptive study of calculators or graphing calculators and inconclusive results in a rigorous research study of portable ICT devices concerning automaticity of basic knowledge and skills. Virtual learning was found to be “generally equivalent to face-toface learning” in rigorous research studies (Fadel, C. & Lemke, C. 2006). The authors were also careful to note that the studies were not generalizable and that a pilot program would be best suited for schools considering implementing the emerging technologies. The authors also acknowledged that “leadership, teacher proficiency, professional development, fit with curriculum, school culture, pedagogical approaches—and to some degree on levels and types of technology access” were also factors of success in implementing technology in schools (Fadel, C. & Lemke, C. 2006). According to Fadel and Lemke, “Overall, across all uses in all content areas, technology does provide a small, but significant, increase in learning when implemented with fidelity.” Technology affects student achievement. Teachers affect student achievement. Through professional development opportunities that incorporate teachers learning how to effectively use technology in their classroom, student achievement will continue to improve. According to the article, Making Time for Teacher Professional Development, “What teachers are expected to know and do has increased in amount and complexity.” Teachers need pedagogical skills


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concerning technology and their subject matter. When large-scale initiatives like 1:1 computing are launched, teachers need time, collaboration, and active participation with a connection to student learning in their professional development opportunities (Abdal-Haqq, 1996). The most difficult part in integrating technology is time. Professional development should “integrate technology into the curriculum, align it with student learning goals, and use it for engaged learning projects” (Critical Issue: Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use). Teachers make differentiated lessons for their students on a daily bases. Professional development days should be no different. A variety of learning experiences for teachers using technology should be an integral part of teachers’ professional lives. To “sit and get” at a onetime workshop is an inadequate way for teachers to learn. Teachers aren’t comfortable with the process unless it is ongoing and there is sufficient time, tech assistance, and administrative support (Critical Issue: Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use). Funding is another challenge. Due to budget cuts, there are often a limited number of Professional Development days available to schools (Abdal-Haqq, 1996). One solution is to arrange PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) within the school building and school day. Teachers should have professional development embedded into their days. If there is a way, teachers should be able to connect with and/or observe colleagues to foster an ongoing collegial learning environment. Another solution is to create a collaborative on-line space such as a wikispace, an on-line repository, or a social networking site that aggregates the experiences of the teachers using technology with their students. This would have a high return on investment, because it would promote a sense of ownership and learning culture that does not cost a non-


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student day for an in-service, and yet still provides resources and feedback towards each teacher’s continuing professional development. In order for learning to take place with technology, teachers must be fearless (Critical Issue: Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use). In order to be fearless, and willing to take risks, teachers must be trained and comfortable with technology. Hands on technology use, experience, specific curriculum applications with a high engagement factor towards a connection to student learning are all necessary in any professional development session. Technology can be used effectively to create new opportunities for learning. The pivotal role of technology in education should be or real concern to educators, administrators, and parents. We are preparing students for a very competitive world. The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills collaborated on the following article, Maximizing the Impact: The Pivotal Role of Technology in a 21st Century Education System. In this article, there is an emphasis on technology being utilized in every aspect of education. Mastery of content alone is no longer sufficient. Content and technology together have the maximizing effect. The ‘and’ of combining content and technology is essential in preparing students to compete in the 21st Century. Students are not the only ones who must be proficient in 21st Century skills. Teachers and educational leaders need to maximize the impact of technology with education on a daily basis. In the article there was a side note that, “education is the least technology-intensive enterprise in a ranking of technology use among 55 U.S. industry sectors, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce” (Vockley, M.). If we are really going to prepare students for a “dynamic digital


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world� then we need to have the vision of using technology as a learning tool for more studentcentric, relevant, and rigorous learning (Vockley, M.). Technology used comprehensively in the classroom will empower students to develop 21st Century skills that employers want. Employers the world over desire creative, innovative, collaborative, and communicative analyzers and problem solvers who accomplish the real world tasks that employers ask them to do. Schools should be the training ground that engages learners in opportunities where they can apply relevant 21st Century skills to real world issues. This mindset of student based, rigorous 21st Century learning can only take place if technology is incorporated into every aspect of its everyday practices. The article suggested these new approaches to teaching and learning in order to maximize the impact and efficiency of technology in the classroom: Concept building vs. rote memorization, addressing misconceptions, fostering investigation and inquiry, applying knowledge and skills to interdisciplinary challenges, creating and transforming knowledge for meaningful purposes, collaborating with others, apprenticing with experts, engaging and motivating students, differentiating instruction to meet individual needs (Vockley, M.). All of these approaches focus on facilitating student learning where students do the learning. Technology tools enhance this learning by going outside of the walls of the school, the expertise of one teacher, and by opening up a global community of resources so that all students can have access to the world around them. Best practices used along side with technology maximize the impact. When technology is used comprehensively the article explained that support systems are enhanced as well. Meaning that standards are met, assessments are timely and beneficial, curriculum and instruction are better matched, professional development improves, and


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professional learning communities form for the growth of all. The resources mentioned above run parallel to maximizing student achievement. Teachers and administrators need to be just as engaged and proficient in their teaching and application of 21st Century skills because of this infrastructure that supports the broader vision of student achievement in the 21st Century. Conclusion: Student achievement is gained through student active participation in the real-world around them and through educators that promote 21st Century learning in their classrooms. Professional Development enhances what teachers are expected to know in order to guide students as they collaboratively engage in authentic learning opportunities. Communicating with technology goes beyond utilizing technology for technology’s sake; it allows students to be composers and engaged citizens who are empowered to impact and participate in the real world. Students are global 21st Citizens when they use technology to communicate. Project Description For my project, I am using technology to foster connections between diverse groups of people. The main portion of my project will be to implement ePals for various teachers and students within my school building. ePals is an educational networking site that enables students to have e-mail accounts. With these e-mail accounts students connect with other students around the world. This is a great opportunity for students learning a foreign language and for History and Language Arts teachers to make real world connections. ePals is safe, free, and a program that I think many teachers will want to implement once they know how to do profiles and set ePals projects up. For my instructional project I am planning to be the ePals liaison for my school. I want to set up one-on-one teaching sessions and be the go to person for any teacher


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who is interested in doing ePals in their classroom. This project directly relates to the field of Educational Technology because students will be connected with the world around them through technology. ePals will provide the opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a different culture without actually leaving the school building. Students will write with real purpose because they are sharing their lives with a real audience. The other connection that I want to make using technology is a survey for the teachers in my school corporation. This survey is to enable teachers to know how to utilize the technology that they have available in the most efficient and student engaging manner. Many teachers are familiar with technology, but would appreciate tips and tricks that make using technology easier. Teachers also want to have their students engaged in learning. In today’s classroom the best way to do that is to incorporate technology with learning. My survey is to see where teachers are at in their familiarity with technology and to enhance that familiarity with tips, tricks, and engaging projects that they can have their students use in future lessons. Enhancing teachers’ understanding of how to use technology will also affect students’ learning because the more comfortable teachers are with technology the more engaging their lessons are capable of being. Especially since students are coming to school and wanting to use the technology they are already familiar with. Goals: The goals of my instructional project are aligned with Zionsville Community Schools’ Mission statement: “Zionsville Community Schools provide customized 21st Century experiences that ensure maximum student growth leading to productive citizenship in the world community.” My goal is that all students involved with ePals enhance their understanding of another culture


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through communicating with technology. I am also aiming for students to use this customized 21st Century experience of e-mailing and interacting with students from around the world to ensure that students write with real purpose because they are sharing their lives with a real audience. My goal for implementing a district wide technology use survey is to assist the Tech department in knowing what technology classes should be offered during the summer tech sessions and for teachers to recognize and utilize the technology that they have available to prepare students for the 21st Century.

Location: This instructional project is taking place at Zionsville Middle School in Zionsville, Indiana. The technology survey is going out to the entire school corporation. The ePals implementation has the capacity to expand to the entire school corporation, but for this project I chose to remain within Zionsville Middle School where I teach 6th Grade Social Studies, English, and Language Arts. Zionsville Middle School is 93% White, 1% Black, 2% Hispanic, 2% Asian, and 1% multiracial. With little diversity in our school, I was very encouraged to engage with other cultures around the world. We also have 97% paid lunches at our school with only 1% being reduced and 1% being free and reduced. Interacting with other cultures around the world would promote our students’ understanding of others and their circumstances. Zionsville Middle School is a four star school in Indiana with a traditional schedule. A unique aspect to this project is that all 6th and 7th grade students have 1:1 Netbook computers. The students in my classroom all use their Netbooks which have wireless access to the Internet.


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Rationale: What I appreciated the most from the articles that I reviewed was the focus on improving student achievement "with" technology. Technology is a tool that students can learn "with" vs. "from". Although students do learn important things "from" technology, it is best practice for students to learn "with" technology. Students were highly motivated and engaged for the purpose of learning about another student in another culture when they communicate through ePals. They didn't learn from technology, they learned with technology. Technology is meant to help students engage in thinking, reading, writing, researching, problem-solving, and experiencing the world around them. Through this project of establishing ePals in our Middle School, I am able to realistically integrate technology for the purpose of student engagement and achievement in writing and understanding different cultures. I am also able to impact student learning by enhancing how teachers use technology in their classroom instruction. By creating a survey that will help to direct the summer technology course offerings, I can help create a dialogue amongst the teachers that supports technology implementation and student achievement. Timeline and Procedure: The timeline of this project started in January of 2010. I contacted Jacky Little at ePals Inc. after a colleague had been to a Webinar explaining ePals. Mrs. Little was extremely helpful in assisting me in setting up ePals e-mail accounts for the teachers and students that needed them. I also had to obtain permission from my building principal, Mr. Sean Conner (See Appendix A). Mr. Conner was very supportive of the endeavor to give students monitored e-mail accounts, but he still directed me to our Technology Coordinator for the school district. Patti


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Bostwick met with me after school one afternoon in December to hear the logistics of implementing e-mail accounts for interested teachers and students. Mrs. Bostwick verbally agreed that I could set up accounts without any special permission from parents because of our wording in the Internet User Agreement form that we have at Zionsville Community Schools. She was excited to support me in this project as well. From there I sent out an e-mail to all of the teachers in my school building explaining the project and ePals (See Appendix B). Not all teachers responded, however many teachers did. Thus began the set up of all the e-mail accounts for the students and the interested teachers. This required entering all the student names into a spreadsheet to create their e-mail accounts. I also set each student up with a monitor and an email access level. ePals allows you the choice of the filter level you prefer. All the teachers at Zionsville Middle School chose to receive a copy of all student messages, but approval was only required when a message triggered the inappropriate word filters. This gave the teachers confidence that the students were safe and monitored without causing the teachers to check their ePals e-mail every single moment to make sure that a message was sent, received, or appropriate (See Appendix C). The next phase of the timeline was to initiate interest in another school. On ePals you create a profile and request a similar class size and age group to participate in eProjects with. There is a little bit of wait time involved in finding another classroom. My class found a classroom match on February 21, 2010 from students in Rovigo, Italy. Their teacher, Ms. Isabella Garbato asked my students to write about themselves so that she could match her students up with mine (See Appendix D). We have only written three to four e-mails back and forth because they had Easter holidays and we had our Spring Break during this spring semester. We are planning to skype our classrooms, but that hasn’t happened yet because Ms. Garbato


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would have to take her personal computer into school and her school’s network is not accepting that mode of video conferencing at this time. We are still in the process of working video conferencing out. A couple of other challenges to the video conferencing meeting are that she teaches on Saturday mornings and Wednesday and Thursday afternoons with a six hour time difference between Indiana and Rovigo, Italy. We have been e-mailing back and forth to try and arrange a time when I can change my students’ schedule to be on-line when her students are online. The project of corresponding will continue until the end of both of our school years in June. Currently, our e-mails have been informal to get to know one another. My students are enjoying this very much! They also have a real sense of responsibility to help teach the Italian students grammatically correct English. After these free topic e-mails we are going to go more in-depth with writing about cultural topics (See Appendix E). My students recently shared their typical day in an American school. One set of girls videotaped their lunch table, passing in the halls, and student and teacher interviews to share what their day is like. We are waiting to hear back as to what a typical day in an Italian school is like. Our next cultural topic planned is favorite food dishes to eat. As you can see the project develops over time and there is a little wait time because the Italian students are with Ms. Garbato only three days a week. There are many more in-depth projects available through ePals like Digital Storytelling. In the future, I will implement ePals at the beginning of the school year so that students can have more time in sharing cultural projects and we can establish a more consistent return on e-mails from both sets of students. The technology survey that I created for my school district was created on Google docs (See Appendix F). I sent the survey out electronically to the entire school corporation on March 19th. We received fifty-five teacher responses to my survey. The survey questions were open


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ended concerning technology in the classroom. I asked participants to list some of the ways they incorporated technology into their teaching style and what obstacles they faced when incorporating technology into their teaching style. From teacher responses we were able to determine technologies that most teachers use and technologies that teachers want to use more efficiently in their instruction. In the survey, I also included a range of technologies that our school has available. I asked teachers to select the tools that they use. The list consisted of the following technology tools: Computer labs, 1:1 Netbooks, Digital Cameras or Camcorders, Angel (On-line Management Software), Blogs, Wikis, Google Docs, PowerPoints, Writer/Word, Excel, GPS, Podcasts, Web2.0 Resources, i-Touch or other PDA, Clickers, Movie-Maker, iMovie, Photostory, Photshop, Premiere, and other. The last questions of the survey asked about the confidence level of teachers using specific technologies. Teachers rated themselves on ‘I know little about this skill and would like to learn more,’ ‘I know some about this skill and would like to learn more,’ ‘I am comfortable with this skill,’ ‘I could help teach others this skill,’ ‘N/A I am not interested in learning about this skill.’ The specific technologies that the survey asked teachers to rate themselves on were: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Docs, Web 2.0 Resources, Podcasting, Angel, Blogs, Wikis, and Digital Movie Making. The time frame for this project is also ongoing. Our summer tech session coordinator, Andy Gall sent out a follow up survey this week to scaffold off of my survey. He took the data from my survey into consideration for the course offerings this summer. I am also planning on teaching the Web 2.0 Resources tech sessions this summer once the final schedule is complete. Project Reflection: Communicating through technology is a vital way that we interact today. Students need opportunities to engage in real-world situations where they are writing with a purpose and with a


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real audience in mind. As the article Writing in the 21st Century suggested, schools should be guiding students in writing in a meaningful way so that they are composing their writing for a global audience. The curriculum for writing should include global connections because in the 21st Century students are interacting globally. Teachers also need to tap into the resources available to them and their students. Teachers need to be fearless in trying out new technology that will enhance student engagement and achievement. As the article, Maximizing the Impact, explained, technology tools enhance learning by going outside of the walls of the school, the expertise of one teacher, and by opening up a global community of resources so that all students can have access to the world around them. Through my implementation of ePals and the Tech survey I have discovered that there is much more that our school is capable of implementing. I want to be an integral part of assisting teachers and students in integrating technology into the curriculum, aligning it with student learning goals, and using it for engaged learning projects. Upon reflecting over the ePals experience, I feel that my students have genuinely enjoyed getting to know students from another culture. Most of my students were disappointed that there ePals couldn’t write every day back and forth. Since my students have 1:1 Computing with their Netbooks, they checked their ePals e-mail every day. I feel that their writing has improved because they feel responsible for teaching the Italian students who are learning English formal English. My students have struggled throughout the year with correct grammar and sentence structure. No matter what writing assignments we would do, students would still have grammatical mistakes. The real audience overseas instantly changed my students’ awareness of their writing. They wanted to make sure that everything was correct. They voluntarily asked me to proof read and edit their e-mails so that they would be helping their ePals learn English the


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right way. One thing I would still change for next year is the depth of the writing. Through our free write e-mails (where students are just saying hello) I feel that my students are being more social than delving into the content of each other’s cultures. I anticipate in the future that a longer time span for the project will engage us in more structured content; like aspects of different cultures or sharing digital story projects. With really only three months of contact with the school in Italy (Where the students are only in Ms. Garbato’s class three days a week.), I feel that we are off to a good start. However, next year my students will have their ePals at the beginning of the school year and Ms. Garbato and I have already started planning different digital storytelling projects that we want to implement. For the future I also want to implement ePals e-mail accounts for the teachers and students interested at fall registration. Students will already be in homeroom classrooms where their accounts will be monitored by their homeroom teacher. Since students have a safe and secure e-mail that can be monitored, they will be able to access many Web 2.0 resources that require e-mail verification. Students will be able to access this verification at school because our network doesn’t block ePals e-mail accounts. Students will be able to sign up for Edublogs.org, Glogster.edu, and other educational resources because they have their own e-mail. The added benefit for the teachers and parents is the ePals is completely free, monitored, and safe (See Appendix G). I am looking forward to finding additional classrooms around the world to interact with. I also want to implement writing to soldiers overseas. One of my colleagues wrote to a soldier in Afghanistan. Their class had brought in supplies to send him. He wrote back to their ePals accounts and it really made the students proud of personally encouraging a soldier. The more teachers that have ePals’ classrooms earlier in the year, the more students will have the opportunity to communicate and share their writing with a real, global audience.


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I had my students take a student survey on surveymonkey.com to organize feedback on ePals. The student survey explained that students were expecting more regulated contact between their ePals. Student open ended responses to the ePals survey questions of what did you like about ePals and what did you like the least about ePals were pretty consistent for my twenty-one students. They all said that they liked learning about another culture and e-mailing someone their own age from another country. Some of the students said that they didn’t not like anything about ePals, however many said that they wished they would have gotten more replies from their ePals. (See Appendix H). I also asked them to rate their experience with 1= No, 2 = Most of the time and 3 = Yes on the following four questions: 1) Did you like having an ePal in 6th grade? 2) Do you think your writing for a real audience helped you with your grammar and spelling? 3) Will you continue to use your ePal e-mail account to write/and or for other uses? 4) Do you feel like you know more about another culture now? In response to question one, 23.8% of student said they liked having an ePal most of the time and 76.2 % said that yes they did like having an ePal in 6th grade. For question two, 19.0% of students did not think that writing for a real audience helped them with their grammar and spelling, 38.1% thought that writing their ePal helped them most of the time, and 42.9% of the students answered that having a real audience did help them with their grammar and spelling. For question three, 19.0% did not think they would continue to use ePals next year, but 33.3% of students selected they would most of the time and 47.6% of students said that they would use ePals next year. The fourth question asked if the students felt they learned more about another culture. 19.0% said that they did not learn more about a culture and explained verbally to me that they did not receive very consistent e-mails back from their ePal. Another 19.0% said that they learned something about another culture most of the time and 61.9% of students said that yes, they learned something about another culture. (See Appendix I).


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Overall, I felt the ePals project to be beneficial to students. I will develop it to be more structured and deeper into content next year, but I feel that students fulfilled the purpose of writing to a global audience. Students used 21st Century technology to improve their writing and grammar and they communicated globally through leaning about another culture.

Tech Survey Reflection After the survey results for the technology survey were collected, most teachers described the obstacles to implementing technology as time (which all of my research supports). Teachers need time and support in order to fully implement technology in such a way that it enhances student learning. Our summer tech course offerings are now designed around what teachers really want. Their survey answers gave us some very good information concerning how they use technology in their classrooms and how they want to use technology in their classrooms. From the survey results we know teachers are utilizing computers. Out of fifty-five teachers surveyed, 81.8 % are in computer labs throughout the week, 23.6 % of teachers surveyed have access to 1:1 Netbooks. Out of the teachers surveyed, 78.2% use digital cameras or camcorders and 63.6 % of teachers surveyed use Angel our On-line Management Software. Web 2.0 Resources like Blogs, Wikis, and Google Docs were utilized at a lower percent. 21.8 % of teachers surveyed used Blogs. Only 3.6 % of teachers surveyed used wikis, and 14.5 % of teachers surveyed used Google Docs. Out of teachers surveyed, 5.5% used GPS and 10.9 % used Podcasts. Other Web 2.0 Resources used were at 9.1%. Not surprisingly, teachers surveyed used PowerPoint, Word and Excel at a higher percent. 81.8% used PowerPoint, 61.8% used Word, and 41.8% used


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Excel. Other programs such as Microsoft Movie Maker, Photostory, Photshop, Premiere, and iMoive were utilized at a lower percent too. Movie-Maker was used at 20%, Photstory was used at 10.9%, Photshop was used at 14.5 %, Premiere was used at 3.6% and i-Moive was used at 10.9%. i-Touches or other PDAs were used at 5.5% and Clickers were used at 18.2% (See Appendix J). Teachers were also asked to rate their confidence level and interest in the following technologies:

MS Word MS Excel MS PowerPoint Google Docs Web 2.0 Tools Podcasts Angel Blogs Wikis Digital Movie Making

Not InterestedWant to know more 13% 3.7% 18.5% 50% 13% 29.6% 20% 61.1% 3.7% 81.5% 16.7% 74.1% 7.4% 59.3% 27.8% 53.7% 23.6% 51.9% 22.2% 66.7%

Comfortable Using 61.1% 22.2% 23.3% 16.7% 14.8% 7.4% 22.2% 13% 13% 9.3%

Confident – Could Teach 22.2% 9.3% 14.8% 1.9% 0% 1.9% 11.1% 5.6% 5.6% 1.9%

Most teachers want to know more about Excel, Google Docs, Web 2.0 Tools, Podcasts, Angle, Blogs, Wikis and Digital Movie Making. I feel that this indicates that teachers at our school recognize that students need access to these technologies in the classroom and they want to learn about these technologies so that they are prepared to teach students in the 21st Century. Some of the ‘Not Interested’ people surveyed could be elementary teachers who wouldn’t use Excel, or it could be teachers who already know how to do utilize that skill. One percentage that really concerned me was that the confidence level of teaching Web 2.0 tools was at 0%. Teachers


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need to be advancing in the Web 2.0 field in order to prepare our students for a competitive global world (See Appendix K). These survey results have helped Andy Gall set up his technology interest survey for summer tech sessions. It also revealed to me that with my Technology and Instruction Masters’ degree, I can help to implement technology into the classroom for student achievement. I will be teaching Web 2.0 summer tech sessions this summer. We will be utilizing blogs, wikis, and Google Docs in my tech session courses. Hopefully, the dialogue of how to use technology in our instruction and the time to implement Web 2.0 technology will help teachers to feel more confident about implementing technology into aspects of their instruction for student achievement. In both sections of my J538 Practicum, implementing ePals and creating a tech survey, communicating with technology was integral. Technology was not technology used for the sake of technology, but it was a way for students to learn with technology. With ePals, students have the opportunity to write to a global audience as composers and participants in a connected world. They enhance their ability to be multiliterate because they are extending past the classroom walls to connect with another culture and other students’ perspectives. Through the tech survey, our teachers have access to relevant professional development and technologies that they can utilize in their classroom instruction; thus, impacting student engagement and student achievement. Technology is imperative in the education of 21st Century students. Educators must guide the way in learning 21st Century technologies that promote student growth in becoming 21st Century citizens. Communicating with technology empowers students.


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References Abdal-Haqq, I., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education, W. (1996). Making Time for Teacher Professional Development. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from ERIC database: http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.ulib.iupui.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db= eric&AN=ED400259&site=ehost-live Borsheim, C., Merritt, K., & Reed, D. (2008). Beyond Technology for Technology's Sake: AdvancingMultiliteracies in the Twenty-First Century. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 8287-90. Retrieved from ERIC database. Critical Issue: Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use [ePaper]. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2010, from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory website: http://www.ncrel.org/‌sdrs/‌areas/‌issues/‌methods/‌technlgy/‌te1000.htm Fadel, C., & Lemke, C. (2006). Technology in Schools: What the Research Says. Retrieved January 28, 2010, from Cisco Systems, Inc. website: http:///www.cisco.com/‌web/‌strategy/‌docs/‌education/‌TechnologyinSchoolsReport.pdf


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Learning Powered by Technology [National Educational Technology Plan 2010]. (2010, March 5). Retrieved March 12, 2010, from Office of Educational Technology U.S. Department of Education website: http://www.ed.gov/‌sites/‌default/‌files/‌NETP-2010-final-report.pdf Using Scientifically Based Research in Schools [Newsletter]. (2005, October). Retrieved March 12, 2010, from The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement website: http://www.centerforcsri.org/‌files/‌TheCenter_NL_Oct05.pdf Vockley, M. (n.d.). Maximizing the Impact The pivotal role of technology in a 21st century education system. Retrieved April 2, 2010, from SETDA website: http://www.setda.org/‌c/‌document_library/‌get_file? folderId=191&name=P21Book_complete.pdf Yancey, K. B. (2009, February). Writing in the 21st Century: A report from the National Council of Teachers of English. Retrieved from National Council of Teachers of English website: http://www.ncte.org Zanetis, J., & Ittelson, PhD, J. C. (2010, January). Transform Learning with Interactive Video Communication [White Paper]. Retrieved February 13, 2010, from Tandberg website: http://reg.accelacomm.com/‌servlet/‌Frs.FrsGetContent?id=50774428


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Appendix A


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Appendix B Hello all, I want to introduce an exciting opportunity that many of you may have heard of already. ePals is an online educational networking site specifically for collaboration with any of 200 other countries around the world. The students receive an e-mail account that is accessible at school and good for signing up for other online resources (edublogs, googledocs, etc.). There is a blogging feature with ePals, specific pen pal opportunities for foreign language learners, and collaborative projects. Everything on the website is something beneficial that we can use with our students in our classrooms! http://www.epals.com/ It is also completely safe with eTrust. You might be asking, “How can I set this up for my students?” The awesome answer is that I will set it up for you!  Attached is a spread sheet. Please put your name or desired username in the monitor category. Then let me know which filter category you would like to have by highlighting one of the following choices on the attached excel sheet: Level 1: All student messages are approved by you. Level 2: You receive a copy of all student messages but approval is only required when a message triggers the inappropriate word filters. Level 3: You will only receive messages triggering the inappropriate word filter. Level 4: Filters are turned off. You don’t receive any notification that the student received an e-mail. The only other information that I need is all of the first and last names of the students that you will monitor. (i.e. 6 th grade Homeroom, Foreign Language Period 2). Once you send me the student names and your filter level preference, I will have their e-mail accounts for you within a couple of days. I can also answer any questions that you may have concerning profiles, projects and features utilized within ePals. I hope that you take advantage of my internship. I’m really excited at what the students will be able to do with ePals! Sincerely,


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Candice Fritts 6th Grade Social Studies, English, and Literature Teacher National Junior Honor Society Sponsor FCA Sponsor Cross-Country and Track Assistant Zionsville Middle School 900 N. Ford Rd. Zionsville, IN 46077 317-873-2426 ext. 13609

Appendix C Form for ePals set up

Student Name

School Name Zionsville Middle School

0: Internet: Students can correspond with anyone Flag with an Attachments email Filter Level (1-YES, 0-NO) address. 2 1 0

Appendix D From: ISABELLA GARBATO <isabeaug@epals.com> To: Fritts Candice cfritts@epals.com Date: 2010-Feb-21 14:05:22 Subject: epals Hi Candice, Thanks for your nice reply.Sorry if I haven't answered you before,but we were off from school


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for the Carnival break,so I met my students only yesterday.Now something about me:I teach English in a Middle School,in Rovigo,that's about 1 hour from Venice,Bologna,Verona and 2 hours from Florence.I've got 6 classes from 6th to 8th grade. Well,I generally do email projects and penpals with 7th and 8th graders,because they have more vocabulary and language structures,but I have a very nice and enthusiastic class of 6th graders,that I said "Why not?".So,here I am!They are about 21,but no matter about the number,because eventually we can match more than 1 student for some of mine. About email,if it's ok for you,we can set some simple topics as a starting point,everytime,and then students are free to develop these and add whatever they like.It's important they feel free in writing.As topics,there are many:personal info,family,hobbies,free time,likes and dislikes,daily routines,school,school subjects,meals,clothes,etc...just as an example.Only, they will not study the Past Simple for this year,but I'm here to assist them,just in case. I have experience in epals and penpals from other schools and apart from exchanging letters,I used to add some more:for example,we exchanged videos filmed with our students,where they spoke of themselves,introduced friends,showed our school and people,where they lived,etc...We sent photos(but they'll probably do it by email,themselves),and we even did a videoconference!It was fun.We have about+ 6hours,here in Italy.It wouldn't be a problem,because we can do it in the afternoon when the school is open.When here it's 4:00p.m.,it's 10:00 a.m for you.We also exchanged tourist brochures for posters of our towns.Anyway,these are just ideas about what we could do and how useful it is for learning more of our cultures in a simple and pleasant way.More ideas from you are also welcome! In general, I use an email for this purpose,as for example, this epals address and through it I send and deliver our students'messages in a group,so all the students will get or send their letters at the same time.I collect their emails at school on floppy,cd,pen drive,or,if they have not a pc,I scan the email and send it.This is because they can't use the Internet at school for safety reasons,but it is not a problem,as I do it from my pc and faster.This also solves the problem for those students who have not access to a pc(yes, there are still some)or have to use their parents' email,which I find demotivating..Later on, I can create their own accounts.Anyway,my function will only be to check if they have all replied and suggest topics or ideas.Though being a class project,they will be FREE to write whatever they want,add photos,drawing,etc... Well,I hope everything is ok with you.I'm sending the list with my students'info to match with yours.If you agree,your students can write first,with an introductory letter and then we'll reply.OK?This is the topic for this first letter.Send everything to my epals email. Well,I think it's about all for now,I hope to hear from you and your students soon. All the best Isabella From: Candice Fritts <cfritts@epals.com> To: ISABELLA GARBATO isabeaug@epals.com Date: 2010-Feb-23 18:03:01 Subject: Re: epals

Hi Isabella,


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I'm so happy to hear from you. I'm really excited for my students to get to know your students! I love your idea of free writing so that the students can share their cultures. I agree that the first topic should be a personal getting to know you topic. I can have my students write introductory letters first. In fact, I can probably have those ready to send by today. Since you have 21 students and I have 23, maybe it would be better for your students to pick their pen pals based on the interests that they learn about. (If this is not how you want to proceed let me know). I haven't done e-pals before this year, but I do have experience with video editing and I'm very excited about the possibility of video conferencing! Please look for our introductory e-mails soon. Sincerely, Candice P.S. Here is a little more about me personally: I am married a little over two years to my husband, Steve. We have a cat named Zeus. I help coach cross-country and track. I used to coach basketball, but I have been pursuing my masters and the time commitments were too much. I am finishing my masters in May. To celebrate my husband and I are traveling to Italy! I have always wanted to visit your beautiful country. I can't wait to learn things from what the students share! I love teaching 6th grade Social Studies, English and Literature. This is my 4th year teaching. I think I told you that my students live in Zionsville, Indiana which is just a few minutes outside of Indianapolis, our state's capital. I am looking forward to getting to know you and your class. Best wishes, Sincerely, Candice Appendix E Student e-mails From: Erik A <erika7@epals.com> To: smricc3328@epals.com Date: 2010-Apr-08 15:23:49 Subject: Spring Break

Caro Lorenzo, Come è stato il tuo Spring Break? Beh il mio era incredibile. Sono andato giù a sud a una località chiamata Sandestin. Ci sono andato in spiaggia, piscina e spa. Ho anche avuto modo di guidare su una linea di zip! La linea di cerniera era solo un cavo che andava a cento piedi su uno stagno. Lei è stato legato con una cintura per impedirti di cadere. E 'stata una esplosione. Si prega di scrivere di nuovo,


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Erik Axelson Dear Lorenzo, How was your Spring Break? Well mine was amazing. I went down south to a resort called Sandestin. There I went to the beach, pool and spa. I also got to ride on a zip line! The zip line was just a cable that went one-hundred feet up over a pond. You were strapped in a harness to keep you from falling. It was a blast. Please write back, Erik Axelson From: Jordan C <jordanc63@epals.com> To: Marco Puggina smricc9399@epals.com Date: 2010-Apr-21 15:25:12 Subject: My School Day

Hi Marco,

School is very fun for me right now because I am getting really good grades. At recess we play basketball a lot and we almost win every time. The teams are not unfair though. One of my friends scored 25 points the other day which is awesome. Tomorrow I think will be even better because I am going to try my hardest in basketball. So right back and tell me about your day. Appendix F


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Google Doc Survey


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Appendix G


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Appendix H

Appendix I


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I


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Appendix J


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Appendix K

J538 Practicum  

Masters final project

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