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Category Archives: EC&I832

Behavior Tracking Apps

October – November 2015

My teaching position is in a supportive learning environment classroom. In my classroom I have students who have significant behavior challenges and are on eIIPs.  Each term we are required to goal set with the students and collect data on how they are achieving their goals. Initially in the classroom we were tracking behavior data on an 11 x 17 sheet of paper and then transferring this information to other documents and calculating percentages from there. The information was then funneled into the student communication books which are transported back-and-forth so that their parents know how their day went. As a final step the information is also put into our anecdotal records so that our administrator can see any major incidents that happened during the day. Just as it sounds, it was very time consuming and redundant. Another concern was that it didn’t really provide any feedback for the parents in a clear way. This led me to another part of my major project. So for the month of October and into November I wanted to explore some apps to track student behavior in my classroom and utilize technology to make the process smoother but also find a way to communicate with parents. 

Initially I saw some reviews online of Behavior Tracker Pro and thought it would be a good fit for my classroom. When I went to download the app I noticed that there were several other app options and decided to choose two additional ones – Easy Behavior Tracker and Behavior Tracker.

Behavior Tracker Pro is by far the most expensive of the three apps and I hesitated purchasing it. It was my first choice app as it appeared to provide much of what I needed. It allowed me to take frequency and duration data. It also allowed me to take ABC data ( antecedent behavior consequence), high frequency behavior data and interval data.BTP

This app has the capability to insert a video of the child displaying the behaviour which may be helpful in a clinical situation but in a classroom situation we need to be careful about video taping our students.

I was excited to be able to graph the data which would make it easy for parents to understand but it became too complex with the amount of behaviours we were tracking.

This review highlights all of the capabilities of the app and I was sold on the ability to graph the data to show parents. Unfortunately it wasn’t ideal for our classroom. We ran into difficulties tracking the behaviour when multiple students were experiencing difficulty. We needed to be able to record instantly simultaneous things with different students. This app allows you to focus on one student at a time. I could see it being useful for clinical observations but not in a busy classroom.

The next app Behaviour Tracker that I downloaded actually met most of our needs but was outdated and had some glitches. There was no simple way to get app support as the developer appears to have moved on to other things. I was able to enter my student information and add a picture for quick access. I could also customize the behaviours I wanted to student list1 behaviourobserve. This app allowed me to take data quickly
on several students with a simple touch. I touched the student’s name / picture and a selection of behaviours appeared.

One really great things about this app is that it time and date stamps the behaviour so that you can identify patterns. There is an option to have a timer start when you select an observed beha
viour. This was a good thing in the beginning to track how long a student was ‘off task’ but the timer stays on the screen and doesn’t allow you to select anything else while it is going. This creates the same problem as the Behavior Tracker Pro as you can only focus on one student at a time or gives an inaccurate indication of time (1 second etc) because another behaviour or student was selected.

Behaviours

Another great feature of this app was the ability to indicate the teacher’s response to the behaviour (redirect, intervene etc). This gave me the opportunity to see if my responses were met with a behaviour correction or further off task behaviour.

This app has the ability to generate reports to email to parents but it is in a simple list format with the date and time. I found that this wasn’t very helpful.

 

The final app I explored briefly was the Easy Behavior Tracker. It was a mid priced app and would be beneficial to use in a high school or upper elementary. It was very easy to setup and user friendly however it is more for recording a single incident with a student. It didn’t have the specific capabilities that I needed for charting frequency of behaviours.EBT 3

After reviewing all of these and thinking about student privacy I began to question the use of any of these apps. What access do the developers have to the information? Can they only access information housed on their site or can the mine the app for data?

In order to get something that we could use in time for three way conferences a colleague developed an excel form and it generates graphs to share with parents. Simple and powerful.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2015 in EC&I832, Major Project

 

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Embracing Technology in the Classroom is NOT Enough

 

I h8583949219ave been spending a lot of time thinking about what i have learned in EC&I 832. One thing that stood out for me was realizing that I thought I was informed and in fact I knew very little. Digital literacy, Digital Citizenship and Social Media all look very different to me after 3 months.

Initially, I felt like I was doing a great job educating my students about being responsible on line by embracing technology and  simply transferring the character education I was doing in class to online behaviour. It is SO much more. Many of my colleagues still feel that they are educating their students by simply embracing technology, this is NOT enough.

It is so easy to say that “I use the Mimio, incorporate videos and devices in my lessons”. Moving beyond this is the challenge. In some cases our students know more about being online than we do. They are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Chat Rooms at home and on handheld devices. They are constantly connected and often begin the journey without realizing the digital footprint they are creating. They are growing up in a digital age. What they do and learn now will directly affect them in the future and the frightening part is that age online isn’t as apparent. Facebook policy is that no one under 13 years of age is allowed to sign up, yet I have had grade 2 students send me a friend request.  Parents think that this is a recommendation not a requirement and can lead to things that we want to protect our children from, like bullying but even more serious sextortion. Parents need to be part of the conversation about what their children are doing online but what role do educators have in it?

 

Technology is changing the definition of community we are no longer limited to our neighborhoods and places we can travel to be connected digital citizens can engage with groups that are local and groups that are not geographically connected simultaneously. We need to cultivate 21st century skills within our students and teach them how to manage these connections. The problem is if an educator is not willing to learn these skills themselves chances are the will not cultivate them. Educators need to also be learners.

Students are using digital media all of the time. The students in this video Youth and Digital Learning: Are Kids Different Because of Digital Media? students explain the shift in thinking with digital media. They also explain the disconnect with the generation before them (their parents and often their teachers).

It is critical that we move beyond becoming familiar with the following documents to effectively using them to guide our student’s learning.

Because many schools are shifting to BYOD policies and pushing for integrating more technology in the classroom students need to be able to effectively understand and examine their online activity. There are 5 Reasons You Should Be Teaching Digital Citizenship

  • The gap is growing
      • Most educators embrace new technology without fully understanding the consequences of implementing them Our. students will continue to use them whether or not they’re available at school so teaching them how to use them responsibly is important.
  • Digital footprints are easy to leave
      • Employers and colleges are using online digital footprints to screen potential employees and college admissions. Many students don’t think about what they post online and how it can effect them in the future.
  • It’s real life
      • Our students are accessing technology everywhere and it makes no sense to avoid giving them the opportunity to do it in a real authentic way in the classroom with guidance.
  • There’s a culture of multitasking
      • With increased connection and instant access to multiple things multi tasking or fragmented attention is growing we need to teach students how to regulate and sustain their attention.
  • Content curation is an emerging literacy
    • Students have access to information at all times they need to be taught how to carefully collect site and determine which information is reliable.

Educators need to step out of their comfort zones and work with students to access and connect responsibly. I have struggled with finding my voice in this blog and on Twitter BUT I now have a better understanding of what my students need because of it.

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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in EC&I832

 

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Don’t forget the heart

3643510503This post strays slightly from the posts for the class but I felt the need to reflect. The past week has been an incredibly emotional week. It is been difficult to find time to work on my major project or any additional work outside of my job. I found that I was on a roller coaster of ups and downs and realized that in fact my reading for the week tied into everything that was going on. Being educator is normally an emotional rollercoaster. I am with “my kids” during the week sometimes more than their parents are. It is difficult not to be moved by the children in my classroom. They come to school and share stories of what’s going on at home, other parts of their world, and with their friends. The openness and honesty of these children is sometime shocking. They will tell you why they didn’t eat a meal last night or why they have that bruise or even why they didn’t get much sleep last night.

So because I am an educator my job is emotionally challenging on a daily basis. Add to this the fact that I work daily with students who have behavioral challenges and /or medical diagnosis in addition to what other students may be experiencing. Although as a professional I know what happens during the day with my students is not a personal attack on myself it leaves a mark on me. If they are melting down, angry and unable to self regulate I may be the target of objects or unkind words. It reminds me of the story that I frequently use with my students. I will bring in a fence board perfectly smooth, beautiful and unmarked. Then I bring out the hammer and we talk about how the words we use or our actions impact others. Each time I hit the board with the hammer it leaves a mark. We never know the sensitivity of others and what those words might be that leave a mark. So we should always choose to treat each other with kindness and respect. 3515977739.png

This week my great uncle passed away. He was 97 years old and had lived a very full life. As I listen to the words that people were saying about him and how he impacted their life I began to wonder why do we only share this when someone is gone? Why do we choose to spread the gossip, mean, and nasty things about people? We see it daily on social media. From celebrities, to friends of friends and professionals in our community. Every mistake becomes a scandal and spreads like wild fire in seconds on the web. How different would the world be if we chose to let people know how they impacted your life or if we chose to use social media to spread those good things that happen on a daily basis?

As educators it’s a rare thing for us to know exactly how we impacted the lives of our students. We hope, at least I hope, that I’ve made a difference in the life of even one student in each class each year that I teach. They always say be careful what you ask for but in this case it wasn’t a bad thing. I ran into two former students who are siblings and I had the opportunity to teach both of them in grade 2. They were a few years apart and I taught the older brother first. As we were talking their dad was explaining some of the challenges they’ve had over the past few years in education. The older brother more so than the younger sister had experienced significant difficulties and was kicked out of two schools. I was shocked by this as it wasn’t the kid that I knew in grade 2. He was strong academically, was able to get along with others socially and was intrinsically driven. As I sat with him and talked a little bit about what was going on you could see the disappointment on his face. He told me “you were one of my favorite teachers and I know I’m not doing that good now”. I was faced with a moment of heartache sitting in the middle of a busy restaurant having a 15-year-old boy crying because he felt he disappointed his grade 2 teacher. I reminded him of all the wonderful things I see in him. The potential to do great things. The kindness and love that he shows for others and the support he still has from me. When I left him I made sure that he knew where to find me and that if there’s anything I could do to come and see me. He smiled and said thank you. There was no way I could know exactly how much what I thought of him meant to him.

I started thinking about every interaction we have with people. Whether it’s a hello on the street or honking crazily in the middle of traffic because someone is in a hurry or a “like” on social media. Each interaction is like a hammer on the wood and it leaves a mark. The depth of that mark and whether that mark changes the object to something more beautiful or something less appealing is up to us. I watched the Amanda Todd story and immediately became sad, angry and disappointed. This is a girl who made a mistake, who needed help in several different areas of her life and ultimately felt hopeless enough to take her own life. How many kids in our own class could potentially be in this situation? Our students need to not only be taught how to be good citizens in society but they need to be specifically taught how to be responsible online and just as importantly how to protect themselves and treat each other with respect online. Although Amanda Todd story was about sexploitation and harassment by someone she potential didn’t know there are instances that I know of where students have done this to other students in their school. As an educator and as it administrator what is our role and responsibility in a situation like this? What is the responsibility of the parents?

As my week came to a close I received a phone call from a former parent. (YES! an actual phone call not a text!) I had the opportunity to teach their youngest son and coach their oldest in the same year. It’s been at least two years and I have since moved schools. She called me to update me on how the kids were doing and talk about potentially inviting my husband and myself over for dinner one night. And then there was silence… The next thing I heard was the crack in her voice and I knew the tears were flowing down her face. As she began to speak and let me know that the real purpose of her call was to thank me for the impact I had on her youngest son. He has become her rock and her comfort. She didn’t speak a lot about academics at this point but she spoke about teaching her son to be a good person. Teaching him how to be respectful, kind, and not afraid to love.

I’m not sure that I can take credit for all of the things she gave me credit for but I do know that I impacted the life of that child. I am grateful that the parents took the time to let me know that it made a difference in his life and theirs. 4983443426

Consider the ways you interact with students, parents and strangers both online and offline… what mark are you leaving on them?

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in EC&I832, Uncategorized

 

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Near the End but Truly Just Beginning

We need a pedagogy free from fear and focused on the magic of children’s innate quest for information and understanding. — Sugata Mitra

The readings this week led me on a journey that took on a life of its own. So many ideas and thoughts swirling around in my mind. I have suspected for years that I am a visual / auditory learner (reading is not my forte) so I started with the videos.

I know I am a couple years behind on this idea but I feel as though my eyes have just been opened. Although our EC&I 832 course is not Massive (although it is larger than any Grad class I have taken), nor is it open for registration to anyone, the format is much like Dave Cormier discusses in his videos. I think it would have been helpful to have Dave Cormier’s video introduction about the Massive open online course (MOOC) before we started the class to give me an idea of how different it was going to be. I had taken an online class previously which does not even come close to resembling this course. In that course the assignments were given, readings were chosen and you completed your essay which was handed it in to the professor. The only feedback I received in that course was from the professor, there was no peer review or collaboration. So I had come into this class with the preconceived idea that this was going to be the same. I think if I would have seen this video at the beginning of this course my mindset would be different.

Dave Cormier states that we need 5 things to be successful in a MOOC.8620174342

  • Orient- get an idea of the content
  • Declare – make your presence known (Twitter, blogs etc)
  • Network – Interact with those that are also taking the same content
  • Cluster – Connect with those that share similar ideas and views
  • FocusContinue to be active, read and respond

It may be a little too late to back track now (I feel like I am still orienting and declaring) but at least I can finish the class out continuing to network, cluster and focus. (Thanks Katia for the feedback!)

I was interested in the idea of MOOCs and wanted to explore it further. I watched the Ted Talk Why massively open online courses (still) matter . When we look at access anyone with an internet access can participate. To put it into perspective Agarwal explained that “155,000 people enrolled – 7,200 passed the course” If he was “teaching at MIT 2 semesters every year” it would take him 40 years to teach this many students. It has opened the doors for large scale education. The idea of this leaves me wondering ….How would this work in an elementary school situation? Could it work in an elementary school situation?

As i was preparing to post a comment on Ashley’s blog Is There a Role for Schools in the Future? I realized that my comment was going to be part of my “blog confession”. Her post derailed my thinking as I was finding my way through the course readings and caused me to dig a little deeper to challenge my own perspectives. I am at the end of my course route in completing my MEd. and feel like I am just beginning my learning because of EC&I 832. My role as a teacher has changed over the last 10 years and in many ways I have failed to adapt with it. I embraced technology but have failed to follow through and keep up with the ways to guide student learning in the digital world. A course like this needs to be mandatory at the undergrad level (maybe it already is?) so that pre-service teachers aren’t afraid to allow learning to look a little different in their classroom (fear has always held me back) as well as do our students justice by teaching them to use their skills and access in a responsible way. I don’t think school will ever cease to exist but I do think that the way education is delivered most definitely has, will continue to and should.

I came across a tweet as I was composing this blog and it fit with what I was curious about. Sugata Mitra talks about the future of learning in his TED Talk and proposes we “Build a School in the Cloud”. He discusses the changes that have happened in the way we deliver education and the way we adapt it to meet the needs of society. He claims that traditional schooling is obsolete. Kids don’t need to have beautiful penmanship or know how to add numbers based on the jobs we have today. (I disagree to some extent with Mitra). But i do agree with the larger idea he presents about opening the borders of learning and giving students some freedom to direct their learning is important in changing the way we educate students in a digital world. He did some interesting “hole in the wall” experiments that are worth watching if you haven’t already.

A final thought … How would unschooling or open schooling or a school in the cloud work for students who have difficulty with executive functioning skills?

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in EC&I832

 

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Mindfulness and Digital Literacies

Digital Literacies, technology and media change over time…

In his Ted Talk David Belshaw believes we need to develop digital literacies in a more progressive way instead of a linear way. Moving away from the idea that we need to begin with basics and continue through to advanced skills. Belshaw also suggests that it is important that we use people’s interest to develop digital literacies. We can’t just throw them into something and expect them to figure it out. We need to focus on what he calls the “eight essential elements of digital literacies”.

Cultural –Cognitive – Constructive – Communicative – Confident – Creative – Critical –Civic

 

Professionalism in the Digital Environment’s Blog provides a good synopsis of Belshaw’s Digital literacies. I particularly like this blog entry because the author focuses on what the literacies mean to a student. The three literacies of that I feel I need to focus on are cognitive, communicative, and confident.I recognize that I need to work on the cognitive literacy as I need more experience in order to master the how to’s of different technologies platforms and devices. the communicative literacy has been the area that I’ve grown in the most in during this class. I used to only use Facebook and Twitter on a somewhat regular basis but I never focused on making connections and building a community. I didn’t think twice about the particular norms, values or protocols within each of those platforms until now. In the confident literacy I found that I shifted from being paranoid and worried about my digital footprint to taking charge and being responsible for my digital dossier. I want to create a positive footprint that shows who I am as a mother, a wife, a teacher and a human being.  I still have a long way to go and still struggle with feeling confident when using Twitter but continue to move outside my comfort zone.

Doug Bledshaw also feels we need to encourage people to remix ideas and move beyond mere “consumption” to creativity. I have operated in the “consumption” stage for most of my life within the digital realm. test scoreWhile in th
is consumption stage I have always claimed to be a master multitasker and been very proud of it.  The question that I now face is, with constant connectivity is it really multitasking or “fractured” attention?

I took a quick online test for fun that measures your ability to focus and filter distractions. Although my score indicates I am a high level multitasker, I must confess that it took everything that I had to force myself to concentrate and I even guessed at a few.

In his blog Why We Need to Teach Mindfulness in a Digital Age Aran Levasseur, a writer and teacher, states that “Students must also be mindful of how digital tools and perpetual web connectivity are shaping their brains, perceptions and habits.” The constant connectivity feeds the endorphins in the brain and when we “unplug” the brain craves the next “high”. The New York Times talks about this as the “dopamine” squirt. The constant dings of your device with text messages, email and updates alerts trigger it in your brain.(Sometimes panic if it is related to deadlines!)

So how 3363073562do we teach our students about digital literacies and mindfulness? After all Levasseur has a point when he says that “ If schools hope to prepare students for our hyper-connected world, it reasons that training students to be proficient with digital tools is only part of the equation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important note: I picked up my cell phone at least 30 times to look at updates, texts and social media while writing this blog.
See if you can keep track of how many times you reach for a device to trigger that “high” when doing something else?

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in EC&I832

 

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From Fear to Empowerment

I continue to be intrigued with how the digital identity is formed. I began this class really understanding very little about my digital footprint and in all honesty not caring much. As the journey continued I felt fear. As with most fear it was fueled by the unknown. I was growing more and more concerned with what was available online that may reflect negatively on me. I have had a shift happen over the last week or so moving from fear to empowerment. I now recognize that I need to manage my digital footprint and increase the positive aspects so that as I pursue a career as an administrator I have a strong positive online presence.

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TFMCNetCasting via Compfight cc

The article Teachers, Take Care Of Your Digital Footprint suggests that it is easy to manage my digital footprint… So how does one do that?

  • Google yourself so that you know what is out there and use variations on your name.
  • Brand yourself by using the same name over multiple platforms and try to make it unique if your name is fairly common.
  • Get a space of your own to create the positive digital footprint you want. This may be a Twitter or a blog account.
  • Stay on top of things by signing up for google alerts (I am not sure how to do this or how effective it would be).

This week I was thinking about all of the discussions at school about Facebook and the items some students were posting. I recognize the urgency to teach students how to manage their footprint responsibly. Just look at the impact it had on the young man in this video.

I wholeheartedly agree with my classmate Amy Scuka in her blog post Viewing Critically, Posting Thoughtfully that we need to model “positive digital footprints for students” and show “them the good that can come from social media”. She included picture of a poster to remind us to think before we post and it made me think of this video “5 Ways to Make a Positive Digital Footprint” that could be used for middle years. It was a quick reminder about creating a positive digital footprint. It is similar to the philosophy that Addictions counsellor Rand Teed asks students when they are in a position to make a choice on how they respond to something.  Is what you are thinking true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind? It also applies to how we respond online in a more critical way because once we post it, it is seem by hundreds of people instantaneously.

This is another video that was created by High School educators that explored how to create and manage a positive digital footprint. It is a great resource to share with senior elementary and high school students. I forwarded it on to the staff in my school to share with their students. It made me rethink (again) what I have posted online and what others have posted. In this same video Dann Hurlbert encourages us to take control of our footprint so that when people do a search for you online it shows the positive rather than negative and it “increases your marketability and reveals a responsible and respectful personal life”.

 

“If you aren’t controlling who you are online, some else is or will.” Steven W. Anderson

 

How do you manage your digital footprint?

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2015 in EC&I832

 

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What will you leave behind?

When thinking about a digital footprint the evolution of technology has increased the capability to create it on a massive scale. We post, tweet and Instagram constantly and each action forms a part of our online identity.

foot print

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My footprint …

The Fragmented Educator makes a lot of sense and helps explain what I have been feeling … Acceptable identity fragment. Although my participation in social media has been authentic it is certainly within a constraint of what I feel is “acceptable” to my audience. I am very mindful of not venting about my role as an educator on social media. Because social media (primarily Facebook for me) keeps record of everything I have shared and uses its algorithms to bend my identity and determine what my audience sees, can I ever be completely authentic?

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“Furthermore, when you have no idea how you are being made to appear to your ffriends, you are hardly the author of your identity. If Facebook continues to apply filtering algorithms based on invisible criteria, you will never be more than the co-author of your identity”

Our children…

More and more parents are creating their child’s digital footprint before they even enter the world. The sonograms are on Facebook or flooding the Twitter feed. I have friends on both sides of the extreme for their own reasons. One set of parents have thousands of photos with a continuous narrative of their child on Instagram. They want to share with family that live a significant distance away. On the opposite side of the scale one of my relatives asked that there was no mention on social media of her pregnancy. She did not post and in fact waited until a few days after to post an announcement. Both valid and very personal reasons.

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The article Digital Birth: Welcome to the Online World cautions us about how much we are sharing about our children. “First, you are creating a digital history for a human being that will follow him or her for the rest of their life. What kind of footprint do you actually want to start for your child, and what will they think about the information you’ve uploaded in future?” Once it is online, even though you think you remove or delete it, it still remains.

As educators …

When we post online it is important to remember that we are held to a high moral standard. Furthermore, as educators in a Faith-Based school this level is raised significantly. There are so many people trolling looking for the next piece of gossip or phrase to misconstrue.

Do educators have freedom to post whatever they want on their Facebook or Twitter account without it reflecting poorly on the institution?

Social media is over run with drama and bad decisions. The special education teacher that posted her student was a “hot mess” clearly felt that she could post freely. We need to remember that “The simplest thing, though, for teachers (and anyone else, for that matter) to learn is that Facebook and other parts of the Web are really the local town crier”. So what are the ethical considerations of online behavior as an educator?

Our students…

As indicated in Media Smarts Young Canadians in a Wired World kids today have online access in multiple platforms on devices that are usually portable. This means wherever they go they are connected.

The study indicated that girls are more likely to have online rules than boys. This got me thinking about my own children. They have both been very connected from a young age. Unlike the study says though they had the same online rules for the computer but I must admit that I was way more flexible with my son playing online with a gaming console however I don’t believe this was a gender thing. But what about other households?

When we consider that this study found that seven of the most popular websites are those that you can “post and share information and content” it is imperative that we teach students digital literacy skills. They need to “understand privacy, digital permanence, ethical decision making and protecting personal information”.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in EC&I832

 

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