|Title||Tell Me More|
|Author||Tell Me More Language Learning Software|
Tell Me More (originally Auralog) is a well-established language learning resource which has been developed and refined over 25 years. Auralog was also the first company of its kind to offer advanced speech recognition. The web-based software, which will run on tablets as well as PCs, is based on the communicative approach and encourages the user to interact as much as possible and to apply language skills to real-life situations. There are several languages to choose from (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch and Mandarin Chinese) and around 40 different activities, including video, interactive speaking tasks, grammar modules and consolidation tests.
The first stage for any user is to watch a short video explaining how to use the software and then either select a level or to take the initial placement test. This test is completed on-line using the software in order to assess the learner and place them at the appropriate level, from beginner to expert, using levels A1 to C1 established by the European Council. Tell Me More promises to raise attainment by one skill level after 40 hours of practice using the programme.
Once logged-in the user is presented with a very useful homepage which offers instant access to lesson details, news, messages, a summary of lessons completed and progress and options for training, resources, tests and useful statistics. My first impressions were that the software and programme are clear, comprehensive and motivating for the individual learner and very professional in their presentation and operation. Once the user has established the appropriate language level they click on “continue” to start a learning path that follows a pedagogical progression. When a student closes and reopens their programme they pick up at the point at which they were last working. The Resource page allows one to access a number of different areas, such as language explanations, conjugations, glossary, etc. The main language reinforcement and testing takes place under Training though and here you have access to all of the lessons and the interactive situations. There are hours and hours of material to test all four key skills, all based on the various skill levels established earlier. Once the user has selected a topic and a range of skills to test, the software will set up the course in a matter of seconds and let you know how long it will last (it does not have to be completed in one sitting) and the range of exercises involved. I particularly liked the multiple-choice conversation tasks where the user has to respond to the situation. In one German task this meant the unexpected arrival of a friend whilst packing for holiday and in another French exercise responding to somebody shouting ‘au secours’ whilst in a café in France. These tasks lend themselves very well to the role-play scenarios in CIE IGCSE and the need to react on the spot and listen for a reaction from the other speaker. Pupils would also very much enjoy the interactive nature and the ‘conversation’ element that uses voice recognition technology. The fact that the user has the options to each part of the conversation and can therefore guide the situation is also appealing and builds confidence. When beginning a learning path, all three options are ‘correct’, however later in the learning path, having completed a range of activities to build vocabulary, grammar and language skills, you need to look at the image presented and then choose and say the correct response, for example ordering a hot chocolate for breakfast rather than a coffee. The fluid, natural feel of these tasks is really engaging.