Once Again The Oregon Trail Goes East Instead of West! Destination - The World-Renowned OnLine Smithsonian Magazine. Now OT's Everywhere!

mecc-1The Trail Masters from MECC who brought the K12 EdTech world the Oregon Trail™ (OT) have been honored again! The first time, all the kudos came as a result of this time-honored computer game of OT being chosen by The Strong National Museum’s Video Game Hall of Fame this past May.

Yes, there have been many video games chosen for the Hall of Fame, but no other K12 computer simulation learning game has been so honored.

TheStrongSo, eastward bound OT went to Rochester NY to be enshrined in The Strong Museum. Shortly thereafter, The Museum created an exhibit of hundreds of items of MECC memorabilia from those days. Various MECC team members donated memorabilia to help exhibit viewers better understand the whys and wherefores of MECC’s K12 software success over those many years. See our previous blog on this fine honor.

All this activity showed what truly made MECC different from all other software publishers in K12. MECC led the way by publishing a complete system of support materials for teachers and students. This strategy maximized the teaching and learning benefits of their hundreds of K12 software products.

MECCTo say MECC was “different” from the rest just doesn’t do it justice.  In fact, there was no other software publisher remotely like it.

MECC had a proprietary system of supportive learning goals, objectives, resources, links, supplemental materials, all designed to improve student learning as it never had been before.

SmitsonianMagSo now there’s another east coast recognition for MECC, this time from the time-honored, online Smithsonian Magazine, the official publication for the world famous Smithsonian Institute. This article by freelancer Matt Jancer  covers all 4 points of the Oregon Trail compass. Just click on the graphic to the right to read his story. 

Matt Jancer

Matt Jancer

We think Mr. Jancer did a fine job of telling the OT and MECC  stories from start to finish. That’s what a trek is all about. And it doesn’t stop there.

DonRawitschLook at the last few lines of Jancer’s story and his closing conversaton with Don Rawistch, co-creator of the original OT!  

Who knows? Maybe one day there will be a new version of the OT in our futures!

In closing we found this interesting anecdote in Wikipedia about the launch of the Smithsonian Magazine over 60 years ago“The history of Smithsonian began when Edward K. Thompson, the retired editor of Life magazine, was asked by the then-Secretary of the Smithsonian, S. Dillon Ripley, to produce a magazine “about things in which the Smithsonian [Institution] is interested, might be interested or ought to be interested.”[4] 

“Thompson would later recall that his philosophy for the new Smithsonian magazine was that:

  • It would stir curiosity in already receptive minds.
  • It would deal with history as it is relevant to the present.
  • It would present art, since true art is never dated, in the richest possible reproduction.
  • It would peer into the future via coverage of social progress and of science and technology.
  • Technical matters would be digested and made intelligible by skilled writers who would stimulate readers to reach upward while not turning them off with jargon.
  • We would find the best writers and the best photographers—not unlike the best of the old Life Magazine”

Of course, the same six points were true for MECC’s software in general, and Oregon Trail in particular

realstemsmall-950x400MECC is clearly in very good company. Now RE@L continues the same tradition. RE@L remains committed “to stir curiousity in already receptive minds.” Just read our RE@L Mission statement here.

Making this happen is easier said than done, of course. But, like the Smithsonian Magazine editors and staff, we at RE@L also know how to pique the public interest, talk to kids and teachers, create fun and effective learning games and whet their appetites for more.

RE@L stands ready to create new learning treks that take the minds of young learners in all directions, wherever their explorations lead them: West, Northeast, due East, to the heavens, across great bodies of water.  Stay tuned for more travels!

You wouldn’t believe what exciting new software we already have on our RE@L drawing boards. We do know you will soon find out. There’s more RE@L learning for young minds everywhere, more useful help to teachers everywhere, using the “Shazam!” of RE@L’s modern electronic magic to to deliver it….everywhere! Especially to those “receptive young minds.”


Please email your comments or questions to:  comments@realexperiencesatlife.com

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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.