Minnesota EdTech Makes the News: Lessons Learned from MECC's Success Make RE@L Even Better!


UnknownWe, at RE@L, are very proud of MECC’s recent foray into the news and Associated Press releases. What used to be called “getting a lot of ink”, in the old all-print days, has become “getting a lot of links” in these high-tech days of online news and social media….Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and you name it!

STrong1What’s all the fuss about, you ask? It’s all about MECC’s Oregon Trail being selected in the Video Game Hall of Fame by The Strong Museum of Games in Rochester, NY. That’s quite an honor for a 40 year old game, given the thousands of computer games played in recent years by millions of gamers, from the “Angry Birds” to “Minecraft” to Warcraft to Star Wars…..well, we could go on but won’t! So, here’s the Rest of the Story: Click on the graphic to the right.

Poskanzer PresoAs if that publicity were not enough, a local college president, Dr. Steven Poskanzer, used Oregon Trail’ lessons learned in his commencement address at Carlton College. It brought a lot of smiles and head-nodding from the graduates there. Here’s our blog on this story including a video excerpt from Dr. Poskanzer’s address. Just click on the graphic to the left. 

So, who wants to go to a Museum and just see a box with a floppy disk inside and “Oregon Trail” (OT) on the cover? Not the many good folks who worked at MECC years ago and brought OT to hundreds of thousand young learners and gamers. They believed that it wasn’t just the game itself that made OT so successful, it was also their “Secret Sauce” of expertise, research and resources that made it loved and used by teachers and students everywhere.

MECC.15The former MECC Team wanted to show the world all the memorabilia that made MECC what it was: arguably the most successful K12 software publisher ever. They sent boxes and boxes of MECC’s magic stuff to The Strong Museum to enhance the exhibit with the rest of the MECC and OT story. Click on the graphic to the right to view the original story:



The story was so compelling that our local Twin Cities newpaper, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, picked it up, and Tech Editor Julio Ojeda-Zapata wrote this fine piece for the Business Section: Click on the graphic to the left to read his article.

Pioneer PressLast but not least, one of our RE@L Blog Editors, Tom King, wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Pioneer Press extolling the lessons learned by RE@L from MECC. The letter was features in their Spotlight Section: Click on the graphic to the right to read the brief letter

The point of the story behind the story was that the recipe for the MECC’s highly successful “Secret Sauce” recipes was now on RE@L software design table. So, what is all this extra fuss about? Here’s an excerpt from the letter link above with our RE@L View on what makes RE@L unique:

“There’s an old saying that those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are condemned to repeat them. Perhaps a more instructive epithet would be a new saying that we who do not learn from the successes of history cannot profit from them.”

RE@L has not only learned these lessons from MECC. We still practice them. We are aided and abetted with an even better-talented team. We know what works and what doesn’t. We talk to teachers. We visit with students. We get parental input. We keep up on our research of what works and what doesn‘t. We develop software that includes helpful resources for both teachers and students. Among these are: suggested lesson plans, learning objectives and strategies, quizzes and tests, rubrics, helpful resources with links and media, a portal for on-demand learning.

Yes, there’s  more. The best part is we know it works…..because students and teachers tell us it works, and even tell us how to make it better.

That’s what RE@L learning software is all about!


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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.