Thursday, August 13, 2009

And I thought Dora was just an annoying kid with a talking monkey.

If you don't have kids, or if you're one of those parents who don't let your kids watch tv because it's "bad for them" or you prefer to "actually parent" your children, then perhaps you have not heard of Noggin. Noggin is a heaven-sent 24 hour television station geared exclusively towards pre-schoolers. Dora and Diego are Noggin's Queen and King, but there are lots of other great shows that are completely adored by the 5-and-under set.

My life would be horrible without Noggin. I am grateful for it, and I am pleased that virtually all of the shows have some educational component. For example, when Dora is going on one of her adventures she speaks in English but sprinkles in occasional Spanish. She also teaches numbers, letters, colors, shapes--all that good pre-school stuff.

Yes, the learning that happens while watching Noggin is a nice little bonus. The Noggin execs apparently think it's the best thing to ever happen to children. Either that or they are trying to ease the guilt of parents everywhere who plop their kids in front of the tv--at least if they're watching Noggin, they're learning something! Noggin's motto is, "It's like pre-school on TV!" They have a commercial where "real parents" rave about how their 2 year olds are bilingual, recognize octagons, can spell 35 words and count to 250, all thanks to Noggin. Really? It's a bit much.

I'm saving the best for last, though. At the beginning of each show, a still screen comes up with a "learning objectives" statement on it, while a very inteliigent sounding woman recited the information.

It may sound reasonable, but let me give you an example. This is the statement for Wow!Wow! Wubbzy! It's one of E's favorite shows, and it is about a yellow creature with a long tail who runs around and plays with other creatures.

"Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! enhances pre-schoolers' understanding of inter- and intra-personal dynamics, as well as their cognitive and problem-solving skills."

Huh! Who knew?

Other things children gain from Noggin shows are "metacognition*," "kinesthetic awareness" "deductive reasoning skills" and "awareness of diversity."

I am not making this up. I am not that creative.

I always wonder if any parents actually buy that junk. If they go, "You know, Tommy, your metacognition skills just aren't what they should be. To the living room with you--it's time for some Blue's Clues!"

I can tell you what my son takes away from those shows. He watches the entire episode, listening carefully for the most annoying line of dialogue. Then he yells it at the top of his lungs for three days.

I suppose Noggin would tell me he's improving his memorizational and recitational skills, as well as improving his vocal projection abilities. Lucky, lucky me.

*Post a comment if you actually know what metacognition is--WITHOUT looking it up.


Ryann said...

I actually do know what this means! Simply put, its knowing about knowing! Its like the ability to understand the mental process of the mental process! Get it?

Fer said...

I never have understood the whole metacognition and intra- and interpersonal relationship mess either. I just know that there are no commercials and my kids aren't asking me to buy them the latest peice of crap via mail order all day long. Although, after having a dream about the guy from The Fresh Beat Band, I'm wondering if my sanity is worth not having a ton of moonsand in the house.

AMENMom said...

Yay Ryann! Just for that I will buy you lunch :)

And that Fresh Beat Band guy is not too bad.

The Langhams said...

hey do I get lunch too? I know what metacognition is but I was too late. Lol.

Anyways...have you seen the babyfirstTV channel?? It is the same thing as Noggin but for like ages 3 and under! They have the same little bubbles that pop up and say what each show is supposed to teach your baby..etc etc. The bubbles also tell parents what to do with baby while you watch the show. My problem is that it is the same thing over and over..I have some of the shows memorized!!! It is a bit over the top...I just have to let her watch it though lol...

Melanie said...

Ni hao kai-nancy-lan! :) Noggin (and Disney movies) are what allow me to get dinner cooked in the evenings. And i agree, i like it because it doesn't have lots of commercials too.

I also knew metacognition and those other terms too. It's the theoretical junk they make you learn when you get an education degree and then never really use again in an actual classroom. You do sorta use it, but you could do it even if you never knew the definition. It's not like you tell the kids "Here, use this mnemonic device to enhance your metacognitive skills kiddos!" :)

Cameron Magee said...

without looking it up,

Metacognition is in reference to the quantum coordinate of the standard flux capacitor describing the inverted mechanism that drives cordial components of relative interaction.

that's what Nickelodeon taught me, Noggin.

Sarah said...

I'm here to tell you that while those terms sound very technical and sociological and blah blah -- they were probably carefully crafted by a copywriter somewhere deep in their Marketing department. Crazy marketers.

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