I have always struggled w. how to connect students outside of the classroom. Obviously Facebook has negative connotations within a school and frankly students do not want you have school intrude there or only want to use it on their terms. But Today's Meet is a great way to set up a chat room for your students to communicate in class or outside of it. You can set it up for anywhere from two hours to a year. Also if you want students to have the space for a url and a comment, you can send them to TinyUrl and it will truncate the url. Finally Today's Meet allows you to set up a hash tag within Twitter (more on that above this post). Above is a five minute video explaining how to do all of this. Others like it can be found at LearnItInFive. I found out about this idea from FreeTech4Teachers.com.