I’ve started using backchannels [technology tools that combine the use of WiFi connections, laptop computers, and chat software and allow students to communicate during class] to facilitate large group discussions in my classroom. It helps me ensure that every student participates, even the shy ones, and gives all students a chance to jump into the discussion without the distraction of a verbal debate.
I used TodaysMeet during book club discussions and the students loved it! They created their own questions and the “leader” used them to guide the discussion. I would jump in with questions of my own and also monitor the discussions. It can be used with any subject.
Twitter is also another great method to use for backchannels, just make sure you use a #hashtag so that all the comments are in one place.