Alan November has mentioned the work of Harvard physics professor, Eric Mazur, on several occasions. Mazur pioneered ways to use social media and the backchannel in the lecture hall to improve his teaching and, ultimately, his students’ learning. See his video here.
Purdue University has announced Hotseat, a social networking-powered mobile web application that allows students and teachers to collaborate in near real-time using their Facebook or Twitter accounts, SMS or the Hotseat web app itself. It’s Mazur formalized. It’s not open to the public (yet?), but you can see more on the promising Hotseat here.