The first round of applications are in for the 8th annual Microsoft Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum and we are pleased to officially announce the first group of educators invited to attend the Forum this summer in Redmond! This year we received an unprecedented number of early applications, four times more than we’ve received at the same time last year, a testament to the innovation happening in classrooms across the U.S. The final deadline for educators to apply is May 15th, so there is still time!
The Partners in Learning US Forum is part of a global educator recognition program that last year attracted over 250,000 educators from 75 countries. The intent of the Forum is to showcase innovative teaching practices happening in K-12 classrooms inspired by the effective use of technology with the goal of positively impacting student learning.
Finalists from the US Forum will advance to the Partners in Learning Global Forum in Athens, Greece. The group of educators below applied to be considered in the first round of applications for the US Forum and rose above their peers with a combination of thoughtful pedagogy coupled with an effective use of technology to advance student learning.
We are excited to share this initial group of 44 educators representing 32 projects across the K-12 spectrum from 15 states.
Educators can still apply before the May 15th deadline and the final 2012 US Forum cohort will be announced on June 1st. Each of these educators will be invited to attend a 2-day professional learning forum on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA (July 31- Aug 1).
Congratulations to these educators, their schools and most of all their students who are the beneficiaries of their thoughtful teaching!
Kelli Etheredge & Marty Lester, St. Paul’s Episcopal School (Mobile)
Project: Professional Development for the 21st Century
St. Paul’s professional development program instills motivation and passion in educators and trains them to engage, inspire, and prepare students for their future. St. Paul’s encourages teachers to create lessons that utilize the best practices of lesson design and effectively integrate technology. Additionally, the administrative team reframed our mission into the St. Paul’s Standard and designed a progression model that measures the success of our educators. Our plan achieves the following objectives: (1) provide faculty with common language regarding best practices & innovative lesson design; (2) offer professional development opportunities meeting the varied needs of the faculty; (3) create team building opportunities for faculty at the school, department, and division level; (4) measure the progress of faculty through 1:1 progression model meetings and with Partners in Learning School Research Tool; and (5) celebrate the innovation of teachers and students through Teaching and Learning Showcases. The professional development program integrates the effective use of a diverse array of technologies including Microsoft Office, OneNote, Office Web Apps, Kodu, Movie Maker, Worldwide Telescope, AutoCollage and more.
Daphne Bradford & Jacqueline Lopez Crenshaw, High School (Los Angeles)
Project: Gaming for STEM & Health
In an effort to engage students in biology, students were tasked with designing a simple Xbox Kinect Game to educate kids, parents and K-12 school districts about the importance of healthy eating and exercise to help fight the global childhood obesity epidemic and Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, often called non-insulin dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 90% – 95% of the 21 million people with diabetes. The game illustrates what happens when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin and glucose (sugar) can’t get into the body’s cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, the body’s cells are not able to function properly. The project included student-led game development for the Kinect using the Kinect SDK, Visual Studio, Silverlight, in addition to Microsoft Office tools in the planning and development process.
Gail Desler, Technology Integration Specialist, La Paz Middle School & Natalie Bernasconi, English/Language Arts, Elk Grove Unified School District (Elk Grove)
Project: Digital iD – Citizenship in the 21st Century
The Digital iD project and wiki (digital-id.wikispaces.com) to incite students to become active, ethical and contributing digital citizens. The project responds to both state and federal legal imperatives and the Common Core State Standards mandate to teach the 21st century digital skills all students need to be truly college and career ready. The Digital iD focus is 4-fold. The first focus- Stepping Up, a call to social action- is the driving force behind the project. We are committed to empowering students by providing them with the tools and strategies they need to step out onto the Internet, while also ensuring that they understand the need to build and maintain a positive digital footprint, to respect intellectual property boundaries, and to protect their privacy and developing this through a collaborative effort. The project used a number of Web 2.0 technologies in developing and promoting the Digital iD project, Microsoft tools are integrated throughout, including Microsoft’s Digital Citizenship and Creative Content curriculum, as well as supplementary activities utilizing PowerPoint, Word, Movie Maker, and Photo Story.
Jennifer Hogan, Visual and Performing Arts/Photography, Henry M. Gunn High School (Palo Alto)
Project: Transitioning Still Images to Moving Pictures: Creating Movies with Meaning
As technology continues to expand in the photographic realm many manufacturers are including HD video capture as a feature of traditional DLSR cameras.This is a natural progression, as moving pictures are an extension of the still capture. This project is formulated to gain a knowledge of the techniques and experience of creating moving pictures from a still foundation. Building on our knowledge of photographic composition, lighting, and concept we will use our skills of communication to transition from a still image to capturing a visual narrative in motion. Microsoft Excel was used to aid in project management and sharing of ideas, Windows Live Movie Maker for editing movies and Songsmith.
Angela Sveda, Ralston Middle School (Belmont)
Project: The Storytech Course
The Storytech Course is where storytelling meets technology! In this trimester elective, students solve real-world problems through digital storytelling. They learn about world issues and then work to improve them by reinterpreting stories with the free, software platforms of Windows Movie Maker, Kodu, Scratch, and Alice. In doing so, they improve their narrative, technical, global, and environmental literacy skills as they turn stories into movies, 3D video games, 2D video games, and 3D animations. Storytech represents a synthesis of Common Core English-Language Arts standards, ISTEs NET*S, and 21st Century Learning Skills. It is designed to be effective, fun, and above-all -reproducible.
Gregg Witkin, Digital Media, Boynton Continuation High School (Palo Alto)
Project: Finding Your Voice
Students work with a selection of technology to create youth media that has a purpose for social change. Students are able to create documentary films, animations, music videos graphics and/or audio stories, but with the caveat that it must be about a topic that is both important to them and a vehicle for social change. Students used Bing for research and developed their stories in Microsoft Word, organized their time in Excel and presented their ideas in PowerPoint.
Cheryl Arnett & Melany Neton, Sunset Elementary School (Craig)
Project: Lets Go To Disneyland!
First and second graders researched, planned, and traveled to Disneyland, using an Xbox 360 Kinect. The project was organized on a OneNote Web document in SkyDrive in a series of student-determined tasks to be completed by collaborative teams. Tasks included locating Disneyland on a map, deciding when and how to travel, where to stay, what to take, calculating the cost, and how long they would need to save for the trip. Learning addressed educational standards including math, literacy, geography, collaboration, research, and personal financial literacy, as well as ISTE standards in critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making, research, and information fluency. Following the research and planning, students used the Kinect game Disneyland Adventures to take the virtual trip, giving the children a chance to explore the theme park using their bodies to navigate. Students kept a journal of their imaginative experience and created brochures and post cards to send to family and friends.
Neil Pollard & Karie Green, High Tech Early College (Denver)
Project: I2P – Idea 2 Product
Business students participate in an intensive entrepreneurship project in which they generate product ideas, perform business research and budgeting activities, create a business plan, and eventually produce and sell their products. Students develop 21st century and entrepreneurial skills by managing the collaborative business development process through a personal website. At any time, anyone in the world can see how the I2P business development process is progressing at HTEC. The element of student choice is at the forefront of the I2P Project helping to engage students ensuring a culturally relevant learning experience. Students search for a gap in the market within an industry they are drawn to and proceed to fill that gap. Gone are the days of learning business concepts out of a textbook; students are learning business concepts by developing a successful business. Throughout the project in this 1:1 school students use Microsoft OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel, Word and Skype.
James Bell & Denise Spence, Dunbar High School (Fort Meyer)
Project: Kinect-the-Dots Motion Capture for 3D Character Animation
Students in Dunbar High Schools Academy for Game Design and Programming Excellence are creating complex video games that enable the educator to teach a variety of higher order thinking skills, such as, strategic thinking, interpretive analysis, problem solving, plan formulation and project execution. This project’s innovation is how the use of Xbox Kinect has helped students to connect the dots with respect to how to bridge the gap between real-life movement and computer generated movement. As a unique and innovative part of the program, the students are able to utilize the Kinect system to solve the problem of creating 3D real time character animation without the major complexities involved in time lining the events. Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to earn industry certifications such as Microsoft Office Specialist: Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, Autodesk Certified Associate: 3DS Max, and Adobe Certified Associate: Photoshop and Flash.
Randy Lavery, U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School (Palm Beach)
Project: Germs, Germs, Everywhere!
Students worked together to create Microsoft PowerPoint and Photo Story 3 multi-media projects about topics that affect them at home and school. The final products were videos and poster/fliers to post around campus. All students in the class now have a greater understanding of how they can stay healthier and reduce the spread of germs. The final videos will be shown to the school and posters placed around campus to educate the whole school.
Todd LaVogue, Roosevelt Community Middle School (Palm Beach)
Project: What’s Up Egypt?
In order to help his students gain a better understanding of life in ancient Egypt, Todd LaVogue had his students create a TV show about ancient Egypt. Using Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer and video editing software, his students researched and created a Today Show style news program with news, weather, sports, cooking, lifestyle, historical, music segments. Students were able to compare and contrast ancient Egypt with today’s society very well. In the end, they had a better understanding of what it would have been like to have lived during that time.
Andy Goldstein, Omni Middle School (Palm Beach)
Students become inventors! All inventions begin with a dream, and students create inventions by taking a leap into imagination. For this project, students used Microsoft Word and Windows Movie Maker to explore their imaginations and to encourage team work through collaboration. These tools also helped achieve a highly skilled finished product; the end results being the completed videos that are published to the classroom blog at http://weblogs.pbspaces.com/mrgoldstein/. This project was helpful to gently encourage students to stretch their imaginations, yet to have discipline in completing each step of the design process.
Jamie Worrall, Christa McAuliffe Middle School (Palm Beach)
Project: 21st Century Technology + Creativity = Students’ Deepened Knowledge of Abstract Algebraic Concepts
Microsoft’s PhotoStory3, PowerPoint and Word were the driving force behind these middle school student products that produced a deepened knowledge about the abstract algebraic concept of functions and relations. Through this project, students took ownership of recognizing the difference between discrete and continuous data, domain and range, and learned how to flow effortlessly between the four representations of algebraic data (graphs, tables, equations and words).Their goal, through digital photography, smartphone technology, and the use of various software and hardware products, was to create a PhotoStory3 slideshow that explained these difficult concepts in an entertaining yet educational way so that other middle school students could make sense of the abstract material.Their products were then shared with lower level 8th grade students to help them solidify these concepts in their own minds in preparation for the end-of-year state math exam.
Lisa Perez, Dept. of Instructional Tools & Technology, Chicago Public Schools (Chicago)
Project: CPS KINECT
CPS KINECT is a project that involves nine Chicago Public Schools sites in the use of XBox 360 Kinect across the curriculum. Teachers have used the system to introduce gaming in the language arts, mathematics, physical education, special education, and extra-curricular learning. In this highly successful program, students are motivated and engaged in learning due to the gaming approach to learning. Schools have shared their learning via photos, video and blog posts. Our wiki (http://cpskinect.wikispaces.com) showcases the work of our students via our blog (http://cpskinect.wordpress.com), teachers report on the work of their students and comments of colleagues.
Rodrigo Anadon, Penn High School (Mishawaka)
Project: STEM Gaming Challenge
By using video game development to tackle a problem in STEM, secondary students generate software that is fun, engaging, and educational using software development tools. Students have the option of using Visual Studio, Visual Basic, C++, C# (with the XNA Framework), or a different programming environment to generate a video game that can be incorporated in classes of STEM or other disciplines to engage students in learning. Student-lead teams of four allow for the challenge to incorporate competition, collaboration, and computation among students. Each team consists of a team leader, lead programmer, lead digital artist, and lead audio engineer. Each role must be filled by each student. At the end of the program development cycle, teams will present their STEM game to the class and present their experience in the process.
Don Wettrick, Franklin Community High School (Franklin)
Project: Skype, Camera, Action!
Skype, Camera, Action! is a class project for an advanced broadcasting class. Over the past three years the project has evolved into a state-wide film festival. Collaborating with other teachers, a film festival was started to showcase the top fifteen films from this project every March. The project involves inquiry-based topics that revolve around the theme of passion for this year’s festival. Students must research, interview, shoot and edit a fifteen to twenty minute documentary. The project requires significant time outside of school to complete, but many students make valuable contacts and gain real world knowledge as they complete the documentary. The top films then are showcased for the public to see at a local historic movie theater.
Meghan Bottom, Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary School (Lexington)
Project: A Flipped Geometry Classroom: Using SkyDrive to Tier, Differentiate, and Assess while Promoting Student-Centered Learning
New avenues are opened for students by creating a flipped math classroom using a content driven database of Internet resources on Windows Live SkyDrive. By having students view mini-lesson videos at home, class time can be spent participating in interactive, tiered learning involving watching videos, learning songs, playing games, taking practice quizzes, and solving real-world problems either independently or with others at their level. Each child is given an entry slip which determines the appropriate starting level of instruction for the day. Students may re-test during class to move to the next tier of challenges once they are ready. An exit slip is used as the final measurement of academic growth at the end of class. Lessons may span over a few days depending on student needs. Content knowledge is then used to solve complex, authentic tasks and create products to demonstrate mastery of the material.
Ellen Krich and Ethel Bouloubassis, Roland Park Country School (Baltimore)
Project: Thinking Outside the Classroom Box: Delivering English Instruction Using Twenty-First Century Bubble Wrap
Visual and auditory learners; learners with executive function challenges; learners who struggle with reading comprehension, abstract ideas and short term memory; out of the box thinkers Wait, actually ALL students benefit from 21st century bubble wrap (cutting-edge technology) packaging basic English skills instruction. This interactive presentation will help participants rev up instruction through the use of exhilarating technology and resources that empower classroom learners of all types. Students use a combination of OneNote, Movie Maker, SharePoint, Skype and Microsoft Office.
Nancy Ale & Michelle Lipson, Earle B. Wood Middle School (Rockville)
Project: Environmental Stewardship
Students research the state of Chesapeake Bay oyster depletion due to pollution. This issue has relevance to Montgomery County students due to their familiarity with the Chesapeake Bay through science and history instruction, recreational use, and as a food resource. Concurrent instruction with science course work allows for a greater depth of Chesapeake Bay ecology. Students use Microsoft Office suite tools to support this specific issue of Chesapeake Bay Oyster depletion. Using information from print, audio and video research students use higher order thinking to determine which strategies for renewal of oyster population have the greatest potential for impact on the Bay. Students develop a multimedia presentation public service announcement to inform the local community and government of the current status of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. As a capstone to classroom activities, students participated in creating Oyster Reef Balls, a technology being used to promote oyster growth.
David Squires, Oak Valley Middle School (Commerce Twp)
Project: Solving Unemployment
The overarching objective of the project is to achieve the impossible: solve unemployment. Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are all fostered as students work with each other, their teacher, and their community while they immerse themselves into a problem that deeply affects their lives. Students build 21st Century Skills while intensively drawing on content from their core academic classes. Data analysis, economics, presentation skills, effective communication and many other content standards are incorporated throughout the duration of this semester-long quest to better the community collaborating centrally through Microsoft OneNote as well as using OneNote to create audio and video recordings of scenes of the literature and to create study guides.
Christina Jenkins & Francesca Fay, NYC iSchool (New York City)
#Disastercamp asks high school students to design creative solutions for disaster response. Inspired by the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup Emergency Response and Crowd Sourcing challenge, this course investigates the extent to which natural disasters are ever natural and looks to design as a methodology for creative problem solving. In this course, participants engage with each step of the design process as they move toward a final concept that leverages social media and other tools to improve communication and coordination for disaster relief.
Julie Conn, Sugarloaf Elementary (Hendersonville)
Project: Voices of Autism: Igniting Communication through Technology
It is well documented that effective instructional methods to improve communication of children with autism (and other disabilities) include written prompts and pictorial cues, video feedback, and self-modeling of social behaviors and conversational skills. This PhotoStory-based project presents an exceptional tool to combine these effective instructional methods and students strengths to produce a powerful joint activity communication lesson. Posting student photo stories on a class web page and observing students with disabilities eagerly acquiring the independent skills to navigate to the website to repeatedly watch the photo stories demonstrates the increased levels of engagement. Affording parents instant access to hearing their child read, view projects and events has impacted their visions for their child. PhotoStory is aptly suited for children with autism and other disabilities, easy to use and produces a powerful output: voice.
Young Kim, High School of the Future (Philadelphia)
Project: Van Gogh: Kinesthetic Mark-making
Van Gogh was a brilliant artist with a unique painting technique. To appreciate his work, students need to have an awareness of the mark-making process in art. In previous Van Gogh projects, drawing with oil pastels on paper with short repetitive marks were to emulate the brush strokes. The Kinect is a great tool to engage students in activating the body motion possibly used by Van Gogh to create his paintings. The kinesthetic mark-making Van Gogh digital painting project is the culminating experience of appreciating a museum artifact. Students analyzed qualitative similarities and differences of seeing a Van Gogh painting on a poster to the actual artifact in a museum and then visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art to learn about Van Gogh while viewing original paintings. Back in the classroom, they created digital paintings by kinesthetically painting with the Xbox 360 Kinect and KinectPaint.
Peter Sigmund and Braden Bonner, La Salle College High School (Wyndmoor)
Project: Lab Manager Program
Calling on deep experience coaching the crew team, this project creates a team approach with the ultimate goal to “win the race” in the classroom. There are “tryouts” to entice through friendly competition and those tryouts include Microsoft certifications that students can get through the school’s Microsoft IT Academy, in addition to participating in interviews and seeking recommendations. The lab manager program is a unique technology team at La Salle College High School. Every year 50+ applications are submitted to join the team of the top tech students in the school. The program gives La Salle students the chance to gain hands on experience running a real network. Students have the chance to gain true experiential learning. This is not a printer help desk. Some of our senior lab managers become Domain Administrators with the same rights as the school network administrators gaining valuable real-world experience and preparation for life after high school.
Pamela Volakis, West Allegheny High School (Imperial)
Project: Shapes, Letters, and Numbers; XNA Games for the next generation
As enrollment in computer science classes declined this project introduced a new approach to teaching traditional programming concepts combining critical thinking, creativity and business thinking. Prompted by student use of computer gaming, this concept was incorporated into the computer science curriculum. Students worked directly with Preschool and Life Skills teachers to join forces by creating games to teach preschool and life skills students specific skills through student-developed games. Programming students observed and worked with students as “customers” in the preschool and life skills classes. Collaborating increased student communication skills and enabled students to design games meaningful for the preschoolers and other students using Visual Studio, XNA Game Studio and Xbox 360.
Joli Barker, Slaughter Elementary (McKinney)
Project: XBOX 360: the iConnect Project
Using Kodu gaming, gaming vernacular and concepts, 2nd grade students utilized ePals, Edmodo, Skype, and Microsoft Office, PhotoStory, Skype, and Xbox 360 to participate in a global literary book study and multimedia festival. The class connected with over 8 classrooms across the world who read the Magic Tree House books with us and participated in creating multimedia reports and Kodu games to extend and express their learning. When the book series took us to a new country, the classroom from which the book was set “hosted” the Q&A for that book via Skype. The overall result was an extraordinary literary experience that transcended reading comprehension into a cultural study and a global connection that far surpassed the original goal.
Stephen Biscotte. Cave Spring High School (Roanoke)
Project: PIT Crew: Physiologists in Training Program
The PIT Crew: Physiologists In Training Program pairs senior Anatomy and Physiology students with community experts in the field to conduct real-world exercise physiology research through a combination of in-person and Skype conversations. The students explore current literature in online databases and fitness magazines based on their personal interests, design exercise physiology “clinical trials”and with the guidance of exercise physiologists from a local health sciences college, gather data, analyze the data, and develop conclusions that build on the course’s content, specifically the musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems. Students use Vernier data collection sensors (e.g. HR, BP, EKG) to gather baseline fitness data on freshmen PE student classes. Next, they explore their research question (e.g. “fitness demands of Zumba with a DVD and Zumba with Xbox Kinect and their effects on heart rate and BP”) and analyze and share their data in Excel. Students present their findings in a poster session judged by the healthcare professionals.
Kimberly Rouse & Martha Potts, Newton-Lee Elementary (Ashburn)
Project: Through Many Lenses
Students from two different states join together on a journey through the American Civil War using a flipped classroom model. Utilizing primary and secondary sources, students gain multiple perspectives on the war. Students learn through inquiry-based lessons how the Civil War affected different groups: the government, soldiers, generals, people living in the North or South, slaves, and many more. The primary and secondary resources add a sense of authenticity to the lessons and allow the students to use evidence to support historical ideas they formulate throughout the lessons. Students examine and evaluate the primary and secondary resources for historical context in relation to war. By taking on a flipped classroom approach, our inquiry-based lessons garner more motivation, discussion time, Skype time, hands-on learning time, and engagement with students. Monique Howley from Newton-Lee Elementary and Kristy Woods from Stahl Elementary in San Antonio, Texas were also instrumental collaborators in this project.
Michael Braun, Rainer Beach High School (Seattle)
Project: Exploration of Computer Science on Smartphones
In collaboration with Rainier Beach High School, Southshore Middle School, Seattle Public Schools, and Microsoft TEALS, our class is designed to teach students app programming. By using Windows Phones and the Windows Phone SDK students learn how to create apps for a phone with TouchDevelop. There are no separate PCs in this course. Students develop scripts to perform various tasks similar to regular apps. Students use TouchDevelop to install, run, edit, and publish scripts.
Jamie Ewing, Mount View Elementary (Seattle)
Project: Science in the Sky and Our Backyards: A Virtual Science Fair
Students begin by exploring Earth Systems and brainstorm in small groups to create earth systems based science experiments. While designing each experiment, student groups build all the tools necessary to complete science experiments. Finished experiments will be presented in a virtual world instead of the normal science fair model. 5th grade students will build videos using Movie Maker or digital presentations in PowerPoint stored on a Windows Live SkyDrive so that they can bring their ideas to other school around the globe. Students will build video game presentations in Scratch that are interactive as well as informative. Once data is collected and experiments are finished, groups will bring their findings to the local community in the form of an ecology project to help take our findings and use them to build a better community. Community interactions will be in person but also using Skype to connect our students to community leaders.
Jac de Haan, Westside School (Seattle)
Project: BATTLESHIP!: Excel Edition
In looking for a way to introduce the power and flexibility of Microsoft Excel, its important to recognize that students enter 6th grade with a variety of personal & academic technology experiences. Battleship: Excel Edition is a collaborative & creative opportunity for students to play while learning to manipulate cells & data – engaging critical thinking, logic, and strategy. In the process of building & playing a two-player game, students: build a common vocabulary of Excel components & functions coach each other towards skill development troubleshoot formula & reference errors in small teams gain experience with data entry & coordinates engage mathematical concept of if/then statements design & apply their own enhancements to a basic structure By turning a spreadsheet into a game, we open creative possibilities for exploration beyond numbers & data, and engage even a seasoned Excel user. Students work together to ensure that everyone has the skills required to enjoy friendly competition.
Robin Lowell & Sherry Hahn, Washington State School for the Blind (Vancouver)
Project: Accessible Distance Learning of Mathematics for Blind and Visually Impaired High School Students
Our project addresses the underserved population of Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) K-12 mathematics students. The vast majority of BVI students struggle in mathematics because traditional methods used in mainstream education are ineffective due to their unique accessibility needs. At the Washington State School for the Blind, we developed an accessible virtual classroom built on Microsoft technology that addresses this problem. Using Microsoft Lync video conferencing, a qualified math teacher instructs her class in an online meeting accessible to any student with an internet connection, as well as our residential students in a physical classroom. The examples she creates on the Lync whiteboard are transmitted to the students Assistive Technology devices called Braille Displays, which allows them to see the work. Accessibility features built into Windows and Lync enables student and teacher to easily transfer files, instant message, and share desktops and programs for 1:1 instruction.
An excellent group of projects and educators and I look forward to learning more about their work in Redmond this summer. Congratulations to each one of them.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, related ideas or other inspiration these projects may have sparked by commenting below. In the end, the hope is that these projects, and the Forum overall, inspire other educators to try something in their classrooms and continue to spark innovative teaching and learning through the education community.
The final deadline to apply to the 2012 US Forum is May 15th, we look forward to hearing what you’re doing in the classroom.
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