New Web site helps students learn about the arts

April 19, 2001

New Web site helps students learn about the arts

Mont Alto, Pa.

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

Nancy Funk and Jonathan NortewegPhoto: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

TAPPS - an acronym for theater, architecture, photography, painting and sculpture - is a new Web site developed by a Penn State Mont Alto professor and five students to try and take children's interests away from television and video games and increase their interests in the arts.

Nancy Funk, 60, professor of arts and theater, had been lecturing regularly on the five creative arts subjects at Fairview Avenue Elementary School in Waynesboro, Pa., when she decided to develop the Web site.

"I could reach a larger audience on the Internet," she said.

Funk received a $2,400 grant to launch the project. She hired a senior student at Penn State's main campus in State College, Pa., to start it, then enlisted the help of the five Mont Alto students to build Web pages. "I gave them the ideas and they did the work," she said.


It took four years to finish the Web site, which went on line April 6.

Designed for fourth- through sixth-graders, TAPPS uses games and puzzles to make learning fun, Funk said.

"It teaches creativity, problem-solving, appreciation of the environment through architecture and sparks their imaginations," Funk said.

Very few Web sites offer art appreciation for children, Funk said. "I know. I surfed the Internet all summer. Those that I did see were filled with text that concentrated on the artists. There were very few photographs or graphics.

"My page concentrates on the art works," she said. "How can a child create art work if they don't know how to look at a work of art and analyze it?"

The Mont Alto students who worked with Funk on the Web site, in addition to honing their computer skills, said they learned a lot about the five subjects they put on it.

Jonathan Norteweg did much of the overall design, while Mohammad Hussain worked on the painting and sculpture pages. Mike Cave did the photography pages plus the overall quality control, while Geoff Rickett did the theater page and did most of the voices on the site. Jessica Snider did the puppets.

"We created the games and puzzles that help the kids understand the artwork," Norteweg said. "We then had to translate everything to the four- to six-grade level."

That was one of the most difficult tasks, Funk said.

"That's not easy to do," Funk said. "We had to make the site entertaining as well as educational. I believe you should have fun while you learn."

The Web site address is

The Herald-Mail Articles