An Exciting New Trek for Oregon Trail Lovers Everywhere: Software Simulations for K12, Anywhere, Anytime!

real hi res jpgOK, all you former “Oregon Trail Trekkers” from generations gone by!  LISTEN UP! We know you’re out there. Like us, you know it’s time to revisit our Trails-Past. Much has been learned on the OT, and more is yet to be learned. And we are not just talking dysentery, here!!

The Old Oregon Trail

Hitch up! A new trek is opening soon to a trail near you! Travel in the past. Travel in the future. Travel in another version of the present. You are the trek-boss. You and your friends will be able to build new trek-games. Much lore and more lessons will be learned.

So, how about another fun and games RE@L learning ride?  One that takes you on new trails while visiting new vistas PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE in this emerging ed-tech world that is full of project based learning. It is just like the real world. It is a new RE@L world! Did you ever wonder why, 40+ years after its release, “Oregon Trail” continues to be the most talked about, most popular educational simulation software of all time. If you played it, it’s unlikely you will ever forget it! Even today there are street crossing signs on corner posts along busy streets in California asking you to take a ticket indicating your expected outcome when crossing the street. It’s probably not dysentery that will bring you down, but you never know.

“Oregon Trail” created high awareness about the positive outcomes promoted by using simulations augmented by digital-technology. The Ed-Tech Software Industry and millions of kids, their teachers and parents were amazed by the powerful impact of this learning  tool. LA Crossing Click the GRAPHIC ON THE LEFT to see how “Oregon Trail” is still helping learners who need a laugh along with a dose of nostalgia, mixed with reality.

DonRawitschOne of the original three designers of Oregon Trail, Wagon Master Don Rawitsch, wrote a recent piece in which he comments on 7 Key Issues critical to effective K12 simulation games on tablets and computers.

Excellent points they are: •   The power of collaboration: Clear back to 1971, it’s highly unlikely that any group of programmers alone could have invented Oregon Trail. It happened because of the serendipitous combination of two math/programming teachers and one history teacher, working together on a new learning game, designed a radical and effective way for kids to learn. •   The power of story: We discovered that kids everywhere loved being placed into their own personal story from the past, making complex decisions, taking risks, hoping to reach their chosen goal in Oregon. •   The power of personalization: Learners love it when the story and the lessons learned provided a chance to use what you learned and try again. A lot like life!. POWER OF SIMS     •   The power of modeling: simulations based on representing real world events makes for a meaningful learning experience and one that’s long remembered. •   The power of decision making: it is critical to give students the opportunity to practice making their own decisions when clear-cut answers aren’t available. Effective learners learn from their errors and try again. • The power of surprise: students playing “Oregon Trail” made their decisions and then waited anxiously for the computer to, pardon our colloquialism, “spit out” the anticipated results.  That sure beat waiting for your score on a bubble-sheet, plus it’s far more meaningful. It is RE@L’s real-world learning! •   The power of fun: games can marry both learning and fun, a powerful 1-2 punch to success.

We are working on two new software tools: a Back In Time Simulation game and, guess what else? A Forward In Time Simulation game, too. Games that are filled with more learning options, more collaborative teamwork and more learning that you won’t forget.

One of the new product names we are considering is “Treks in Time”. We’d love to hear YOUR product-naming suggestions, too. Join the Trek. Just enter your bright ideas in the “Contact us” section of our RE@L homepage at:

Wait till you see the many new options made available to YOU in these new simulation-building tools. You can become your own Trail Boss. So, listen up for the whistles of all those new “Treks-In-Time” trail bosses. Your whistle can be one among them.

“Let’s roll!”

PS: for all you Oregon Trail fans, here’s a fascinating video on the Story of Oregon Trail. It’s 13 minutes long, but all of us OT trekkers here loved it. Click on this icon below to see the movie:


Stay tuned to RE@L! 

Click on the globe below to return to our RE@L Homepage


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Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, and his visionary response to educational reform, was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom was an experienced high school teacher of mathematics, a school administrator, and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. He is also a member of the RE@L Team. Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L and one of the founders of MECC Software who brought “Oregon Trail” to millions of K12 kids everywhere. He has written extensively on the history and evolution of Ed Tech. His work in forging new paths for MECC’S “edutainment" software was instrumental in connecting school-markets, kids, teachers and consumer-markets/kids/parents, and now serves as the new launching pad for RE@L apps and software.

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