One of the ideal tools to do this is using both synchronous and asynchronous tools. The synchronous tools include a video cam and a program like illuminate or skype to have the class interact on real time topics. They can share documents, discussions, and websites as a part of the daily classroom regime. If you are doing it asynchronously I had a great deal of success using an LMS system called Blackboard. Within that system there are not only discussion, testing and content areas but a group area that allows students to post and check out their work, use chat, use wimba for real time work, and it allows you to control who is in the group. I am sure there are other programs with some of these tools in them but it was nice to be able to use all of them.
I also think building your content in areas like school tube, facebook, and other social media programs allows you to have an instant discussion with students. Using cell phone technology can help to, podcasts and twitter can also connect you directly with your students.
Check out http://www.schooltube.com/
How have you used SchoolTube in your curriculum? It’ll be great to learn more about how you’ve incorporated the site into your classroom. Thank you!