“We don’t know what we don’t know” – So what can we do about it?

In my work I often hear the following…

We don’t know what we don’t know

Seems fair enough, right?

I always thought so, but recently (after hearing it a lot) I’ve really be pondering this statement and am starting to wonder if it could, sometimes, just be an excuse. I wouldn’t say it’s intentional, but thinking about my time as an educator, I’ve always wanted to improve my practice and find new and interesting ways for my students (whether they are teenagers or adults) to learn.

So is there a way for us to find out what we don’t know other than having someone come and tell us through PD in our school or going to a conference?


Since about 2008/9 I have been reading blogs, lots of blogs of teachers, educators, school leaders, and other experts that have enlightened me as to what is possible! All these people have shared what they have done in their classrooms. What has worked well and what hasn’t. I have had discussions on Twitter, on Facebook and in other online forums (eg. the Virtual Learning Network).

Oh? You don’t use or don’t know how to use Twitter? You didn’t know about these forums?

What about Google?

Let’s say, for example, your school has become a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) School. Perhaps you want to know some ways to use Google Slides effectively with your students.

A quick “Google slides in the classroom” search came up with over 8 million results including the following at the top.

You can do the same for Google Docs, Google Forms etc…
And even non-Google apps things such as “Padlet in the classroom“.

Oh, but I didn’t know about Padlet, so how would I know to search for it?

Well, do you want to know about technology tools that you can use? Let’s search for “Tech tools for teachers“.

And I’ll share with you now Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for Learning. This is an amazing curated resource that Jane has been putting together for coming up 10 years!

So how do I know what New Zealand teachers are doing?

Get on to EdBlogNZ and read teacher, school leader and e-learning facilitator blogs about their experiences teaching in NZ schools!

And finally – talk to your colleagues! You might be surprised what they are doing in the classroom next door and you had no idea!

So, let’s see if we can find out what we don’t know because we want to continually improve our practice and give the benefit to our students.

Nathaniel Written by:

Nathaniel is passionate about people reaching their full potential. He has expertise and experience in education, e-learning, face-to-face and online facilitation, virtual mentoring, training, leadership and school governance.