ERAC Update - March 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 and agreements. View previous editions.

Welcome Principals and Vice-Principals!

ERAC continues to reach out to its members and increase our communication channels. In addition, ERAC services are being highlighted in other magazines. Recently, a story in this newsletter got picked up in Adminfo. The article “Access to Academic Databases” highlighted your peers at South Delta Secondary School using ERAC services. Why not hear it FIRST here by receiving our monthly ERAC Update? As a benefit of membership, when you go to our homepage and , you will automatically receive this newsletter. Don’t miss out on pertinent information that affects you and your teachers…please create your account now!

In this March issue you'll find:

....and so much more!


  1. Microsoft PML participation agreement to be signed by March 6, 2012
  2. Follett Software Destiny Resource Management expires March 31, 2012
  3. Lightspeed Short Term Agreement expires March 31, 2012
  4. Pixton Comics Short Term Agreement expires March 31, 2012


Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About BC

ERAC members can now enjoy a renewed subscription to Encyclopedia of BC including a number of additional major reference works! This constantly growing and enhanced resource is the ‘go to’ for all things related to BC.

read more

Interactive Products for Less – Now That’s SMART!

Saving money is always a smart choice, and now ERAC has once again provided great savings for members on a range of SMART interactive whiteboard products. Through a preferred pricing agreement, ERAC members will have access to great low prices on these products. Just contact your ERAC Software Contact to find out the details." To see the agreement, click here.

Transformational Teaching Through Technology

Online professional development videos through eTeachables® (Sublime Learning) are now available on a short-term offer through ERAC. These video libraries are designed to help teachers integrate technology into instruction. Offer is available until June 30, 2012. For the full details click here.

Realize Full Benefit of E Desktop Solutions

To take advantage of this new Microsoft PML agreement, Secretary Treasurers must return their signed participation agreement by March 6, 2012. The agreement made through ERAC gives all participants access to the full Microsoft E Desktop Solution. This is one of ERAC’s most successful initiatives as if offers many benefits to members. To find out what those benefits are and to read the full agreement, click here.


Check out ERAC's Online Resource Collection to find out what’s new. Log in and see the ERAC Review from your peers!

read more to find out who Made the Grade

Ministry Project….Completed!

The Ministry of Education Catalogue of Learning Resources has recently been added to the ERAC online collection. By choosing “Ministry Recommended” in the “Status” field, you can search for those items only, or watch for the icon above to show you the resource is from the Ministry’s list. The WNCP Math resources have also been added and are now a part of the ERAC collection. Log in now and check out what’s new!


Technology Supporting Education = 21st Century Schools

Dates are picked (June 12&13), venue is secured (Sheraton Airport Hotel in Richmond) and now we’re working on the tracks/sessions for you based on a survey. The IT4K12 conference planning is well on its way. You’ll soon be able to find all the IT4K12 event information on its own website at Access this site once registration opens on March 19th! For now be sure to SAVE THE DATES!


Yes! to

In today's classrooms, it can be difficult for students to hear what their teacher is saying with sounds bouncing off hard surfaces, the emphasis on students collaborating with one another and all the other ambient noises in classrooms, gymnasiums and multipurpose rooms.

There are several different strategies to address the problem, but many educators in B.C. are turning to the FrontRow audio system. "There are two types of teachers," said Anna Crosland, teacher-librarian at Georges Vanier Elementary School in Surrey, "those who have never tried a FrontRow system and don't know what all the fuss is about and those who have used it and would never teach without it."

read more.

How Big Is YOUR Video Collection?

Not many of us are lucky enough to have 100 videos in our collection, let alone 1,000! The National Film Board has a video collection of more than 1,700 French and English titles that are available for classroom viewing as a benefit of membership. ERAC’s agreement with the NFB gives our members access to public performance rights and includes a new Campus Screening Room. Here you’ll find things like specific Canadian content, media and educational tools, study guides and more! The ERAC Commons expands on this resource in the ERAC4U group, showing you how to create your own playlists that are specific to your classroom needs. There are also valuable suggestions for using the NFB resources, as well as a list of recommended videos. Click here to go to ERAC4U and check out more ways to strategically use other resources, not just the NFB. Although some NFB films still come with a price tag, the number of available films keeps growing and provides teachers with a rich source of learning support.
To access all the great NFB content, just click here to register your account with them and then click the link to their Welcome Page. It’s that easy! For more details, check out the link in our NFB agreement.

Stay On Top of Your Apps Through the ERAC Commons!

Now in one place, you can find the apps that are most relevant to you! With 10 new apps per week being reviewed and uploaded to the ERAC Commons, you won’t want to miss out! Just click here to see more. You can rate the apps that are listed and give your own comments. Just sign in to the ERAC commons. Don’t forget to submit any apps that you want reviewed … help us grow the list of valuable apps.


Inanimate Alice – A Different Kind of Novel

Inanimate Alice was born digital and she wants to share her story with you and your students! This ground-breaking interactive, multimedia-based novel takes students on a global adventure. Children are engaged through flash interface, images, music, sound effects, puzzles, games and more. This free resource has been adopted by teachers who are eager to connect with students through media and includes useful teaching aids, strategies and provides supplemental resources. Check out the full product review that got great ratings by logging in to the online collection. For additional information, go to their website.

Learning to Use Your Resource

Gale Cengage Learning is offering a bunch of free training webinars during March to provide tips and tricks to get the most out of your Gale Resources. Everything from Biography in Context to the Gale Virtual Reference Library, this training will hopefully help save you time in your searches and your teaching. Click here for the full calendar.

Peer Resource Rating Now Available in ERAC’s Online Collection

You asked for the ability to rate resources thereby providing you with valuable peer reviews to help you choose the best resources for use in your classroom. In three simple steps, you can rate the resources that you commonly use: 1. Sign in on ERAC’s website, 2. Search for your resource within the online collection, 3. Pull up the full product review and rate that resource (found at the top, above the title). This option is only available to ERAC members and associate members. Check out your favourite online resource and help start building the ratings!

Safe Surfing with CIRA and MNet

CIRA (the Canadian Internet Registration Authority) and MNet (Media Awareness Network) have joined forces to launch the first in a series of cyber security tip sheets. The goal is to help students stay safe when using the internet. The Safe Surfing Tip Sheet is available on the MNet website, as well as other digital literacy resources. Safe surfing!


ERAC's Q&A: VHS conversion to DVD

Questions are only valuable if they lead us to answers. But what if more than one person is looking for that answer? We've decided to create a new category in the ERAC Update for this very reason. "You Asked Us" will highlight questions (and the answers!) we receive that we think might be of value to all our members. This way you'll keep up to date on what we're working on as well as the latest information. So feel free to send those questions in and we'll share the answers! You can contact us through a myriad of ways including: email, phone, mail, Twitter, Facebook and through our website. Read on below to participate in the first posted question!

Q. "We are considering doing a whole-scale conversion of VHS items to the DVD format. We think this may be problematic with regard to copyright laws. What are your thoughts?"
Name and District withheld
A. This is not legal advice, but is an opinion. It is not okay to convert all VHS items to DVD format. The fair dealing clauses in the copyright law do not necessarily apply in this case. There is an exception around format transfer to support individuals with perceptual difficulties but it can’t be used to justify conversion of VHS items for use by all students and staff. There is also an exception for libraries, 30.1.1(c), allowing libraries to produce materials, “in an alternative format if the original is currently in an obsolete format or the technology required to use the original is unavailable”. However, the technology is not yet obsolete.

I don’t think that it is okay for a school district to convert videos if the titles aren’t available in the DVD format. The rights to the content, regardless of format, are very likely all still owned by publishers. The publishers just haven’t made the titles available in a newer format. Making certain titles available in certain formats at certain times is included in the exclusive rights of a copyright owner.

I would not advise proceeding whole-scale from a risk-management point of view. See Janet Steffenhagen’s Report Card blog: I would suggest that whole-scale conversion would not be advisable anyway as a strategy for ensuring collections are up-to-date. Anything in VHS format is older now, and there may be concerns about curriculum fit and/or currency. The fact that the content is not available in the newer DVD format may be a good thing.

I would suggest a more selective approach to moving toward elimination of the VHS format, purchasing new DVD content when it makes sense, and looking at other options. Note that another alternative is pursuing and receiving written permission from publishers to transfer individual titles from VHS to DVD. Also, what a number of other districts are doing is looking at acquiring digital video rights either title-by-title or through a streaming service to replace both VHS, and DVD, content.

Answer provided courtesy of Heather Daly, Library and Information Coordinator, S.D. #43 (Coquitlam)

Find out what the laws are and all the copyright essential information by taking the ERAC Copyright Essentials course, offered as a benefit of membership to all ERAC members.


Some past tweets you may have missed:

February 3 – ERAC members now have free access to BC developed online course "Copyright Essentials for Educators"

February 7 - Don't know how to use CBC News in Review?Find out and more in ERAC4U Great teacher supports with critical questions.

February 9 - Everything you wanted to know and more: Check out Kathy Shrocks site on ipads

February 15 - New Can. Media Net report:Young Canadians in a Wired World:Teacher’s Perspectives shows need for teaching citizenship

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"Liked the vendor/teacher sessions – practical application with a bit of product knowledge"

Attendee from IL4K12 event