Matthew Walsh's EFL ESL website
How to do a 'key-pal' exchange.
  If you're like me you've realized that with the net and email, you could definitely do some sort of project where you have EFL learners from different countries write to eachother. This kind of thing would blow any textbook out of the water because the students would really be communicating, negotiating meaning, and the content would most likely be about cultural differences, or country characteristics, exactly what English is for!  Well, low and behold, somebody's allready thought of this and as a matter of fact there are teachers all over the world waiting to do it with you! I had a chance to do it last year in the computer lab at my high school and here are some pointers I found.

  The first thing you will have to do is help the students set up web-mail account. It is pretty straightforward but you may have to help the students who have difficulty. I prefer yahoo because it doesn't quickly dissappear without use like hotmail, and if they were to use this abroad, it would still be able to handle the Japanese characters without a special computer.
  Make sure they get  an address that is more than 8 or so characters long otherwise they will get flooded with spam. A fellow teacher came up with the great idea of having the students include their class and student number as part of their name. So, a student named Taro Yamada, student number 12 in class 3 would make the address: This served 2 purposes: the senders of mails were easy to identify by the teacher, and the students would tend not to forget the newly made address either.
  After that, you need to get the students a mail partner by making contact with a teacher that has the same idea as you. There are sites especially for this (see links below) Go to the sites, register and post messages on the site's BBS. The responses from interested teachers come to you VIA the site and then you reply via the site. I guess this stops prankers or perverts. You gotta be really aggressive about posting and reposting on the sites because after a couple of days your post gets scrolled down and nobody looks at it. Also you should write all the teachers who posted and look like they have suitable classes and wait to see who writes back.  You can't count on a reply so you have to play the odds without worrying about over-extending yourself. You need to repeat the posting and mailing process about once a week until you get enough students. After you get some contact and decide the other teacher is for real you exchange email addresses and start talking without the messages being relayed by the site.

Things to think about:
    How many students does the teacher have for you?
    What is the age group?
    How often do the students go to the Computer lab?
    What is the aim of their class?

  If you make the numbers match and the other classes level of English, and purpose for the class is appropriate then you have to test the commitment of the teacher. The other teacher will need to send you a list of students' email addresses to make this work right and because this takes some time to type out on the computer a lot of teachers will try to get out of doing it. Some of the less experienced teachers will just figure if you have your students mail them (the teacher) directly, they can then just forward the mails to the students at their end. This doesn't work. The next thing you know the students from the other country are sending you mails by the dozen asking you to forward them to your students and you'll be clicking and typing forever. Another problem with this is if the other class doesn't send letters right away, you can't write to them from your end as a pre-emptive strike because you don't have any addresses!
  So you need to get a list of the other students' addresses before you start. This list should also have a Mr, or Ms next to the Students name so you can match girls with girls and boys with boys as much as possible ( some cultures are sensitive about this). Once you have the list you can make another list with the partner school's students matched, and mail that list to the other teacher. Now you have a base to start from and all your students have an address to mail to. Getting the teacher on the other end to actually make that list is sometimes tough because they are so busy but it's the only way to make it work.
   The next problem that occurs is that the other students aren't regular about replying so you'll find some of your students dead in the water not having received a letter in a month.  At this point what I did was double layer the process. I got 2 students from 2 different countries for each of my students. That way, odds were that they would get at least one letter a week. Even so, one or 2 students were unlucky and got 2 deadbeats from 2 different countriesc
  Now that the hard part is done you can just cruise for a while which will be very welcome because this set-up part is a hassle!
There are a few different ways of giving a framework for what type of letters the students should write. One is a downloadable format for this type of exchange called 'The image of the other' (Link Below), which sets a series of inquiries for the students to ask about family, school, house, etc that is designed to highlight lifestyle differences at a very down-to-earth level. It also has some good sentence formats for writing letters like this and a sharp student could craft a mail using a lot of the language in there.
  Another, perhaps more student-centered way to decide letter themes is to simply have selected students come up to the board and write a suggestion for a letter theme, and then vote on which one looked best. This worked nicely for me, and since everybody was writing on the same theme (ex. kimonos), they could colaborate a little with eachother on the difficult to explain parts.
  So after they had been doing that for 2 months or so I had them write a report about what they had found out, and about the lives of their partner.
  Also, in order to make a test I collected sentences from my students describing something interesting they had found out about the target country, compiled them into a print to pass out and then made it into a listening test.
  It was really a wonderful activity. For most students, it was the first time they had actually used English for an authentic communicative purpose, and the time they had to prepare the mails gave them footing and confidence that they would be understood. They were, and I still ocassionaly hear of students who continued the communication far after the class project was over. One, I remember actually went to Korea and met her Key-Pal!

  Good Luck!

click on IECC, I had to post messages a couple of times, and in a couple of places but I got 4, or 5 happening from this site.

also check out
 They offered to make me a member at one point. It  sounded as if they would act as a middle-man and take care of all the matching process hassle, possibly a nice idea. They charge money to the class in the US. but not to us foriegners. They also do some Art/Music exchange type stuff.
@@This site has a whole format about how to do this type of exchange. Each letter format has a specific goal in terms of what to ask, and it's all online. The student can borrow sentences from the format and adapt them to their mail. It is called@ethe image of the otherf and is a guide for this kind of cross-cultural key-pal exchange.