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Product Review: TeLL me More Premium

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 3 Star Rating (6 Reviews)

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If the slogan "Have it your way" weren't already taken, Auralog, the maker of TeLL me More Premium, might have used it for its premium Spanish instructional software. Unlike some software that locks learners into one mode or style of learning, TeLL me More Premium gives the user choices not only in what he or she will learn, but how. Although you easily get what you pay for, the software is on the expensive side for those who merely want to brush up on what they know. But for those who are serious about improving their use of the language, it would be hard to come up with a more effective product.

Overview

Unlike many software packages, TeLL me More Premium is truly designed for all levels of learners, from absolute beginners to those who are familiar with the language but need help with grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation or comprehension.

One of the key features of TeLL me More is that it gives the user three modes of learning:

  • Free-to-Roam, in which the user can freely pick from a wide variety of exercises on numerous topics.
  • Guided Mode, in which the user is taken through lessons sequentially. In this mode, the user still gets to pick what topics should be covered, so someone familiar with certain aspects of the language doesn't need to waste time reviewing he is already known.
  • Dynamic Mode is similar to the Guided Mode, except that the program takes a bigger role in selecting the specific lessons in accordance with the goals set by the user and the user's performance.
Lessons are presented in activities and workshops that range from dialogue practice to crossword puzzles to writing exercises.

Special features of TeLL me More Premium include speech recognition that's surprisingly good to help the user with pronunciation and intonation; access to an Internet site that provides additional learning resources; and the ability to create your own audio CDs that you can use for practice when you're away from the computer.

System requirements

TeLL me More Premium should run on just about any computer that's equipped with Windows.

Minimum requirements are Windows 95 and above, a processor speed of 333 MHz, 64 MB RAM (more for the later operatiing systems), 80 MB of hard drive space, an 8x CD-ROM player, 800x600 video resolution and a Window-compatible sound card with microphone jack. Not all of the features are available with the minimum configuration.

The recommended configuration is a processor speed of 650 MHz or more, Windows 2000 or later, 128 to 256 MB RAM depending on the operating system, a 24x CD-ROM player, 1,224 x 768 resolution, a Windows-compatible sound card with microphone jack, and Internet access.

For this review, the software was tested on an six-year-old Windows XP laptop with close to the minimum requirements: a 475 MHz processor, 256 MB RAM, 800x600 screen resolution, an 8x CD-ROM player. Because of the computer's limits, switching between different parts of the program was a bit sluggish, but not enough to be annoying. There shouldn't be any technical difficulties at all with running this software on a Windows machine purchased in the last two or three years.

Pros and cons

Pros:
  • Thorough instruction, from beginning level to advanced.
  • An incredible number of user options.
  • Speech recognition to assist with pronunciation.
  • Available in both Latin American and Castilian versions, with some emphasis to vocabulary that's unique to certain Latin American countries.
  • 950 hours of instruction.
  • Ability to make your own audio files that you can take with you to learn while you're away from your computer.
  • Wide variety of teaching methods designed for both audio and visual learners.
  • Software can be set to tailor what is taught to the user's needs.
  • Ability to get explanations of grammar or vocabulary from almost any screen.
  • Attractive interface.
  • There's no need for the latest, priciest computer — works with almost any Windows-equipped machine.
  • Painless installation.
  • Most instruction takes place in the context of scenes relating to everyday life such as family, work or travel; there is very little use of boring drills.
  • Suitable for all ages other than young children.
  • Ability to log in with multiple user names, so everyone in the family can learn at his or her own pace.
Cons:
  • Expensive for the casual user (although less costly versions with less content are available, and it is not expensive compared with products of similar quality).
  • Not available for Macintosh or Linux.
  • In some exercises, users are locked into giving one particular answer, although more than one answer may be correct.
  • Some users might get confused by all the options available.
  • In order to get all the instruction on five CDs, videos are low-resolution.
  • Internet access doesn't work with the Opera browser.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
The program is good but...., Member elizabetta57

For an absolute beginner, not so much. You are not taught the very basics that are required to progress further into the program. When I asked where all of the basic stuff was in the program, they didn't have an answer for me, but gave me a ticket number and told me someone would get back to me. Over a month later, I finally got a response only to be told that they hadn't forgotten about me and will reply when they have an answer for me. What? Over a month wasn't enough time to give me an answer? That's crazy! Very, very poor program support.

0 out of 0 people found this helpful.

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