Librarians Embrace the Challenge of Assisting in Molding Global-Minded Students

How the ISTE and AASL Standards Support Librarians in Promoting Global Citizenry

Students in today’s classroom are faced with the challenge of maneuvering successfully through the multiple modalities of learning presented daily in their classrooms. No longer does the docile student sit quietly in a desk waiting to be immersed in the hour-long lecture from the “sage on the stage.” No longer does the student receive a copy of a classic text, complete a worksheet, copy notes from the chalkboard, and bask in the knowledge of the teacher, as he or she expounds upon the topic at hand.

The classroom of today is bursting with students who are ready to blaze their own paths of learning. They want choice and freedom to discover learning on their own terms. They want to choose a graphic novel or and audiobook, rather than a paper novel to read. They want to actually see the stars and planets, rather than reading about them in the pages of a textbook. They want to solve community problems, rather than being told what problems exist from the perspectives of others. Today’s students are different, and they demand to be recognized for who they are and what they need!

In order to nurture the curiosity and eagerness of this new generation of learners, educators and librarians are constantly striving to improve themselves and their craft. In the article, “Journeying with the AASL Standards,” Kate Lechtenberg and Jennison Lucas remind us that “In K–12 schools, the focus is often on graduation as the ultimate goal, but as school librarians, we know that we are really preparing students for the beginning of their own journeys into careers, college, and civic life in which they will continue to apply information-literacy skills and explore the personal interests they have developed in and through libraries” (6).

So, how do today’s educators begin to navigate in a world so foreign to their own educations? Enter the ISTE and AASL Standards and the school librarian. For years, librarians have been the leaders on the cusp of the new frontier of technology. They have been challenged to embrace, cultivate, and disperse knowlege about this new, often daunting, platform for learning.

Librarians have now become responsible for doling out resources of much more than books, textbooks, and overhead projectors. Today’s media specialists are called to distribute chromebooks, ipads, laptops, document cameras, promethean boards, microphones, and the lists goes on into oblivion. Technology is the way of the future, and librarians are the protectors of all things technological. So, how do these amazing men and women garner this new and exciting wisdom, you may ask? The answer is the ISTE and AASL Standards.

What are the ISBE and AASL Standards?

The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) have both created standards in order to provide guidelines by which professionals can measure the performance of themselves and their students. These standards allow support for educators, librarians, technology coaches, and administrators to develop lessons that will meet the needs to today’s learners.

The ISTE Standards allow educators and librarians to meet technological competencies within and outside of the school building. The creators realize that today’s learners spend their time engaged in multimodal technologies outside of the schools, so educators and librarians need to construct opportunities for the students to engage in these technlogies within the classroom as well. With foundations such as learning, leading, molding citizens, developing collaborators, encouraging designers, promoting facilitators, and illuminating analysts, the ISTE standards entrust educators and librarians to continue to meet students where they are and encourage them to explore realms yet unknown.

The AASL standards are similar to the ISTE standards, in that they encourage learning, leading, molding citizens, developing collaborators, encouraging designers, promoting facilitators, and illuminating analysts. Moreover, the AASL standards introduce the shared foundations to inquire, include, collaborate, curate, explore and engage within the constructs of lessons.

How are ISTE and AASL Different?

The only real difference between the standards is that the ISTE standards focus heavily on using technology to promote all of the learning, while the AASL standards focuses on the development of the learner as a whole person, not simply the technological competencies. Both encourage solving global issues, but the AASL fosters social, emotional, developmental, physical and psychological lessons with and without the inclusion of technology. AASL standards promote relationships, as well as creation and expertise, or as Jennifer L. Freedman, in her article entitled “School Librarians Level Up!,” so aptly expresses, “Designed to empower school librarians to transform teaching and learning, the AASL Standards have enabled personalization for every learner and school librarian” (12).

No matter which standards you choose to adopt, embracing the standards of both ISTE and AASL will help educators and librarians develop experiences that will assist in molding global-minded young people who are ready and willing to face the turmoils and tribulations of our society.


Freedman, J. L. (May/June 2019). School librarians level up! Transform your teaching by unpacking the AASL standards intehrated framework and implementing shared foundation V: Explore. Knowledge Quest, 47(5), 11-15.

Home. (2021, January 11). Retrieved January 22, 2021, from

ISTE Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2021, from

Lechtenberg, K., & Lucas, J. (May/June 2019). Journeying with the AASL standards. Knowledge Quest, 47(5), 6-7.

2 thoughts on “Librarians Embrace the Challenge of Assisting in Molding Global-Minded Students

  1. Michele Sicard
    So nice to see another one “l” Michele! Your description of today’s students and what they want was very well written. This deal of student generated learning is the goal and dream for most teachers. My experiences in education have not always been able to meet this goal. Over crowding and lack of resources and support can limit this student led learning experience. Also, rigid curriculum guides and strict accountability in some school districts limit this type of learning. That is why the ISTE and AASL standards are so refreshing, it is designed for this student led and student level type of learning. Since librarians have been the leaders in technology education, hopefully this new standard philosophy will spill over into the rest of education.


  2. I liked the way you described embracing new forms of learning as an essential part of teaching students. Working in the field of education one should always seek to find new ways of learning and teaching that are most beneficial for students. I had the amazing opportunity to intern at a school library that was using virtual reality headsets with students to teach lessons on history and science. It is a much different experience being able to stand inside a WWI trench in VR than simply seeing a picture of one in a textbook. I appreciate that the AASL standards encourage multimodal learning, and encourage finding new ways to interact with the learning materials. The ISTE standards focus especially on the use of technology to reach these learning goals and are invaluable to school librarians seeking to utilize new technology with their students.
    -Kasey Mitchell


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s