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Dual coding

This video explores how the use of dual coding and collaboration can help to build pupils' knowledge and understanding.
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It was an exam question, which basically was, ‘describe how monoclonal antibodies are produced, which is quite a common question and it’s one that they do tend to pitch at the higher level pupils. ‘Can you log into Nearpod, type in the code that’s on the screen, ket gx. Okay, you’re going to need Microsoft Word open for the recall challenge. That’s an important one because we’re going to be sharing that with each other in your response to that question.’ So from the beginning, it was a very open question that they were asked, which was, ‘what do you know at this point?’
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It’s just a good way for me, obviously as a teacher, to just set the scene if you like, so they wrote down what they knew. A few key ideas but even the brighter pupils, they weren’t really putting their ideas together in a cohesive sort of logical way. ‘I’m not after perfect answers at this point, just the ideas. Just what you know, okay?What you can recall now from memory. We’re going to build on this in a little while.’ So the second part of the lesson was collaboration. The first thing I wanted them to see was what each other person was doing. So obviously, the technology that we had available was very useful for doing that.
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So back in the day, you’d have all the class open, you’d be doing circus activities, and they’d be moving around the room. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that but I think it’s a little bit more sophisticated if you can see, in real time, what other people are thinking from a teaching perspective rather than a learning perspective. It allows me to actually see an overshot of the class, of where they… they’re all that. I’ve opened the collaborative board, you can see on the screen there. All I’d like you to do is copy and paste what you’ve put for the recall challenge, which is how do you produce a monoclonal antibody? Remember, I’m not after complete, perfect answers.
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This is just the recall to see what we know at the minute. If you could post them in so everybody else can see what you’ve put and then I’d like you to read other people’s responses and perhaps draw out some of the key ideas. So once they got the basic understanding of how monoclonal antibodies are produced, we gradually introduced the dual coding then, so a diagram that kind of logically ordered the process, but we’ve no text on there, was then presented to them with the idea of the fragments that you could see when they were collaborating, could be pieced together. ‘What I’m going to do is, I’m going to try and draw for you the uses of these monoclonal antibodies.
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Three specific ones. I’m not going to speak when I do this, I want you to just watch, okay? and then you’re going to commentate. You’re going to write down what you think the diagram is showing you.’ Again, the collaboration afterwards showed you the extra depth and the extra detail; extra understanding they were gaining from the dual coding approach. It was certainly evident to me because I was monitoring on my iPad. ‘What’s been attached to the antigen then?’ So the next part of the lesson was, one of the tools I do use to to mix it up is where it’s still dual coding but it’s what we’re going to use these monoclonal antibodies for now?
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What are the uses and so they had to do a commentary, so I basically was in real time, no pressure, doing the dual coding. ‘So all I want you to do, is write down our commentary for this diagram. What is it actually showing you? What’s it telling you? So why does the antibody join to the antigen? Why does it join to that one and not the other three? [pupil response] That sounds like wonderful commentary to me everybody.’ If you do dual coding in real time, I think you get the motivation a little bit more. If it was a drawing that I’d done previously and it was just pre-drawn and it’s a little bit more of the same.
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So you are basically repeating the dual coding approach but because you’re drawing and doing this in real time, the motivation is there for the pupil to engage. And with more difficult concepts, which is what these were now we were moving on to - I think that’s imperative, that pupils are motivated to engage with the dual coding. ‘So what does WBC stand for and it’s not world boxing championships. Absolutely, what kind of cell might this be that we’ve attached the monoclonal antibody to? See if you can fill in the gaps.’ In terms of technology collaborations, the big…
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a big factor, real-time feedback from the teacher; feed-forward from a teacher’s point of view, it’s much easier to have one iPad with 30 statements. You can very quickly skim read through and pick out the key points, which I’m sure every teacher will know, you get very good at than circulating around the class one at a time. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t motivate pupils and the question… the questions aren’t focused enough to actually take pupils forward in their learning and stretch and challenge them as well in lessons, which is obviously the aim of any good teacher.

In this video, Lee Hulse, Science teacher from The West Grantham Academy St Hugh’s (secondary), shares how he has made use of technology to build pupils’ knowledge and understanding with dual coding and collaboration.

Lee shares his approaches to dual coding and how technology has helped him to carry this out effectively in class to build pupils’ understanding of complex topics. He uses it alongside elaboration techniques and collaboration to maximise its effects.

The tool used by Lee is:

  • Nearpod – an interactive classroom tool
  • Whilst Lee makes use of an iPad and stylus, consider what might enable you to achieve similar in your own context if you don’t have access to the same technology.
If you choose to focus on this case study as part of this week’s learning, you can share any initial reflections and questions with the course community in the comments space below.
  • How might these approaches be applied in your own context to solve a challenge you’ve identified?
When you are ready click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Writing for an audience’ to see the next case study. Just keep clicking until you arrive at a case study you’ve chosen to focus on this week.
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Using Technology in Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning

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