- Press Release: "The Oregon Trail, MECC & the Rise of Computer Learning Display" Opens to the Public at The Strong Museum in Rochester NY on June 17, 2017


Last year, MECC’s Oregon Trail™ world-famous simulation game was selected by the The STRONG Museum of Play to be enshrined in its heralded Hall of Fame. Today, we have another exciting Press Release from them! Read on!

You may recall our earlier RE@L Blog on that great Hall of Fame honor. Click here.

Yes it was an honor! But wait…there’s more! The Strong Museum has now further featured MECC  and its software memorabilia history by creating a new exhibit showing MECC’s many, accumulated software products and posters over the years. It’s just like another OT™ trek to Oregon, but this one shows all the creative products and resources that were developed along the way. These continued efforts resulted in the most successful K12 learning game simulations of all time.

DaleThose creative products made MECC welcome in classrooms and homes around the world. It made learning fun and effective! But the best news is that now there’s a new software trek being driven by Real Experiences At Learning (RE@L) and their talented teams who made it happen at MECC.

It isn’t just Oregon now that’s our destination at RE@L, it’s a whole new destination of new software products that use today’s powerful new virtual tools. RE@L is able to connect learners and teachers everywhere and share their work and findings. It’s the new real-world of project-based learning and RE@L is leading the way.

For the story-behind-the-story of last year’s annoucement by The Strong Museum, click here.

Don R2Don Rawitsch, Executive VP at RE@L, and one of the creators of the world-famous OT™, realizing the extent of the descriptive artifacts and memorabile from MECC’s software days, contacted The Strong Museum and offered to contribute these historical documents and products for a museum exhibit. Guess what? The Strong ran with the idea.

And, now, less than a year later, here’s The Strong Museum Press Release announcing the opening of the new MECC memorabilia exhibit:


The Strong Museum of Play – Rochester NY

The Oregon Trail, MECC, and the Rise of Computer Learning Display Opens at The Strong Museum on June 17.”

ROCHESTER, NY—Explore the history of educational software at The Oregon Trail, MECC, and the Rise of Computer Learning display opening June 17 at The Strong museum. Learn about the pioneering Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation
(MECC), which played a prominent role in helping schools to integrate computers into classroom learning, and view dozens of artifacts donated by the founders of MECC.

“MECC was a pioneering producer of educational games and published the most recognized, most influential educational game of all time, The Oregon Trail,” says Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “Because of this influence, The Oregon Trail was inducted into The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame
in 2016.”

Play original versions of The Oregon Trail and see artifacts chronicling the history of MECC, including examples of iconic games, such as The Oregon Trail, Storybook Weaver, and Word Muncher, and internal pictures and press clippings describing the company and its impact on games and education. Started in 1973 as a consortium of educational systems for providing computing to classrooms throughout Minnesota, MECC operated the first statewide mainframe timeshare computer for classroom use and later initiated the first wide-scale school purchase contract for personal computers. 


Statement from RE@L Chairman Dale LaFrenz

“MECC evolved from state-education-owned to private company to a public company in its more than two decades of existence. MECC also led the way into an industry roll-up, and several generations of its talented staff members went on to found and populate other ed-tech companies.  In fact, RE@L, Inc, another Minnesota company, formed and operated by former MECC staff is now a leading proponent of new ways to involve digital technology in K12 schools as they pursue the national STEM curriculum,” says MECC co-founder and RE@L Chairman Dale LaFrenz. “In its evolution, MECC influenced the education of millions of children in the United States and abroad. MECC alumni across the ed-tech world are honored to work with The Strong to share this legacy with the museum’s guests.”


We at RE@L are thrilled at seeing this new exhibit of MECC product and memorabilia. It tells everyone how RE@L’s powerful and effective new K12 software can inform students. All that’s needed is access to computer and mobile devices, and the many, interested teachers who want to use these new tools and resources with the students they serve. 

Creating these powerful, new tools with today’s active learners and dedicated teachers is an exciting journey for all of us.

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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.