Whatever happened to …


Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium

Thanks to Alfred Thompson for suggesting this topic.  It was originally inspired by a coffee mug image posted to Facebook by Peter Vogel.


I’ll use this quote from Peter as my citation and permission to re-use.
Hope you share this to see if we get others remembering MECC

Peter’s picture generated a number of great comments and remembrances of particular pieces of software.

I can remember a colleague getting all excited when he ordered a complete set of software from this organization.  I wasn’t all that excited.  After all, as a computer science teacher, all that I needed to run my program was a programming language and I was good to go.  There were some others in the school that wanted to use computers but really didn’t have anything to run.  There were products that were available but you had to purchase them.  Some were introduced to things because they knew this programmer who enjoyed writing software for others.  But I certainly couldn’t write software for the entire school.  And, the biggest reason, we didn’t have Apple II computers!

I remember the Geography teacher, in particular, getting excited about The Oregon Trail.  “There are schools in Toronto that are using it”.  That was always the ultimate insult to try to spring some money from the principal to purchase things.  There was this mystical thing about other schools doing things that we weren’t.  And, Toronto was far enough away that we really couldn’t check.

Then, there were the Munchers – Number and Word that appealed to people wanting to use computers in their class for the first time.

It would be interesting to see those people try to get these titles by the Curriculum Police these days.  We’ve come so far.

But, the thing about MECC that had an important impact on me was its vision.  Here was an organization that started out trying to make resources available for an entire state and ultimately sold titles everywhere. The concept of volume licensing may not have started here but certainly it became a thing to be reckoned with in schools.

Later, I was fortunate to serve on the OSAPAC Committee and make recommendations to the Ministry of Education about titles to license for the province.  I’m sure that there were so many similarities to the way that NECC handled things – except we looked for connections to the Ontario Curriculum!

What are your thoughts about MECC for this Sunday morning?

  • Have you every used any of the MECC software titles?  Which ones?
  • If you had to sell an administrator on the rationale for purchasing a school license for The Oregon Trail, what would you say?
  • Did you ever use Number Munchers as either a student or a teacher?  Would you use it in your class today?

Please share your thoughts via comment below.

Do you have an idea or thought that would be appropriate for my “Whatever happened to … ” series of blog posts. They can all, by the way, be revisited here.

Please visit this Padlet and add your ideas. I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

1 thought on “Whatever happened to …

  1. I used Number Munchers with very young students. I’m not sure I would use it today but 20+ years ago the idea of kindergarten and first grade students using computers was pretty novel. I suspect that my once a week class with these little ones was as much to give their teachers a free period and for the school to be able to say they were using computers as it was the kids actually learning anything. But the kids did have fun.

    I will say that the experience taught me one thing. It taught me that kids, even the very youngest, are great peer tutors. A student who knew one word or number would teach it to their neighbor. With int minutes what one 5 year old was knows by all 24 5 year olds in the computer lab. It was quite amazing.


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