Oh Noah!, the PBS KIDS GO! web series formerly known as Noah Comprende, is rolling out a line-up of new animated interactive videos and games that introduce kids to Spanish. Games embedded in the videos, together with other interactive challenges and adventures on the website, provide children ages six to eight with an engaging introduction to Spanish vocabulary and common phrases.
The videos star nine-year-old Noah, who is staying with his grandmother in a community where everyone speaks Spanish. A series of misunderstandings launch comic misadventures for Noah, as he tries to communicate with others who don’t speak English. In Noah’s new adventures, language misunderstandings take him to the Arctic in a madcap search for a mama polar bear, to a dude ranch, where he lands on the back of a bucking bronco, and to the circus, where he finds himself part of a daring trapeze act. Somehow Noah always manages to solve the problems he’s created, learning Spanish in the process.
Releases of new interactive videos will begin on May 3. In each of the short episodes, kids have the opportunity to move their cursors over objects on the screen to hear the names in Spanish and play a series of arcade-style games that reinforce learning. Additionally, the Oh Noah! website will feature two new character-driven games that encourage replay and retention.
The May 3 launch will feature “Curtain Up!,” an open-ended introduction to digital storytelling in which the player creates a whimsical stage narrative by choosing sets, props, actors, music, and a title. “Noah’s Adventure,” which uses board game conventions as a springboard for a journey to places Noah visits in the videos, will debut later in May, along with another new interactive video. Games and videos will continue rolling out in June and throughout fall 2012. Online games featured already on the site will be refreshed with new sets of thematically linked vocabulary words associated with each new video. “Match It,” “You Catch It,” and “Word Race,” incorporate leveling and racing against the clock to encourage replay and repeated vocabulary exposure. “How Do You Say…?” helps kids learn common expressions in Spanish by matching illustrations to the appropriate phrase.
Each new Oh Noah! installment will offer dynamic hands-on activities for parents/caregivers and lesson plans for teachers that further explore the vocabulary introduced in the videos and games, and extend the learning. Printables connected to the activities will be downloadable on the website.
Sandra Sheppard, director of THIRTEEN’S Children’s and Educational Media, and Jill Peters, director of creative development, serve as executive producers of Oh Noah!. Michelle Chen is producer, Marj Kleinman is senior web producer, and Corey Nascenzi is outreach manager. David Matthew Feldman and Louise Gikow are the series writers. Mariana Swick is the educational advisor. Renegade Animation produces the Oh Noah! animation and Bluemarker LLC is the website and game developer.