Emerging Technology Plan: Canvas Library Portal

The Plan: Integrate Canvas by Instructure into the life of the International Christian School of Budapest (ICSB) Library, so that students, faculty, parents and other community members can be fully involved in the life of library in a way that is easily accessible, customizable, and in line with ICSB’s goal of integrating technology into the curriculum.


Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:


  • Use Canvas to help facilitate greater access to library and quality online resources.
  • Create a forum where students are comfortable interacting with each other and with library staff.
  • Create a partnership between the librarian and other faculty members to assist with improve student education.


A public portal in Canvas with the following items (teachers will be given the option to link to the Library portal in their class site):

  • Up-to-date information about the library through importing of a library blog.
  • Links to the paid online databases.
  • Links to quality free educational resources on the web.
  • Modules created for specific classes.
  • A library related discussion forums (available when students are enrolled in the library portal as a course or in their own class site).
  • Embedded screencast tutorials.
  • Surveys offered via Canvas to gather feedback from users, as well as to create a participatory atmosphere.
  • Ongoing discussion with faculty and students to find out how they are using the portal and how it can be improved.


Description of Community you wish to engage:

The International Christian School of Budapest is a K-12 school serving students from many different nationalities. It is situated in the city of Diósd which is just outside the capital city of Budapest. Currently, the school has about 250 students.

The school’s mission is:

“The International Christian School of Budapest (ICSB) exists to serve families by providing their children with an excellent, biblically-based, college-preparatory education, in an environment that encourages them to become wholehearted followers of Christ.”

The majority of the students go onto higher education in the United States or elsewhere. Upon graduation many students leave Hungary and never return there to live, as well there are students who come and go every year from other grades as well. This means that ICSB needs to be preparing our students for life where ever they end up.

Many of the middle school and high school students are actively engaged in school life outside of the classroom. Extracurricular actives include musicals, honors choir, National Honors Society, and Beta club. The school has a big emphasis on sports, with basketball being the biggest season. Other sports include soccer, volleyball, and track and field.

Over the past year the school has developed a technology plan, which spearheaded the search for a new course management system and productivity software. Ultimately, this lead to Canvas being adopted by the school, along with Office365 for all students, faculty, and staff. Technology standards for all grade levels are being developed.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince ICSB community that by using the Canvas library portal they will have greater access to the library resources which will enhance their connection with the library because library resources will be available when and where they need them.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Hardenbrook, J. (2013, July 17). Embedded librarian 101: How to get started.

The embedded librarian model comes out of academic librarianship, but it is something that can be used in the K-12 area as well. It can serve as a model for the ICSB librarian to aim towards as she continues to build relationships with the faculty members and creates a Canvas portal that they can use together to teach the students.

The New Media Consortium. (2015) Horizon report: 2015 K-12 edition http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2015-k-12-edition/

The Horizon report suggests that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and blended learning are going to significantly impact learning within the next year. ICSB is considering a school wide BYOD policy for the next school year and some teachers are using blended learning. The Canvas site will support these two initiatives by providing a way for students to access library resources on their device, as well as provide videos and readings teachers can assign their students to use anywhere.

Stephens, M. (2008). Taming technolust: Ten steps for planning in a 2.0 world.

Step number 2: ‘Let “beta” be your friend’ is one of the biggest influencers of this service. One of the greatest strengths of Canvas is that it is easy to modify; links can be added or taken away with a click of a button. The Canvas library portal will always be in beta, because there will always be new content to add and old content to be taken away.

Stept number 3: ‘Be Transparent,’ combined with the transparency module in INFO 287, is important, so that the faculty and administrators know what is going on. A constant dialog will only make this project better. Putting it out in the open will help less tech savvy faculty see what is possible for them to do with their own Canvas site.

Loertscher, D. (2008). Flip this library: School libraries need a revolution.

While due to the small size of the library and permanence of architecture, the ICSB library is unlikely to become the flexible space this article envisions in the near future. What the librarian hopes and dreams for the library is that it becomes a flexible virtual space as envisioned by Loertscher:

In the virtual world, the learning commons is both a giant, ongoing conversation and a warehouse of digital materials—from ebooks to databases to student-generated content—all available 24/7 year-round. Thanks to social-networking software, information can flow not just from teachers to learners but in multiple directions: among students, from students to classroom teachers, from teacher-librarians to classroom teachers and students. As expected, the virtual learning commons supports the work of both the physical open commons and the experimental learning center. Teachers, for example, may go online to meet. Professional development or action-research sessions can also take place online.

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

  • The mission of the Canvas Portal will guided by the ICSB mission (see above).

Draft mission statement:

“The ICSB Canvas Library Portal exists to help develop student’s Christian worldview and godly use of technology, while giving them the information literacy skills they need to be successful in post-secondary education”

  • The guidelines will evolve out of the ICSB technology standards, along with ICSB general guidelines of acceptable classroom behavior.
  • The policies will be guided by ICSB’s current acceptable use policy.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:

ICSB as a school is already paying for the largest cost of the project, the software, since it was decided Canvas would be used school wide. Apart from the software, developing the Canvas site will require staff time from the librarian, along with staff time from the faculty they are working with. Since ICSB uses a missionary model for its North American staff, where the staff are supported by outside partners usually in North America, the monetary cost for ICSB is nothing.

Action Steps & Timeline:

This project can be started quickly, after the approval of the administration. Since it is a low stakes project with no money involved and the school has already decided to use Canvas the approval should be reached within a day. Asking for approval has more to do with transparency, than the actual need for approval.

After the approval this is what would need to take place:

  1. The school’s Canvas administrator creates a ‘class’ for the librarian to develop into a portal.
  2. The librarian adds the first basic modules, links, and publishes it.
  3. An email with the link to the portal is sent to several teachers and the administrators for feedback.
  4. The librarian takes feedback and updates site.
  5. An email is sent to all faculty with a link to the site and instructions on how to add it to their class Canvas site.
  6. A home page is created to give the portal a more inviting feel.
  7. The librarian creates screencasts to embed.
  8. The librarian works with faculty to integrate more information literacy into their classes.

This project will all be in ‘beta,’ so the timeline is ongoing, but from the approval to step 5 where faculty and students will gain access to the site would take about 2 weeks.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

To get the Canvas up and running the librarian will be sure to set aside 2-3 hours a week to get the portal to a place where it is usable. Since the librarian normally sets time aside during the week to develop lesson plans and teaching strategies for the upper level grades developing the Canvas site will be done during this time.

Training for this Technology or Service:

  • Initially, the training on the Canvas site will be self-training (learning) for the librarian who is developing it.
  • The faculty are being trained on Canvas at their various grade level meetings, and through our technology coordinator.
  • Students are being trained on Canvas by their teachers.
  • If time permits, the librarian will design and give training to the faculty members on the portal at one of their grade level meetings.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:

  • The main promotion of the library portal will be word of mouth. ICSB is a small school and the librarian will aim to speak with as many faculty members as possible, as well as students she meets.
  • The portal will ask be promoted through an email to staff announcing its existence and encourage faculty to add a link to their class Canvas sites.
  • An announcement will be posted for parents and other community members on the school announcement page.


  • The librarian will evaluate the Canvas portal by asking the faculty and student casually what they like about the portal and ask for suggestions.
  • Follow-up surveys will be given to classes where the librarian teaches to allow students to give feedback.
  • There is no large scale survey of the community planned for this school year, since it is an accreditation year and there are already many surveys going out, but in a year a survey of the community will be done to see how the Canvas portal is being used and how it can be improved.
  • If students are added to the Canvas portal as a class the librarian will evaluate how much it is used by see viewing how much time the students spend on the class and what resources the students are using.
  • If the portal works well, combined with teaching more information literacy, the librarian hopes to tell a story of how the portal allowed students better access to library and quality web resources and a way to engage with the library in a way that was not possible before.
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3 Responses to Emerging Technology Plan: Canvas Library Portal

  1. Kristen Amaral says:

    “The ICSB Canvas Library Portal exists to help develop student’s Christian worldview and godly use of technology, while giving them the information literacy skills they need to be successful in post-secondary education”

    I like how you wrote the Canvas Portal Mission based on the ICB Mission.

    Nice work! 🙂


  2. Andrea Meszaros says:

    Thanks @krislib! I applied what I learned in INFO204 about creating mission statements.


  3. Kristen Amaral says:

    Nice work! 🙂


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