Sunday, March 22, 2009

TOS Crew Review: Auralog Tell Me More Spanish Version 9

For this review we were sent a new product that is "hot of the press" from Auralog: Tell Me More Spanish Homeschool Edition Version 9. (Mid-April expected launch date.) You need to have DVD-Rom, high speed Internet connection (preferred) and the accompanying headset/microphone. The software comes with two disks. The first one is an introduction Cd for the absolute beginner. The second disk - "Tell Me More-Performance" you set yourself at the correct level (by test taking or experience) and work from there. You are given a license for 5 levels of the program which is the equivalent of 4 years of the language. You can access the next 5 by contacting the company and getting a new licence.

You can make up multiple user accounts for everyone in your family. So even though the price might be considered high (~$319) you can use this for your whole family. Also, remember you are getting 4 years of language lessons.

Tell Me More uses the "immersion method" (think being dropped off at a Mexican or Spanish Airport, left to fend for yourself.) The lessons cover speaking and listening, reading and writing, grammar, vocabulary, and culture. There are also "up to 10 hours of video" where you can learn about the culture or participate in a role playing activity.

You have three choices when setting up the program:
Free to Roam: select activities of choice - create own lessons.
Guided Mode: Personalized Curriculum based on objectives and time constraints (leaving for Spain in 2 months.)
Dynamic Mode: Evaluates progress as you work, tailoring learning process to meet individual needs. This is what I chose.

My children, ages 8 and 15, began with the beginner Cd. They found it fairly easy to get through. We found out that if you don't do the microphone activities you can't go on. Sometimes the directions were not clear on the page, even after reading the help, but were able to figure out what they wanted by trial and error. Once you get the hang of it though, it is pretty consistent. My 6 and 7 year old watched on and everyone was doing salutations. The child should at least be able to read and follow directions to complete this. My 8 year old, who is motivated, is enjoying the lessons. Probably best suited for grade 4 or 5 through adult.

The beginner CD includes greetings and introductions, alphabet, conveying basic info about self, nationality, occupation, family and pets. In the second half of the Cd the student learns to describe self to others - physical characteristics and clothing - feelings, likes and dislikes.

I did some of the introductory Cd but skipped out early for the sake of this review to work on the "Tell Me More Performance" CD. I did take Spanish in high school and college (but I don't speak it, LOL!) You have the option of testing to see what level you should start at. I decided to just start at the beginning since it has been awhile since I took Spanish.

I was able to move through the exercises without difficulty. Some examples of exercises included are speech: where you have repeat word or phrase and the speech recognition technology estimates how well you said the word. You can repeat the word as many times as you want and compare it to the native speaker. Crossword Puzzles: They say the word and you have to spell it correctly in the crossword. There is a hint button that tells you if you are right or wrong if you are having difficulty. There are also phrases accompanied by a picture where you have to pick the correct response.

You are free to continue activities as long as you want. You can print out certificates as you complete different levels if you would like. There are also achievement and progress test you can take. You can see how you did on these and find out what level you are as decided by the "Council of Europe." Also available is a weekly 30 minute online lesson. The lesson is from Euronews and is totally immersion. I watched a news report and tried to follow along. I imagine this would be more profitable after doing a few levels of Tell Me More. The news reporter spoke fast. Listening to it on a regular basis would help get more of an ear for the language and help develop comprehension in the language.

The start up menu has a PDF version of the activity guide and user manual. There are lesson study guides available on the website. There is also 24/7 advisor (in English) that you can contact if you have a problem. Also, progress is guaranteed after working through at least 50 hours of the program.

I didn't find any difficulty setting this up and getting started. I think it is a great program, although the price might be considered high. There are several languages available to see more visit their website.
To learn more visit: TELL ME MORE!
(Please note, I have reviewed version 9 which is not yet available. On the website you will see info for version 7 only - as of April 1, 2009. Version 9 has an expected release date of mid-April)

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