Friday, January 08, 2021

Nickelodeon's Noggin Launches First-Ever Original Long-Form Series 'Noggin Knows'

Nickelodeon's Noggin Launches First-Ever Original Long-Form Series Noggin Knows

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Noggin, Nickelodeon's interactive learning service for preschoolers, is launching its first-ever original long-form series Noggin Knows (5 x 22-min eps), a brand-new educational variety show hosted by actor and entertainer Emmanuel Carter. Available now exclusively on Noggin, the show follows Carter, an engaging instructor, as he uses his love for learning, dancing and singing to guide kids through a series of themed lessons, alongside their favorite Nickelodeon preschool characters.

You can hear the Noggin Knows theme song below as well as a Question and Answer With Emmanuel Carter:

In the series premiere of Noggin Knows, "Dinosaurs," Emmanuel teaches viewers all about dinosaurs with the help of beloved Bubble Guppy, Molly, and class ends with a dino-mite dance party. Episodes will continue to roll out weekly.

Set in a unique classroom, Noggin Knows makes learning fun and interactive, and aligns with Noggin's educational approach which aims to help preschoolers build big hearts, strong minds and healthy bodies. Lessons focus on social and emotional skills, math, literacy, problem solving, movement and concepts that expand kids' horizons in a playful and engaging way.

Noggin Knows is the latest addition to Noggin's content slate which includes the recently launched original series Kinderwood, School of Yum, Word Play and Imagination Trips, among others.

In Noggin, learning is led by the Nickelodeon preschool characters kids know and love, and developed by education and child development experts. The interactive service offers an ever-expanding library of books, learning games, activities, exclusive shorts and 1,000+ ad-free episodes of preschool favorites like PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig and Blue's Clues & You!


Making ‘Paw Patrol’ educational

Popular network reboots with research, education in mind

Chances are you know a child who is obsessed with Paw Patrol, the band of puppies who protect their community. Or Dora the Explorer, who travels around with her talking backpack and monkey friend. These are a couple of the famous stars on Nickelodeon’s network for preschoolers, Noggin. But until recently, developing children’s “noggins” wasn’t the sole focus of the brand.

Now, the network is expanding its reputation and trying to double down on learning.

Almost two years ago, Noggin acquired Sparkler, an early childhood learning platform, and launched a “massive transformation” aimed at infusing its entertainment offerings with education, according to Kristen Kane, executive vice president of Noggin, who previously held roles at Amplify Education, the NYC Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission. “What we’re doing is trying to take the relationships that kids have with these characters … and then really put the relationships to work for kids’ learning,” Kane said. “What do we know about the science that helps kids learn and how can we put it to work in this context?”

Now, Noggin’s entertainment offerings are supplemented with interactive games, books, music, podcasts, videos and recommendations for activities parents can do at home, based on their child’s developmental stage. While the development of Noggin’s content used to be “entirely driven by the creative team,” according to Kane, it is now created with the help of research and education experts with specific learning goals in mind. Media is aligned with various learning standards including those from the Next Generation Science Standards, CASEL social and emotional learning competencies and early learning standards used by the federally funded Head Start program.

Before, children might have been passive observers of some of Noggin’s media; now they are encouraged to participate. That might mean recreating an obstacle course in their living room, playing interactive games tailored to their skill level or engaging in fantasy play along with the characters on their screens. And this month, Noggin launched an interactive series featuring a virtual preschool classroom meant to recreate a preschool classroom’s key routines and activities, including circle time, which many children are missing this year.

Noggin’s shift to make its preschool entertainment educational comes at a time when many parents have loosened screen time rules during the coronavirus pandemic. Some families have turned toward educational media to try to make up lost learning time as children have missed out on critical time in preschool and pre-K classrooms while learning is remote in many places. Even child development experts who have long been especially wary of media geared at young children, like online preschool programs, have acknowledged that more screen time is unavoidable for many children who have been stuck at home most of the year.

But those experts also caution that technology is no substitute for in-person learning and isn’t always successful in teaching children. And they have urged parents to choose wisely when introducing media to their children and to opt for quality. Media produced by PBS and shows like Sesame Street, for example, have long been held as the gold standard for children’s media, and when educational media is done right, it can have a clear impact on school readiness.

Research shows it can be hard to create educational media that does in fact teach children the way they need to learn, however. One 2018 study found that few apps marketed to preschoolers were actually educational. And despite their popularity, shows like Paw Patrol have faced criticism in the past, with some critics saying they teach the wrong lessons to kids.

Officials at Noggin say they are trying to ensure their new media is high-quality and educationally effective, while still giving kids the characters they love and introducing them to topics like dinosaurs and space that can “unleash the interests and the passions of young children,” according to Michael Levine, senior vice president at Nickelodeon and chief of learning and impact at Noggin, who founded and led Sesame Workshop’s Joan Ganz Cooney Center for a decade. “While young children are often highly engaged by rich media regardless of educational design, there is a profound difference between developing an interactive game, video or book that simply commands a child’s attention versus one that will drive an important learning trajectory,” Levine said.

Trying to do the latter is “worth it,” he said, but takes considerably more time.  As the network transitions and expands, leaders there are relying on an advisory board of early childhood experts to improve their offerings for kids.

“Nothing that we would do online replaces the importance of an in-person, teacher-led classroom experience or home experience, for preschoolers,” Levine said. But “rich immersive media of high quality,” full of characters they love, “is also fundamentally important in terms of the children’s growth, learning, imagination, and the ability to form healthy habits.”


More Nick: 2021 on Nickelodeon | New Shows, Specials, Podcasts, Events, Movies, Episodes, and More!

Originally published: Monday, January 04, 2021 at 21:53 GMT.

Additional source: BSCkids.

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