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Digital innovations provide support to Manitoba educators

Lynette Chartier
Direction des ressources éducatives françaises
(Library and Materials Production Branch)
Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning
Government of Manitoba


Over the past year, La Direction des ressources éducatives françaises (in French only) (DREF), a library of the Manitoba Department of Education and Advanced Learning, has increased its efforts to provide educators in the province with a range of new instructional resources in a format that is both user-friendly and easily accessible on its web portal. The main purpose of the DREF is to make French-language instructional materials in various formats available to teachers from kindergarten to Grade 12 at Français and Immersion schools, as well as at English Program schools offering Basic French.

Given the unexplored potential of new educational technologies and a growing need for information, users want to obtain personalized results when searching for material. The DREF has therefore developed strong ties and established partnerships with developers and providers of educational content, both locally and nationally, which has significantly increased the availability of digital resources and online services.

Among the DREF’s partners is the Groupe Média TFO. This Ontario producer and distributor of French-language multimedia educational and cultural content supports the daily work of Manitoba teachers through its instructional tools, theme-based groupings, applications, numerous websites and the newsletters Infolettres TFO Éducation (in French only). Radio-Canada (in French only) complements this instructional support through its (in French only) educational platform. The subscription to gives teachers in the province access to streamed television and radio documentaries, reports, archives, generic sequences and more. Over 9,000 programs and resources are available.

As of the 2015 school year, Radio-Canada is also offering the National Geographic French-language channel, which is very useful to Manitoba educators.

The range of digital resources would not be complete without CAMPUS (in French only), the educational platform of the National Film Board (NFB). CAMPUS allows users to consult all of the resources available at the NFB and provides exclusive access to over 700 educational productions, classic films and new arrivals that are added every three months. Resources that are ready to be used in the classroom include education resource kits and thematic selections, as well as the NFB’s thematic channels. The tools made available to educators allow them to edit educational programs and view the results at the time of their choosing.

The variety of subjects and themes taught in the classroom today sometimes requires access to a data bank containing specific information. Through BiblioMondo (in French only), developer and provider of the Library management system (LMS), the DREF provides integrated access to the Science en action! (in French only) resources developed by eduMedia (in French only) to support learning of science-related subjects in primary and secondary school. A veritable multimedia encyclopedia specializing in science, eduMedia includes over 700 animations. The videos, exercises and animations with accompanying educational worksheets, greatly facilitate the teaching and learning of the scientific concepts studied. The eduMedia component provides an innovative resource that supports the development of scientific knowledge among students.

The DREF also takes advantage of local creative talent and providers. The publisher Apprentissage Illimité (in French only), which had great success with the Paul et Suzanne resources, developed activities designed for the interactive whiteboard (IWB) to accompany the Kanata : je suis ici and La chasse au bison educational resources. These IWB activities, available at Activités pour Tableau Blanc Interactif (in French only) on the DREF’s website, can be used independently or to complement other resources from the same collections.

Les Productions Rivard (in French only), thanks to the expertise of their designers and the financial support of Canadian Heritage, works closely with the DREF. A first series of 100 vignettes is now available to support the work of teachers, particularly in the areas of social studies and science. Given that the feedback on the use of the vignettes in the classroom has been very positive, a second series is being developed and will be available online during the 2015–16 school year.

The DREF and Les Productions Rivard are jointly developing animated digital books for young children. Texts based on the Carmen à la campagne series broadcast by TFO Éducation (in French only) are accompanied by karaoke-style songs. These teaching tools support young children as they learn to read and discover certain phonemes. This material is particularly well-suited to the IWB format.

Now more than ever, teachers have access to a wide range of instructional resources. To assist teachers in selecting and using the most relevant educational resources, two teacher-coordinators provide guidance and support. These two members of the DREF team are available to support the work of teachers in both urban and rural areas through presentations and consultations.

To access this range of French educational resources and the many services available through the DREF, Manitoba teachers can register by calling 204-945-8594 or 1-800-667-2950.

Everything’s free, online and available at Direction des ressources éducatives françaises (in French only), twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!