When snow is in the forecast, it always makes me remember one graduate class that I taught in the middle of February. We had a major snow storm hit the east coast that year and it prevented us from meeting. I had to scramble to "have class" without actually "having class." Many years ago, it was very difficult to come up with some options.
I recently stumbled upon an article that mentioned a free back channel site called TodaysMeet. If you are not familiar with what a back channel is, the term was coined to describe everything that is going on in a room without the instructor knowing it. Think about it as passing notes back in our day!
In today's world, a back channel isn't necessarily a bad thing. We are creatures of conversation and using a back channel actually enhances and stimulates conversation of a particular topic. TodaysMeet is a great way to create a temporary chat room which anyone can join without a username and password. It's been around for awhile, but is very useful in education. Participants have to express what they are trying to say in 140 characters or less. All you have to do is share the link with participants.
Think about its potential in any classroom. If you have your own free private chat room image all of the conversations that could be discussed and developed with your facilitation and monitoring. I image having "office hours" or "tutoring" at night for students who cannot make it after school I imagine collaborative group projects, which use this as a project management tool, where students can share information and links.