I just went to the globalschoolnet website. It is not only a great place for teachers to connect their classrooms up with other schools around the world, it just gives fabulous ideas for projects. The search function was very user friendly, allowing you to search by age, time of the projects, and subjects area. Their basic service is free. While they do not seem to have their own email and blogging services, they have a page devoted to sites that teachers can go to for these tools
Epals is a similar concept. It allows you to search for connections by classrooms, map or project. It is free and brags that it has its own safe email/blogging for students. This is often a concern for school districts. It also has other resources for teachers and students.
Both are sites that could be used for collaborative projects between schools. Epals may have more formal resources that might satisfy a school districts desire for safety when having students connect on the internet. Before this class, I was never exposed to these types of sites. I think that many classroom teachers would like to set up projects like these but are under time constraints when it comes to planning. Joining up on an already created project is much more appealing. As an undergrad professor, these are great sites to share with future teachers who are excited about integrating technology into their classrooms.
Skype would be a great tool to use before, during or after a global project. I have been using the video part and "skyping" into a class this semester at Buffalo. My co-hort also had a close friend return to India recently and we all have skype accounts to keep in touch. Being able to have students "see" each other during a free video call would bring them closer together. They would be able to develop that sense of community while working the project. It is so much more than the pictures we used to send as pen pals. Skype could also be sued as the reward for finishing the project. I would have been motivated as a student to email and blog another student far away, knowing we were going to be able to have a video conference to see and hear one another at the culmination. Skype makes the world a smaller place and allows for even more cultural exchanges to occur.