5 Interesting Facts – All About Agriculture

1. Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world

2. There are 914 million acres of farmland just in the U.S.

3. The average U.S. farmer can feed 155 people

4. Beef farming accounts for 29% of American farms

5. In 2015, $133.1 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported around the world

Learn more about the current state of Agriculture with our FREE infographic.

Find out all about our great new innovative learning tools for agriculture skills training:

A Recipe for Creating Careers

By Diane Ross, M.Ed., Realityworks Senior Field Account Manager for NC, SC, VA, WV

Creating Careers, not preparing students for a job. That’s the message I took away from a recent meeting with Dr. David Barbour with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. During our time Barbour, an education consultant for Career and Technical Education (CTE), discussed how and why his department is focusing on Creating Careers, not simply preparing students for a job.

Pushback

The main reason for resistance Barbour hears from parents who may be reluctant to encourage children to take CTE Course is based on an old premise. Many still believe students should get trained for a job at a company and work at that job their entire lifetime. That just isn’t how companies work anymore. Some manufacturers get bigger, others are absorbed by a new industry or the products become outdated and the company chooses to go out of business. This has left some parents facing unemployment late in life. The adage of getting and staying at a job your whole life no longer works today.

The Recipe for Success

Barbour is embracing a whole new way of looking at preparing students for the workforce:  he calls it ‘prepare for careers, prepare for education’ (education, work, education, work). He believes that schools need to prepare students for a career, not just a job. This means learning skills and getting a job, then pursuing more education and moving up the job/career ladder. Through this recipe for Creating Careers, students are prepared to work for any company because they have the basic premise of how a company operates and are continually building skill and knowledge. The employee becomes a lifelong learner, continuing to advance in their career and ready to move into a new and better job.

A Bright Future

Nationwide, the graduation rate for students enrolled in a CTE Concentrated course is 13% higher (90%) than students enrolled in other courses. More than 75% of secondary CTE concentrators pursued postsecondary education shortly after high school. This supports that ‘education’, ‘work’, ‘education’, ‘work’ thinking. Building a career is personally rewarding, creates a strong workforce and allows people to thrive. CTE is truly a key element to building a bright future for our emerging workforce.

From Our Product Support Team: Testing RealCare® Baby’s Head Sensitivity

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Are you concerned that one or more of your RealCare Baby infant simulators may have a sensitive head? Although this is uncommon, general wear and tear can occur over time, including the loosening of Baby’s head. If you are concerned that Baby is triggering head support failures too easily, there is a way you can test Baby’s head to verify whether it is within product specifications or if it does indeed have a loose head.

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Test RealCare Baby’s Head Sensitivity

You’ll need:

  • Baby, unplugged from charger
  • An ID
  • A Bottle
  • A Diaper

Directions:

  1. Lie Baby flat on its back.
  2. Select the Baby on your Control Center Software.
  3. Click “Demo.”
  4. Select “Preset 1.”
  5. Click “Start Demo.”
  6. When you hear Baby start crying for care, gently pick it up from the shoulders and do not support the head.
  7. Register the ID, then administer care. You’ll know immediately whether a head support failure has occurred by Baby’s cry.
  8. When the care event is completed, lie the Baby flat on its back and wait for the next care event.
  9. Repeat Step 6, remembering to not support the head. Again, you’ll know immediately whether a head support failure has occurred by Baby’s cry.

The key to this test is the fact that RealCare Baby is designed to not trigger a head support failure solely because it was picked up gently by the shoulders without head support. If you have followed the above steps and confirmed that you cannot pick gently pick Baby up by the shoulders without triggering a head support failure, then the Baby will need to see “the doctor” – our Product Support Team!

We can be reached by calling 800.830-1416, option 2, or emailing productsupport@realityworks.com.

See a demonstration of Baby’s Head Sensitivity Test by viewing our head sensitivity test video here.

I Can, We Will Make a Difference

FFA is out in full force and showing their best qualities and mission of “making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for Premier Leadership, Personal Growth, and Career Success through Agriculture Education.” Students and educators are showing how they not only care about great practices and programs, but also how important it is to have each student gain valuable experience and education.

I Can. We Will.

The FFA convention motto states “I Can. We Will.” and it is easy to see how this is being lived out. Each student has honed their craft, focused on their skill development and prepared tirelessly to show their abilities from parliamentary procedure to judging, flower design to persuasion speeches. It has been great to see so much hard work and their capacity to encourage one another. Win or lose, it is making the Ag community better, sharper and a more well-oiled machine.

Hands-On Collaboration

From the exhibit floor, it has been an honor to discuss best practices and learning styles of their classrooms and students with so many Agriculture educators. We enjoyed watching as the exhibit booth became a place for educational ideas. As one teacher was talking about how much they would use the Plant Science Kit, another started sharing ideas of a classroom activity using ‘smores to create the cell walls of a plant. The discussion got both educators more and more engaged and excited as they collaborated about how the best ideas come when they are looking for more engaging ways to bring learning to their students. As they moved over to look at the Animal Science products, they engaged more teachers talking about how the Ruminant Model could be used multiple times as their students learned about digestive systems and how getting a real ruminant from a butcher could enhance the real-life understanding.

Reality at Work

The engagement of teachers as they discussed how they best teach different topics brought the motto full circle. Not only are they looking to find more ways that they can, but they are also learning from each other, working together even when they are from states as far away as Ohio and Texas or Florida and Oregon. They are seeing and benefiting from the WE CAN. They are understanding that new hands-on learning models bring more in-depth learning to their students. Collaboration with their colleagues and other students brings about engagement, broadens their horizons and strengthens the bonds that make us all stronger. The FFA goals of Premier Leadership, Personal Growth and Career Success easily become a reality in this environment, reinforcing what we as a company know firsthand, that reality works!

FFA Blue and Bold

By Jamey McIntosh, Realityworks RealCareer Product Manager

Realityworks is at the 2017 National FFA Convention & Expo this week, and it is easy to feel the buzz and excitement in the air. Indianapolis is swarming with students and advisors from all over the country convening for this annual event. The FFA blue is in full force as over 60,000 students, advisors, and educators compete, discuss and collaborate in all forms concerning Agriculture. Whether or not you are familiar with FFA, it is quite an amazing sight to see and it brings me back to the Paul Harvey monologue of “God Made a Farmer.”

In a day and age where we have so many tense and conflicting views, this conference has been a breath of fresh air. Students come confidently with their professional FFA attire, look you straight in the eye when you talk with them and greet you and everyone around them with “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir.” They understand the idea of what leadership is because FFA educators and advisors teach it to them; it is part of the curriculum; it is part of the FFA DNA. These students are focused on gaining skills for their careers. They have a deep understanding that whether they end up in an Ag pathway or choose another career path, everything they are learning will suit them well.

As an exhibitor and partner with the National Association of Agriculture Educators and FFA, we are fortunate to see this all firsthand. As students and advisors experience educational products like our Cow Model and our guideWELD® VR welding simulator, we are seeing them dig deep into questions of best practices. We are seeing groups of students taking the welding coupons from our Weld Defects Kit out of the case and diagnosing the issues of the weld, inspecting each one, discussing the issue and how to fix it. We are seeing advisors using our Cow Uterus Model and discussing artificial insemination with students and how tough it can be to move the artificial insemination straw gun through that region for insemination. Advisors are seeing firsthand how using these hands-on learning aids will enhance their classrooms and deepen student learning and comprehension.

We have only experienced Day One of the FFA Convention, but it is easy to see who the future belongs to. FFA students are showing up and showing up boldly! These students have focus. They don’t just have interest, they have passion, and they see the way forward to better themselves, others and the world we all live in. They see that dedication to hard work, grasping understanding of solid agriculture concepts and using quality learning aids will help them achieve part of the FFA motto and mission of “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” This is not only something they just say; they are living FFA blue boldly every day!

Teaching In-Demand Skills: How Healthcare Educators Engage Today’s Students

By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Marketing Communication Specialist

Note: This article was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Techniques. ACTE members can read the complete article on page 19 of the current issue. Not a member? Click here to join and access this monthly career and technical education publication.

Healthcare educators are changing the way they teach patient care skills, and for good reason. Not only is U.S. demand for healthcare expected to grow twice as fast as the national economy in the next eight years, but older Americans are retiring in droves 800,000 in the last quarter of 2016 alone (Carnevale, 2012 & Kawa, 2017). As demand for nursing and geriatric care skills increases, so will the importance of using teaching tools and resources that truly engage the new generations of healthcare students — students with shorter attention spans, better technology skills and a stronger desire for authentic, real-world learning experiences than their predecessors (Hawkins, 2015).

“Curriculum may not have changed, but students are definitely changing,” said Kasey Carlson, RN, MSN, M.Ed. A nursing faculty member and educational technologist at a Wisconsin college, Carlson was a registered nurse for six years and has taught in the healthcare field for more than 10. “We used to do a lot of textbook and lectures, with very little hands-on experience. When I went to school, we didn’t have a whole lot of technology; a standard mannequin was a brand-new concept to us. But now we are looking at a generation that has been brought up with multimedia and video games. They are more real-life focused. They remember more if they have an experience.”

Teaching Today’s Digital Natives

You may have heard the term “digital native” used to describe today’s students, most of whom were born after 1995 and are therefore members of “Generation Z.” They are considered digital natives because they grew up with technology, and have never known a world without media. This means that the standard classroom model where an educator stands in front of the class and lectures just doesn’t work. Generation Z students want to be successful — in fact, the desire to change the world is a hallmark of this generation — but they will disengage with the discussion if they don’t feel connected or if they don’t see the relevance (Wotapka, 2017). Generation Z students are accustomed to immediate feedback. Current technology enables them to learn anything, anytime, anywhere. The world is at their fingertips. Thus, these students are not satisfied simply hearing about a topic. They want to see it, touch it and feel it.

That’s why Miranda Kessler, RN-BSN, is using interactive tools like age simulation suits in her health occupations program at Nicholas County Career and Technical Education Center in West Virginia. Not only do her feedback-hungry students thrive when given opportunities to engage in active learning opportunities, but such activities can help them develop employability skills like critical thinking, problem solving and attention to detail — skills that some hiring managers have found lacking in today’s students (Dishman, 2016). In the two decades she has been helping 11th- and 12th-graders prepare to obtain their state nursing assistant certifications, Kessler has seen firsthand the way her students’ learning styles have changed, and she strives to incorporate interactive teaching tools like simulators as often as she can.

“Years ago, everything was done with paper and pencil. You read the book, did the worksheet, took a written test and moved on until you got through the material and it was time for clinicals,” said Kessler. “Now, technology is front and center. Anything that captures students’ attention and can get them excited and make them want to learn is welcome in my classroom. And ‘cool tools’ like simulators always keep my kids’ attention.”

Cool Tools for Engaging Generation Z

When Kessler saw literature for the RealCare Geriatric Simulator at an education conference, she went straight to her administrator to share the discovery.

“When I told my principal about the simulator and he saw how excited I was to implement it into my program, he bought in immediately,” recalled Kessler. “He was actually the first person to try it when it arrived! He was amazed by how it changed his normal, routine activities and made everything feel much more physically demanding.”

The Geriatric Simulator sensitivity suit allows students to experience a variety of age-related physical challenges. It includes a weighted vest, ankle weights, wrist weights, elbow restraints, knee restraints, gloves, a cervical collar and visual impairment glasses. When students try to accomplish tasks like walking around, opening pill bottles and buttoning shirts, they begin to understand the way physical challenges like decreased mobility, stooped posture, cataracts and glaucoma can affect daily life.

“I wanted to be able to teach my students to be more understanding and empathetic with the aging process once we made it into our clinical rotation at the local nursing home,” Kessler said of why she incorporated the simulator into her program. “I wanted them to understand why the residents moved so slowly and I wanted them to learn to be patient and kind while working with them.”

According to Carlson, tools like wearable simulators can help healthcare educators address employability skills like empathy and sensitivity toward the elderly.

“Empathy is one of the most difficult things to teach a student. It’s something students have to experience and grow themselves, versus being told to do it,” Carlson said. “The hands-on component allows students to think critically through a procedure, but also focus on the patient, and on professionalism.”

ACTE members, log in to read the complete article on page 18 of the October Techniques issue. Not a member? Click here to join.

Safe, Spark-Free Welding Training

Over 50 percent of U.S. products require welding, including race cars, bridges, ships, computers, medical devices, farm equipment, gas pipelines, skyscrapers, automobiles, train tracks, airplanes and scooters.

Welding Training

Welding training programs are effective in many settings. One of the places these programs can be successful is correctional facilities.

Studies have shown that inmates who take part in education programs have a 43% lower recidivism rate than those who don’t.

What’s more, every dollar spent on funding prison education programs can drastically reduce incarceration costs in the first three years post-release.

Here are two more statistics for you: The U.S. will need 400,000 welders by 2025. Right now, 81% of manufacturers cannot find enough skilled workers.

Safe & Effective

The guideWELD® VR welding simulator is a safe, effective way to teach students and inmates alike valuable welding skills they can use to get a job in the manufacturing field.

Sparks are not generated. Internet is not required. All you need is a computer and a power source.

Learn More

See the guideWELD VR welding simulator in action.

For a limited time, you can SAVE $1,000 on the guideWELD VR welding simulator and guideWELD LIVE real welding guidance system. Click here to learn more.

5 Things You Should Be Doing Every Time You Deploy Baby

Sending out RealCare Baby with students throughout the year can create unique challenges. Here are 5 best practices we have gathered from talking with instructors over the years.

1. Gather available resources. There are a wealth of resources available when working with RealCare Baby:

2. Follow through. If you tell your students that if they return their baby with their wristband broken they get a zero, then give them a zero, etc. If you start making exceptions, you will weaken your program.

3. Practice makes perfect! Take class time to give all students hands-on practice before sending Babies home with them. This will solve many problems that you might have otherwise.

4. Be creative. Assign hands-on projects, like play time between students and their Babies. Have students journal and take pictures documenting their play time.

5. Do your own press. Don’t forget to toot your horn! Social media is a great way to get student involvement. Be sure to publicize what you are doing at school and in your local media. Don’t forget to include pictures!

The following are also great resources to reference:

Empathy in Geriatric Patient Care

Careers in geriatrics and gerontology are on the rise:

  • 4 of the top 6 occupations with most projected job growth through 2024 deal with geriatric care
  • Health occupations and social assistance industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and add the most jobs through 2024
  • 5 million job openings will be available in the healthcare and social assistance sector from 2012 to 2022
  • Healthcare and social assistance industry careers are projected to increase 29 percent through 2022, compared to an average of 11 percent for all industries

Realityworks has developed the Geriatric Simulator and Geriatric Sensory Impairment Kit for instructors to help students to develop empathy for the geriatric population. Both include curriculum, addressing age-related sensory challenges and patient care skills.

Will today’s students be prepared to care for our growing elderly population? What does empathy in geriatric patient care look like?

The following infographic explores these ideas and more, and is a great resource for keeping the importance of empathy and sensitivity at the front of students’ minds in the classroom.

For another great resource on this topic, check out this recent webinar: How to Teach Geriatric Sensitivity to Students.

5 Great Ways to Bring Soft Skills into the CTE Classroom

Soft skills, employability skills, people skills… however you refer to them, soft skills are critical to career success. Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge.

So how can we ensure that skills are being taught in every CTE class?

Realityworks created its own program: the RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program. Through our research, talking with educators and confirming information with business owners, we found a lot of great ways to not only engage students in this topic but to help them carry these skills on in life.

We know that adding additional topics to your curriculum can be scary. We also know educators do not have a lot of time and sometimes are unsure how to start incorporating this topic into their program.

Use the 5 ideas below to incorporate soft skill development into your classroom without stress.

Keep in mind, these ideas could work for different CTE areas, including engineering, nursing, Family and Consumer Sciences, welding and business. The goal is to start addressing these skills in your classroom!

  1. Create Conversation Cards. Write a variety of conversation topics onto note cards: “Describe the last book you read,” “Discuss the previous assignment and how you handled the questions,” or “What do you want to do after high school?” Then take 5 minutes of each class to pair students up with one conversation card and have them discuss the topic. Use this activity to teach communication skills and show your students how to converse with their peers.

Great for: ANY PATHWAY!  Make your cards about topics in class or make them general!

  1. Bring in guest speakers. Ask community members in your area of education to speak to the class on soft skills topics. Recommended questions include: “What soft skills are important to your profession?” “What soft skills have you used in the last week at work?” “How can working on soft skills get me a job?”

Great for: ANY PATHWAY!  Invite someone in that has a career your students might want someday.

  1. Take time to reflect. If you are working on specific soft skills, make sure you give students a few minutes at the end of class to write about what went well, what could be improved on and what they noticed. For example, if they are working in a group, they are developing the ability to work on a team. Have them reflect about what it is like working in a team. If they just presented on a topic to their classmates, have them reflect on how they felt presenting, what could have made the presentation go better and what they did right.

Great for: ANY PATHWAY!  Reflection time is working on critical thinking – one of the big soft skills needed in today’s work place.

  1. Create responsibility in the classroom. This could mean:
    1. Having students use day planners to help with time management (encourage blocking time for homework)
    2. Having students take care of a plant for the semester – plant it, water it, feed it and care for it. While simple, this is great for responsibility!

Great for: ANY PATHWAY! No matter what class you teach, your students need to show up on time, prepared and ready to listen and participate in class. These are all soft skills.

  1. Get the RealCareer Employability Skills Program. This program is filled with activities that hit on the KEY soft skills needed to succeed. It includes a full curriculum, workbooks, scenario cards and presentation slides. This out-of-the-box program makes it SIMPLE to incorporate soft skills in ANY CTE pathway.

Missed our webinar, “5 Ways to Address Soft Skill Development in any CTE Classroom?” Watch the recording here.