I really like how in2books operates like a global book club. The fact that the pen pals the students would be working with are adults, students are provided with encouragement from adult figures they may not have in their own lives. Much of our educational research shows that students especially rely on the influences of their parents and teachers when it comes to treating their education. By placing students with an adult intended on promoting education, children have the comfort of knowing there is an adult out there that supports them. Furthermore, students get a glimpse in the global environment they are apart of, where they are given access to individuals from around the world, something they cannot simply do when up to their own devices.
Additionally, the McGraw-Hill World Languages Projects allows students from different parts of the globe to pair up and learn about one another. The program advocates students getting to know various cultures and ways of living, contingent to NYS Common Core Standard 5, which requires students to "demonstrate cross-cultural knowledge and sensitivity in communicating with others of varied social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds". This can be assessed when the students are to present on their global partner, and the student will be able to share with his/her class about a cultural background different from their own.
ePals is a wonderful way of connecting young students with other young students just like them from different parts of the world. While I'm not sure how such a program will be utilized in classrooms from a lower SES, I can value their pursuit in starting global connectivity at a young age.