Wednesday, June 15, 2011

EMPATIC report: IL in Hungary

In this post on the EMPATIC project seminar on Information Literacy (IL) in the Schools Sector, held in Krakow, Poland on 8 June 2011, I will summarise some points from the presentation by Tibor Koltay (Szent Istvan University, Hungary): Musings about information literacy in school settings: old and new questions. The old questions included whether “present educational practice prepares schoolchildren for using information critically” and whether putting IT equipment in schools led to equality: in both cases the answer seemed to be no.
Koltay cited Godwin , who asked whether education for IL was solely up to public librarians,;deciding that it was a wider responsibility. There was still the question of whether the lack of IL was of more importance to information professionals than to others.
Koltay mentioned that Hungary has a new Digital renewal Action Plan (published in 2010) which uses the Hungarian terms for both IL and digital literacy, but both of them restricted to the efficient use of information technologies, showing ongoing misunderstanding about IL and neglect of non-IT skills. He also said that there was too much mythology about “digital natives” because he agreed with William Badke that this generation was not good at information handling, and was also heterogeneous.
Koltay said something about IL education for library and information students, where there was really a minimal framework in Hungary although they emphasised the importance of IL for lifelong learning. The exception is the University of Pecs where they have a specialisation in information literacy pedagogy. There used to be a qualification for teacher librarian in Hungary, but that does not exist any more. Koltay also mentioned in passing a Hungarian project Digital Fortress (where children have to get out of the fortress by solving information problems, so learning through gameplay/problem-solving).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Visiting Professors House (where I stayed), Krakow, Poland, June 2011.

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