I am teaching grade 8 current events this year and we started with a few discussions around edtech and items from the news. We are also using monthly news booklets from Classroom Ready. The bulk of our time was spent in discussions about current news stories.
We had two major problems:
1. The conversation was dominated by 5-6 students and myself.
2. I had no good way to give them a mark on their conversations.
Edmodo. Now, I can give them article, promote discussion and then make sure everyone has a chance to respond in a non threatening way. Some of the students are even using it to post articles and questions after hours. Cool.