Hi and welcome to the 2nd part of my essay, if you’re lost and have found your way here first, click here to read the first part.
According to Kjeld Schmidt, ‘the notion of tacit knowledge is a conceptual muddle that mystified the very concept of practical knowledge’, which is true in a sense, we can’t really define what it means to do something, to be experienced in doing something. Placed in the context of network literacy, how can we really explain what it means to open up a link, scroll through, and to be able to understand what a ‘bad site’ looks like? Trying to explain this explicitly to an individual who has no experience in using a computer or browsing the internet, hence older people who weren’t around when the internet was first placed into production, will probably leave them confused. On this matter, when it comes to age, it can be argued that tacit and explicit knowledge play a vital role in providing new informative knowledge which may or may not help to become network literate, for example, a research conducted by Chansoo Park, IIan Vertinsky and Manuel Becerra found that the ‘transfer of tacit knowledge had a significant impact on the performance of both young and mature individuals while the transfer of explicit knowledge only has a significant effect on the performance of mature individuals’. This placed in the context of today’s modern technological era, especially with the wide usage of the world wide web, it’s easy to tell how hard it is to teach an elderly person how to become network literate. Mainly the reason for this is because they aren’t used to it, they were brought up in a world where the only place you could find information was in libraries and books, the only place where you could seek our social gratification is through mail, phone or even face to face contact and further the only way they could purchase, seek entertainment and do a whole lot of other things is through a physical interaction between each other, unlike this technological era. To just whip out a laptop and give it to them saying that they can buy all their groceries here, they can speak to all their relatives here and so forth would just leave them asking questions because they’re totally unfamiliar with the concept of moving a cursor to direct them. Compare this to how children are brought up nowadays, they’re exposed constantly to things such as computers, phones, gaming consoles, it’s only natural that after seeing it around so much they will eventually pick it up and experiment, becoming more and more network literate as they proceed through the massive entanglement of links online. Just to give you an idea of how much tacit knowledge becomes a necessity for not only just becoming network literate but also a whole variety of things, take a look at the image below.
Overall, it becomes clear that although explicit knowledge helps form the foundations for the things we begin to experiment with, it’s the nature of tacit knowledge that forms the basis for learning through doing, experiencing what it means to do things, in the context of this essay however, what it means to become network literate, there are things online we can’t always explain and document, we have to be able to pick up and recognize things for ourselves, to create an innate sense of understanding about how to go about accessing and exploring this vast web of information, entertainment and gratification. Although some may be more literate than others, in a sense, the majority of individuals in first world countries today are network literate, even if it’s just understanding how to use certain things online, others may have extensive knowledge of how to create a link and how to code a website, but ultimately these things are taught through experience rather than explicitly learning.
References can be found here.