Website Review

Oh Noah!

Comforting character makes second-language mistakes no big deal

  • Site's main page highlights Noah's video stories.

  • Kids get to know all the stories' characters.

  • Activities reinforce learning.

  • High-quality videos are sometimes hilarious.

  • PBS Teachers site links to Oh Noah!

Review
Pros: Videos are very short but still pack in lots of vocabulary and funny story lines.
Cons: Some games take a while to load, and some of the timed games move quite rapidly for young kids.
Bottom Line: Oh Noah! provides a solid start in Spanish while building self-confidence and relaxing kids through humor.
Learning Scores
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Kids learning a new language will immediately connect with Noah's challenges and amusing missteps.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

Funny animated videos, embedded games, printables, and extension activities for parents and teachers all introduce, build, and reinforce Spanish vocabulary, while helping kids learn to pick up contextual language clues.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Excellent Oh Noah!-specific resources for parents and teachers are available through links to the PBS Parents and PBS Teachers websites.

Our Review
What's It Like?

Oh Noah! is a PBS-based website that offers students a multi-pronged approach to learning Spanish vocab. With its funny, story-based interface, kids are encouraged to take an easygoing, just-try-it approach to learning languages. Students who are learning Spanish, as well as Spanish speakers who are learning English (perfect for a multilingual classroom), could benefit.

The site is organized into four main categories: videos, games, activities (that include printables), and characters. Kids are introduced to Spanish vocabulary in the context of whatever Noah is experiencing in his entertaining mini-stories. Stories are told in three-minute, PBS-quality videos. As videos play, kids can move their cursors over objects on the screen to hear the Spanish translations. For example, roll over the word Games on the main menu and the word Juegos appears. You'll find six main games –- mostly focused on reinforcing Spanish vocabulary –- and even more games embedded in the videos and games specific to webisode story lines.

Is It Good For Learning?

So much of learning a new language is trial and error and being willing to look a little silly. This is true of 9-year-old Noah. Short videos humorously show that his attempts at learning Spanish aren't always perfect. When Noah (who’s visiting his grandma in a town where most people speak Spanish) uses the wrong word or misunderstands something someone else says or conveys by gesture, kids watch as his newbie blunder creates a misadventure. The mistakes-allowed tone teaches kids that learning a language requires curiosity and confidence, but not perfection. Related games on the site help students practice Spanish vocabulary words and phrases and do other activities.

How Can Teachers Use It?

You can find suggested offline activities to support learning in a section specifically created for teachers via the link to PBS Teachers. Classroom options include lesson plans, webisode descriptions, and more.

Help students practice some of the vocab that Noah learns by planting the same objects in class or introducing students to similar experiences in school. Each time students come across the objects, ask students to name them. You could also reinforce the idea that it's okay to make mistakes in other contexts as students play, work, and communicate.

This review of Oh Noah! was written by

Field Notes
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Showing 5 of 5 Teacher Reviews
Gloria E. Georgian Court University Lakewood, NJ
Submitted March 18, 2013

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Lisa L. Sweet Home CSD Amherst, NY

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Mieke V. University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
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A. Shaler Windsor Charter Academy Windsor, CO

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