Since this is a computer product, let's start with the system requirements:
2 GB of more RAM Intel Processor
XP, Vista, or 7 2 GB of more RAM
CD-Rom Drive OS X v 10.5 or later
250 MB free HD space CD-Rom Drive
250 MB free HD space
The disk does not load the games on you computer, only a record of your student's progress.
The HearBuilder software includes five listening activities, called missions, each with multiple levels of growing difficulty. When setting up students you can set their level of play, but this can't be changed. To advance, you'll need to re-enter him as a new student with a higher level of difficulty. I'll confess that I wasn't able to save my student's information, but that's because I have my computer's security level regarding cookies set very high. If I could, my son could save his progress towards earning his agent status and I could print progress reports.
Numbers (17 levels)The student must enter a numeric code into a digital lock. The code starts with 3 digits and grows to 7. Other challenges hide the keypad until after the code has been heard, sometimes delaying it for several seconds. Later distracting background noises are added.
Words (84 levels)The student will look at a screen of picture tiles and then hear three to five of them named aloud. He must click on them in the right order. Again, higher levels remove the pictures and delay their appearance or add background sounds.
Details (64 levels)
The student must pick out the correct person based on the information heard (the boy wearing shorts, for example). Tougher levels add more people.
Closure (22 levels)The student hears a portion of a well known phrase or sentence but the final word is cut off (you usually hear the beginning sound of the word). An example is "peanut butter and j....." Then he hears four possible words to complete the phrase and must click the colored button that corresponds to the best choice.
WH Info ( 12 levels)The students overhears to spies discussing evil plans--where to meet, what to pick up, etc. Then he must answer a multiple choice question about those plans. Of course you're trying to remember the details of the 5 W's, some are very persnickety--did he say Baker Street or Benson Street. Toughest game by far.
A word to the wise, don't just set up your student to have access to all levels. My son was breezing along, but when he hit the advanced levels he was asking me to do the remembering for him. When I said it's getting too hard for him and he should just quit he got upset because he didn't succeed in the mission (he was trying to stop Dr. Forgetsit from launching a Hiccupinator). If a level is too easy, a student only needs to answer the first six questions correctly to advance to the next level. Although each exercise is a game in itself, completing a level leads to a reward game--robot building, shooting space trash, etc.
So has my son's memory improved--well that's yet to be determined. He's certainly picked up some tips, like everything is easier to remember to music.
The Hearbuilder Auditory Memory software is available from Super Duper Publications for $69.95. But through August 31st you can save 30 percent with coupon code BLGAM30 . The recommended grades are K-8.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of HearBuilder Auditory Memory for the purpose of completing this review. There was no other compensation for my honest opinions.