Florida's 'City of Wonders' Exhibit to Tour State

The Florida League of Cities is taking an exhibit of its City of Wonders project, which showcases local governments' use of technology, on a two-year tour of the state.

The City of Wonders (www.cityofwonders.com) exhibit is designed to educate citizens, especially children, on challenges facing cities today and in the future by focusing on quality-of-life issues such as crime, transportation and education. The exhibit will spend about three months in each of eight science centers across the state, including Daytona Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee and Miami.

The City of Wonders exhibit is expected to draw more than 1.5 million visitors during its tour. "We want the citizens of the state to know that the quality of life they have is not by accident," said Mike Sittig, executive director of the Florida League of Cities. "Lots of people make decisions that affect your quality of life and some of those people are elected, but some are not."

Other components of the City of Wonders project include a virtual city, which will simulate the traveling exhibit via an interactive site on the Internet. "Technology gives us the opportunity to build off the exhibit so that people that can't physically get there can visit it online," Sittig said.

The project also includes teacher training workshops, which will be conducted at each science center prior to the exhibit's arrival. "Science centers use the term 'edutainment' to teach kids, and this teacher training will ensure that the teacher fully understands what the students should be learning while they were having fun with the technology," Sittig said. "It helps the teachers teach the students."

The project also will highlight standards and practices on the use of technology in local government. Models will be created, such as guidelines for designing a city Web page or forming partnerships with state universities, that enable governments to use the latest technology efficiently, Sittig said.

A best practices library also will be included, where cities can research new ideas and technologies before starting new projects. The League of Cities also wants to offer its members technology services via the project. The first step of that process began with the offering of CivicTracker complaint-management software to members. CivicTracker traces the customer service paths of citizens who report a problem to city hall.

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