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Evansville students turn to web to promote benefits of hometown

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Gina Duwe
January 31, 2013

— It can be tough for 12- and 13-year-old students to understand the meaning of culture, but a workshop last summer at the Smithsonian Museum in New York City sparked an idea for Evansville social studies teacher Beth Oswald.

"When I signed up, I always thought, 'This is something that my kids have a hard time grasping,'" she said.

During the workshop, she took walking tours of Harlem and talked with locals about living there.

"I thought this would be kind of cool to include as part of a larger unit," said Oswald, who teaches the 140 seventh-graders at J.C. McKenna Middle School.

The result is a collection of websites created by teams of students that market the city of Evansville and explain why they think it is a great place to live. The students started by looking at culture from things they are familiar with—their families, pets and peer groups—then surveyed their parents and adults about living in Evansville.

Students were told they were to work as an advertising agency, creating a website using Weebly or Prezi to encourage people to come to their city. Oswald and library media specialist Meg Farnung spent several weeks in the computer lab helping students create the projects.

When they were done, the students gave presentations to a panel of community experts, including the mayor, a local historian, an alderperson, retired teachers, school administrators and longtime residents.

The students' creations are available at cometoevansville.weebly.com.

"All in all, they were really proud of what they did, and they should be," Oswald said.



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