ERAC Update October 2012
ERAC Update is ERAC's newsletter, published once a month, online, during
the school year. This newsletter offers readers a monthly view of ERAC's news, services
View previous editions.
As a benefit of membership, when you go to our homepage
you will automatically receive this newsletter and have access to member-only information.
Don't miss out on pertinent information that affects you!
In this issue you'll find:
...and so much more!
New For You
Learn About Earth, Space and French all with EduReference
Two resources through
EduReference have recently received positive evaluations from ERAC;
Universalis Junior French Online Reference Centre and Pebble Go
Interactive database. Universalis Junior is a French online
database allowing students to develop their research skills while
learning the language. With an intuitive interface and access to
2,500 encyclopedia articles, this resource is perfect for homework
and projects. Pebble Go is a great reference resource for
elementary students and features engaging photos, video and audio
clips providing information on Earth and Space and over 225
animals. A free trial for both of these is available until December
15, 2012. Sign in to get the full product review for
Universalis Junior and
Pebble Go. This special
discounted short-term offer expires December 31, 2012 so don't
1000’s of Books Available Through Learning A-Z
Want easy access to books? Now through Learning A-Z, two
resources are available on a short-term offer and include Reading
A-Z and Raz-Kids. Reading A-Z is a comprehensive and affordable
collection of over 3,000 printable books with lessons and new books
added monthly. Raz-Kids features hundreds of online books with
quizzes to be done at home or school, at their own pace. Students
can even record their own reading! Check out the full product
Reading A-Z. Find out more about this ERAC
special discounted short-term offer before it expires on
November 30, 2012.
Implementation Support for E Desktop Solution
As part of the ERAC/Microsoft E Desktop Agreement signed
in April of 2012, Microsoft Canada committed to providing
participating Districts with a series of Technology Briefings and a
single 2-Day Technical Deployment Workshop to support
implementation of the E Desktop Solution. We would appreciate
your input into the topics that should be covered at these events.
Microsoft Technology Briefings will be 3-hour sessions
on topics identified by ERAC members and will include project best
practices from member Districts with experience in the subject
area. They will be geared to the needs of IT managers and
technicians. The Two-Day Technical Deployment Workshop will be a 2
day deep dive technical workshop for ERAC members designed to
provide information that will facilitate deployment of the
technologies that are part of the E Desktop licensing
agreement. The workshop is intended for IT technicians and
will cover product deployment information, tips and best
practices. To complete a brief survey on the best topics and
times for these Microsoft training events,
Made the Grade
Check out ERAC's Online Resource
Collection to find out what's new. Click on the titles to go to the evaluation.
Log in and see the full product review from your peers!
Wahkohtowin: The Relationship between Cree People and Natural
Law||BearPaw Media Productions|
Health & Career Education grades 5-9, Planning 10,
Social Studies grade 12.
This video resource introduces students to some of the cultural
beliefs of the Cree people. It shares Cree perspectives and beliefs
on Natural Law (similar to Restorative Justice), and helps students
gain a deeper understanding of the Cree people and other Aboriginal
peoples in Canada.
Going Wild! Natural Law for Kids
|BearPaw Media Productions|
Health & Career Education grades 4-7, Planning 10,
Social Studies grades 4-7, Social Studies (BC First Nations
Studies) grade 12
Going Wild! is a video resource that helps students understand
the value of nature and learn values such as sharing, caring, and
kindness. An introduction to Aboriginal Natural Law, it helps
students gain an understanding of the importance of working
together and having respect for nature. Students in the video
become aware of the effects of their decisions on themselves and
Fighting Chance: A Young Offender's Journey Through the Justice
System||BearPaw Media Productions|
Health & Career Education grades 6-9, Arts Education
(Visual Arts) grade 7, Planning 10, Drama (Film & TV) grades
11-12, Visual Arts grades 11-12
Fighting Chance is an effective and engaging animated film that
provides the opportunity for students to develop understanding of
personal responsibility. It encourages students to become informed
decision makers and to develop their understanding of at-risk youth
and gangs, how to break the cycle, and take responsibility for
Identity||BearPaw Media Productions|
Social Studies grades 4-8, Social Studies 12 (BC First
Nations Studies, Comparative Civilizations, Social
Identity is a video resource that promotes increased
understanding of Aboriginal communities in Canada, specifically the
Blackfoot, Cree, Dene and Metis. Elders of various communities
share their knowledge and culture to help younger people develop
Apps Reviewed by You
Our three highlighted apps for you this month include Animals
MindSnacks French, and the
British Library Treasures HD. Animals
360 features colourful pictures of animals in their natural
habitats on the farm, safari and forest. Listen to the sounds they
make and enjoy quizzes and puzzles for different levels.
MindSnacks French provides games, words and phrases to build
French vocabulary, reading, writing, listening and conversation
skills. Every level features up to 25 French words and phrases with
British Library Treasures HD shows amazing details as you zoom
in on the British Museum's collections including literary,
historical, music-related and scientific documents. Find literature
by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, as well as the original Magna
Carta of 1215! Check out more apps at the ERAC Commons.
ERAC in the Classroom
Learn360 Provides Vast Amount of Options
Gone are the days of using poor quality DVD's that get lost,
worn out or even stolen. Now with ERAC's
BC Digital Classroom, new technology, programs and software,
teachers can have access to literally thousands of high quality
Learn 360 is
one provider of these interactive media on-demand services designed
for K-12, providing quality content across all curriculum areas to
enhance the learning experience.
"Learning doesn't have to be within classroom walls," explains
Roger Hayward, teacher-librarian for Sullivan Heights Secondary in
Surrey. "With the use of Learn360 resources, kids can view videos
anytime, anywhere, creating a virtual school. Quizzes can also be
created and assigned and kids can complete them all on-line."
Engaging kids is critical in this sensory overloaded world. With
enriched lessons that help children excel academically, Learn360
brings to life historical figures and amazing places around the
world. Every lesson or project can become extraordinary.
Creating playlists through various clips is a great way to
engage students. "Creating playlists is a popular feature we
provide at Learn360," notes Neil Kirkwood, Regional Manager for
Visual Education Centre Limited, parent company of Learn 360. "You
can create playlists for a Math unit and a second one for a Science
unit and basically tailor it for specific use. You can even add
A school in Ontario that uses Learn360 added their custom
content when they recorded their high school league champion
basketball game. That specific customized content just happened to
get more views than any of the curriculum!
To assist teachers in organizing the vast content for use, both
Hayward and another teacher-librarian have been downloading
information and adding it to a flash drive.
"Depending on the school's bandwidth, sometimes streaming may
take time to buffer," explains Tammy Le, teacher-librarian for L.A.
Matheson Secondary School in Surrey. "By downloading onto a USB,
video clips and more, I can customize the content depending on the
subject area and grade level. It saves a lot of time for teachers
and gets them using this great resource quickly."
As school districts implement new resources, there can be
challenges to address and the use of a USB for providing customized
content to teachers is a great option.
"Having access to hundreds of videos and feature films is so
much easier than dealing with DVD's," remarks Hayward. "With
budgets being cut for resources, Learn 360 provides a great
solution for saving money on DVD's, as well as the space to contain
them. The information doesn't need replacement, it's easy to
circulate, and it's always up-to-date."
Helping to create the digital classroom is a goal of ERAC and
providers like Learn360. Some of their most widely used videos
include: A&E, BBC Motion Gallery, National Geographic, Reading
Rainbow, Scholastic AudioBooks and more. These all come standard
Also included with subscription is training and implementation
and there are a number of options for both. For more information on
out their brochure.
Sign in on the ERAC website to read the
full product review of this ERAC evaluated and approved
resource. Talk with your district
contact on how to get this product and many more for your
students. For details on the various bundle options, check out the
agreement on the BC
Copyright – Do You Know the Answers?
ERAC provides a FREE copyright course to ERAC members. Sample
questions below have been taken from the course. Each section in
the course has a short quiz to test your knowledge and help clarify
some aspects of copyright law. To access the
Copyright course, log in or create your account first if you
Under ERAC's agreement with the Society of Composers, Authors
and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) schools, without asking for
permission or paying a fee may perform music in a number of
situations other than education or instruction for a paying
audience. Which one of the following are schools not allowed
to do under this agreement?
a. Play live music at a school dance
b. Play recorded music as background music in the cafeteria
c. Perform a musical for parents
Answer can be found in Section (7). We will also post the answer
in the November newsletter.
Your school district has registered for the ERAC Online Resource
Database Bundle. As a teacher, which one of the following are you
not allowed to do as part of this agreement?
a. Download a copy of an article from EBSCO and store it on your
b. Make hard copies of that article for your students
c. Give a printout of the article to your neighbor, and email
the stored copy to a friend in Toronto
Answer can be found in Section (7). We will also post the
answer in the November newsletter.
Great Resources Available at MediaSmarts
MediaSmarts provides a free resource of a "Diversity and Media
Toolbox". It has great lesson plans for teachers with links to
videos and more. The
Diversity and Media Toolbox is a comprehensive suite of
resources that explores issues relating to stereotyping, bias and
hate in mainstream media and on the internet. Check it out along
with all the other great resources available with MediaSmarts.
Improving Access to Digital Resources
Finding and accessing quality resources, even those that
districts have already purchased, continues to be a struggle for
teachers. ERAC, in discussion with various districts and
educational stakeholders, decided to study the situation and find
ways to improve access to digital resources that support all
learning in BC classrooms. This work contributed to and led to our
vision of our
Roadmap to the Future video. We've also produced a short
white paper called, "
Roadmap to the Digital Classroom: Accessing quality digital
resources". This paper describes the process that ERAC
undertook and our findings of how other jurisdictions from around
the world addressed the same problems and can be found on our
website. To read the full account of our work go to http://connectlearn21.net/
In the Works
District Contacts Meeting Filling Up Fast!
If you're a District Contact (old or new) and you haven't
registered yet for the upcoming District Contacts meeting (October
25/26) then do so soon! There are a limited number of seats and
they are filling up fast. Don't miss out on pertinent information
regarding copyright, BC privacy laws (and implications to school
districts), new district initiatives and so much more. Check out
agenda and make sure to register by filling out this
ERAC Moves to Continuous Evaluation of Novels
For the past several years ERAC has used exemplary practicing
teachers who are trained by ERAC to evaluate and identify
instructional novels, in both English and French, for our grade 3 -
12 classrooms. Typically novels were reviewed over school
break periods and most often during the summer holidays. This meant
that a teacher who discovered in September, a great title that they
would like to use in their classroom, had to wait until the
following September to find out if it had been selected for
inclusion in ERAC's resource catalogue.
ERAC is now implementing a continuous evaluation process of
novels that are identified by ERAC members, at no additional cost
to districts. Members wanting to have a particular title reviewed
by ERAC simply need to complete the
submission form found on the website and ERAC will facilitate
the evaluation. This new focus will allow us to be much more
responsive to the needs of the classroom. We encourage member
districts, and particularly teachers, to help us identify excellent
Did You Know?
What Does Digital Literacy Look Like?
Few people seem to have a clear definition of what digital
literacy means. Often, districts merely teach students how to use
software and hardware. There are a multitude of definitions and
terms used to try and describe the notion of media or digital
literacy. To gain more insight, check out Elisa
Carlson's blog. (Elisa Carlson, Ed. D, Director of Instruction,
7th Annual Canadian Media Literacy Week Is On
Media Literacy Week is being held from November 5-9, 2012,
co-hosted by MediaSmarts and the Canadian Teacher's Federation.
With a theme of Privacy Matters, privacy knowledge and skills will
be explored for youth and their online activities. Consider
supporting this week by organizing an event in your
school/community or promoting through your networks. To learn more,
go to the Media
Literacy Week website.
ERAC is at the PSA’s
We'll be attending the upcoming PSA Conferences for CUEBC,
BCTELA, BCTLA, BCSSTA. If you're attending these, be sure to come
by our table and learn more about the services that ERAC can
provide you. See you there!
You Asked Us
Q. Many of you have asked "How is the new BC Digital Classroom
A. Some of you may have noticed that we have changed the manner
in which you can purchase the various BC
Digital Classroom products that we have negotiated for you.
Starting November 1, your district's teachers
and students will only be able to access the products you have
purchased for this school year. All database
subscriptions are automatically renewed. To gain access to other
products you must
Through vendor negotiations, certain requirements to meet
guarantees became necessary. This provided us with the need to
restructure the offerings to our members. Now, with the addition of
several new products, we have created 3 bundles in the BC
In negotiating new agreements, vendors of key products were
substantially increasing their prices and pricing models. For
CBC and NFB are facing economic challenges with the changes in
government funding and have moved to build new revenue models with
the sale of digital rights to their collection and/or implementing
increases in excess of 100% in subscription fees.
Encyclopedia of BC moved to a dynamic digital format creating
more value but at a higher cost.
This is why some products are now included in the
Canadian Bundle for a fee.
ERAC was also able to procure digital rights to CBC's most
popular education titles as well as to new content
to support full day kindergarten and expand the
Aboriginal and French content
available to districts and schools. Access Learning added an entire
website dedicated to careers and jobs, Jobs People Do.
Digital Classroom was created to provide a suite of quality
resources to support student centered learning.
Without this advantaged bundle pricing, these prized Canadian
content and database reference learning resources would not be
affordable to many BC K- 12 districts and
To continue to bring the lowest unit cost to this and future
agreements, sign up by the majority of the provincial student FTE
is required. Please consider the advantages
of the purchase of the BC Digital Classroom.
Some past tweets you may have missed:
September 21 - ERAC's copyright course for members contains
module quizzes-good place to start to determine prior knowledge
login: http://www.bcerac.ca/services/training/courses/ …
September 21 -ERAC, EBSCO, World Book and SMART
participating in Dawson Creek "Aiming for Excellence" 2 day
district pro-d event Oct. 22/23
September 4 - Has your district considered ERAC's new bundle
of digital resources for BC classrooms? More info http://bit.ly/Mm8LhV
Are you following us on Twitter? You can find us at www.twitter.com/bcerac
Did you know we’re on FaceBook too? Why not recommend and
like us and get in on the conversation!