I left it over the weekend and by monday the topic had 782 views and 33 replies!! I was astounded and looked through all of the posts from the dedicated rugby addicts!
The next step was to get the boys involved in the forum, so I emailed them the link and they created their own username and signed in. To start with the quality of posts wasn't that high, so with a bit ofguidance regarding the structure of a well thought out post the discussion started to blossom!! We have re-visited the forum several times since it was created and I have set it as a homework task to keep the boys in touch with the progressive thoughts that were being posted. Some of the public posts were really useful, and others not so useful - but it has been great to see other points of view and how it effected people in different ways.
A good example of how it effects economy, and other knock-on effects worth discussing.....
Overall I was happy with the way this experiment turned out, I will attempt it again with another class. These are the major advantages.....
- Encourages discussion with people outside of peer group, which may have similar opinions.
- Helps develop literacy skills, by posting to the public domain I encouraged them to take pride in their work and also modelled several responses.
- Develop critical thinking - why did certain people post about specific effects?
- Sift through information and posts to find the opinions that had relevance to their topic - this is an essential skill for all learners today.
However, a disadvantage would also be that it is in the public domain, and although there are rules about bad language and inappropriate posts on the rugby forum it can still happen. Most of my students are 17, so quite responsible and aware of the real world out there and I didn't see this being a major risk (if anyone has looked at a teenagers facebook feed then we have slightly bigger fish to fry when talking about inappropriate content!)
It would be great if a few more people could have a look at the forum and have a go at posting how the 2011 RWC effected them - so far the forum post I created has had 73 replies and almost 2000 views!