One group are researchers and performers and the others are the production team and technicians. The researchersperformers go to the library to research the subject using the net. The other group discusses the topic and how it might be turned into a documentary.
The researchers email their material to the production team. The two groups then swap jobs. Later they produce a documentary together.
The big advantage of using the net like this is that neither group knows what it is going to get. They have to deal with the material as they find it and, as there are real case-studies on the net, stereotypes tend to be avoided.
When we did teenage runaways, students used a poem about homelessness and mimed a story about people living on the street. They interviewed "runaways" and "the police and social services", looked at the legal rights of runaways and organised a studio debate.
At the end, the class watched the video and evaluated their work. It is a permanent record which can now be shown to others as an examplar.
Stephen Alty, head of drama at Hawkley Hall High School, Wigan.