Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus. The options for engaging students through social media can be overwhelming. The tool that I have found allows for the most appropriate exchange and provides for the best educational opportunities is Twitter.
As a Twitter user, I include my feed on my Moodle Page. Students, parents, and colleagues from around the world can follow me. I can also follow them. This exchange of ideas allows for robust learning in and out of the classroom.
My most recent Twitter success was during a simulation of negotiations between Iran and the G5+1 over the Iranian nuclear program. A colleague forward me an email from the Choices Program at Brown University. The Choices Program was hosting a lecturer on the Iranian Nuclear Program and opening up questions via Twitter for the professor. My students tweeted (through their personal accounts or via mine) their questions and the professor responded. They loved that their ideas and questions were being taken seriously and heard on an international forum.
Another use of a Twitter-like-program is called Today's Meet. In a closed chat room, it provides a closed forum for students to Tweet. Both my colleague and I used it during our different sections of Middle East History during the Iran Nuclear Negotiations. One person per group was assigned the role of Tweeter. They would Tweet their sides' main points throughout the negotiations. If a student Tweeted something factually incorrect, I could Tweet a correction. During a simulation such as a negotiation, it can be hard for students to take notes. This provided them with a record of the conversation. The students received the Tweets at the end of the negotiations so that they could study them for their test.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about using social media tools in the classroom.