It’s All About Experience: 5 Tips for Engaging Today’s Students in Elder Care from a Seasoned Nursing Educator

by Emily Kuhn, Communications Specialist for Realityworks, Inc.

Note: This article was originally published by the National Consortium for Health Science Education in their Spring newsletter. The entire article can be found here.

It’s been 25 years since Bobby Scanlon began teaching geriatrics, and to say that a lot has changed is an understatement. Twenty-first century learning aids and technology have transformed what today’s students expect to experience in a classroom. Tech-savvy and not afraid to question what they’re hearing or seeing, today’s students love to learn, but they aren’t afraid to ask “why.” What’s more, they crave hands-on, real-world learning opportunities.

For some educators, the idea of embracing new technology and teaching styles to provide such opportunities can be daunting. However, if there’s anything Scanlon has learned in almost three decades of teaching, it’s that adaptation is not only vital to be an effective 21st century educator, but it can truly help transform your students’ education — and help them be that much more successful in their careers.

“One of my goals by the end of each class is to pass on my passion for working with the elderly to my students,” said Scanlon, who is a nurse educator with Dove Healthcare in West Central Wisconsin. “If I’m able to get even three students from a class of 10 to stay in long-term care, then that’s three more people who can touch the lives of the elderly. So I’m always looking for new ways to present a topic to my students and get them excited about learning.”

True to her word, Scanlon regularly incorporates new ideas and teaching methods into the CNA, CBRF, and CPR courses she teaches for Dove, but there are a few strategies she now consistently uses to ensure her students are presented with a variety of learning opportunities – and that there is a balance. Click here to read the 5 tips Scanlon recommends for engaging today’s health science students in elder care.

For more information on Realityworks’  innovative tools for skill training for health science programs check out the video below and visit the Health Science page.

 

Customer Spotlight: Marana High School Welding Program

By Jamey McIntosh, Realityworks RealCareer Product Manager

“Ultimately, everything we do at school is an investment in our future. Our return on investment in CTE programs is extremely high.” – Dr. David Mandel, Principal, Marana High School, AZ

I recently had the privilege to walk into one of the top high school welding and manufacturing shops in Arizona. It was a privilege for many reasons (not just because it was 97 degrees outside and air-conditioned in the shop). It was a privilege because once I stepped into Marana High School Welding Instructor Kenton Webb’s welding shop, I knew there was something special about this program.

Located about 20 minutes northwest of downtown Tucson and about 5 minutes from Saguaro National Park, Webb’s welding program sees about 250 students go through the shop doors every year – an increase of almost 200 students from when Webb started the program almost a decade ago. In the last nine years, the program has come to be one of the premier high school welding shops in the state, which is why our team jumped at the opportunity to visit in person and learn how Webb utilizes Realityworkswelding training tools and others to engage his students and help them develop skills.

As we walked around Webb’s impressive shop for the first time, we asked him to tell us how the shop came to be. As Webb recalled expanding from a single small shop to two, securing the support of school administrators and funding from grants, etc., I found myself becoming more impressed – especially when he shared that he designed most of the shop’s layout himself, and his students built many of welding booths themselves.

Today, Webb uses a combination of simulators and other spark-free training tools along with live welding training tools to help his students become proficient.

First-year students use Realityworks’ guideWELD® VR welding simulator to hone basic welding skills, eventually moving on to using the guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system to understand proper welding techniques (and master bad habits). Finally, Webb lets students loose to weld without any guidance, challenging them to identify and assess their own welds using the RealCareer™ Weld Defects Kit.

What we saw and heard made Webb’s passion for educating clear. Webb knows that being able to help his students truly understand where an in-demand skill like welding could take them is key to engaging them in welding training, and the impact of that understanding was obvious with every student we spoke with. We talked with Kylie, a senior who, of her own accord, took a week-long underwater welding class during spring break. During our conversation, her excitement and pride in the skill Webb has helped her hone came through loud and clear. With every discussion we had, it became more and more obvious that Webb’s students saw welding not only as a skill, but a career.

Our visit happened to occur two days before Marana High School seniors graduated, so there was a palpable excitement in the air. When I asked a few of them of their post-graduation plans, I was struck by how confident they were – a trait I credit in part to the great work being done at Marana High School. These students had plans; they had summer jobs and post-secondary educational opportunities lined up. They were getting offers out of high school for well-paying jobs and they were being accepted at tech schools and colleges.

I had a chance to speak briefly with Marana High School Principal Dr. David Mandel. One of the statements he made stuck with me. He stated that no matter what each Marana High School educator is teaching, “all kids are career-bound,” and they take that very seriously. It’s clear to me that with hard work comes success, and with a passion for welding education and training, Marana High School and Kenton Webb are making a huge difference for welding education, and for each and every student that goes through his classroom.

Hear Webb’s students react to their welding experiences by watching the complete video.

15 Ways to Teach Soft Skills in Your CTE Classroom

What are soft skills?

Soft skills, employability skills, job-readiness skills, emotional intelligence… there are many phrases used to describe these skills, but they all mean one thing: they are the personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. They’re considered the “bedside manner” of the workplace.

We’ve heard others say, and we agree – hard skills might get you in the door for an interview, but soft skills will help you get, and keep, a job. And most importantly, that concept applies for ANY job – soft skills are vital for all career paths.

What makes them so vital?

According to a 2016 PayScale survey of more than 60,000 managers and 14,000 recent graduates:

  • 46% of managers said young workers would do well to hone their communication skills
  • 44% of managers reported a lack of leadership qualities.
  • 36% reported lower-than-needed interpersonal and teamwork skills.
  • 60% of managers claim the new graduates they see taking jobs within their organizations do not have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they feel are necessary for the job.
  • 57% of manager say they look for a candidate that is organized and can manage multiple projects.

Research like this can be found everywhere – and what’s more, educators are seeing it firsthand.

So what can you do to help your students learn these vital skills? You may not know it, but you are already teaching soft skills all the time – it might simply be a matter of emphasizing particular skills, adding time for reflection, etc. Here are 15 ways that you can address soft skill development in your classroom, building on what you’re already doing and incorporating new ideas, to help your students develop those important job-readiness skills no matter what pathway they’re on.

15 ways to teach soft skills in your CTE classroom

  1. Keep soft skills top of mind!
  2. Begin each class with a handshake
  3. Role play workplace scenarios
  4. Practice professionalism on a daily basis
  5. Implement networking activities
  6. Make intentional assignment tweaks
  7. Regularly assign collaborative work
  8. Remember to reflect
  9. Informal and formal oral speaking opportunities
  10. Use small talk conversation cards
  11. Practice giving and receiving feedback
  12. Use video diaries
  13. Coordinate mock interviews
  14. Use student planners
  15. Consider the RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program

Watch the webinar below for more details on these 15 key tips for incorporating soft skills in your classroom:

Tradeshow Season is Right Around the Corner!

By Andrea Phan, Tradeshow Coordinator

At Realityworks, our Account Managers and other team members attend nearly 100 tradeshows over the course of a year. So, what is tradeshow season? Of those 100 annual tradeshows nearly HALF occur during the summer, between June, July and August. In addition to our typical Career and Technical Education Conferences, we’re excited to be talking with you once again at Agriculture Teachers Education Conferences featuring our new interactive animal models and Health Science Education Conferences introducing our new hands-on nursing skills training.

Our Account Managers are passionate about our products, love sharing the newest educational tools and enjoy seeing you interact with our great hands-on learning aids in the booths. Based out of Eau Claire, WI, many of our products that you see at tradeshows are shipped cross-country and put on hundreds of miles before they return home.

Did you know that Realityworks…

  • has only 9 Account Managers traveling to the nearly 50 summer tradeshows? We also send employees from our home office to help support them.
  • has the Account Managers travelling to about 30 states in 10 weeks.
  • expects to meet over 46,000 conference attendees this summer.
  • supports national conferences and organizations such as AAFCS and HOSA.
  • will be giving approximately 40 presentations during this time, highlighting our experiential products and providing you with useful tips and tricks to help you in the classroom.

Watch your email for more information regarding conferences near you. For a complete list visit our website at https://www.realityworks.com/news-events/tradeshows.

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Global Need for Agriculture Education

As the population of the Earth continues to grow, so does the demand for food and the need for agriculture education and training.

To feed 9.1 billion people by 2050 we need to…

  • Increase food production by 70%
  • Invest $83 billion annually in developing countries

The agriculture industry is the single largest employer in the world:

  • Agriculture employs more than 24 million American workers (17% of the total U.S. workforce)
  • Globally, 40% of the population works in agriculture

Seeing the growing demand that will be placed on the agriculture industry, many school districts are beginning to add agriculture career pathways to their career and technical education programs. For tips on how to develop a comprehensive program take a few minutes to watch this webinar – Creating an engaging agriculture pathway: The fundamentals you need to jump-start your own program.

5 Key Steps for Preparing RealCare Baby® 3 for Summer Break

As we approach the end of another school year, it’s time to think about getting your RealCare Babies ready for the summer break. Here are 5 key steps to take so that they will be ready when you come back in the fall:

Step 1: Complete an inventory:

  • Gather up your Babies, accessories and supplies and take a quick inventory of what you have. Each Baby should have:
    • 2 diapers, one with a green patch and one with a yellow patch
    • Bottle and/or breastfeeding device
    • Student ID with wristbands
    • Infant Bodysuit
    • Sleepwear
    • Single Charger or 5-Baby Charger
  • Identify any resources that you need to order, like wristbands, so you have the items on hand when school starts in the fall.

Step 2: Place a resupply order: Visit our online store to quickly and easily order any consumables and resources you need for your program such as wristbands and student workbooks.

Step 3: Wash clothing and clean the babies:

  • For Baby: Disinfectant wipes, Goop® Hand Cleaner with Pumice, GoJo® Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner, Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser, or Acne Cream are all great for removing dirt and stains from Baby’s vinyl.
  • For Baby’s clothing and supplies: Baby’s diapers and clothing can be machine washed in cold, gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low. We recommend line drying to prevent wear and tear.
  • Get more great cleaning tips here.

Step 4: Battery maintenance:

  • Baby should be charged overnight, then unplugged – don’t leave Baby plugged in all summer. Ideally, your Babies should be charged for a few hours every 3 months. Haven’t used Baby since January or February? Now is the time to charge them overnight.
  • FYI: The batteries will gradually drain out on their own. Do not be surprised if the Babies start to make a popping sound while in storage. This is an indicator that the batteries are giving off their final amount of charge. Don’t worry; this is normal and the popping sound can last for a few days.
  • You can follow along with the “RCB Battery Maintenance” instructions here.

Step 5: Store Baby: Baby should be stored indoors, in a plastic bag, for optimum conditions. If this isn’t possible, every attempt should be made to keep Baby dry and clean. Note: dramatic changes in temperature can cause water condensation inside Baby. Allow time for the condensation to evaporate before use.

For more great tips and tricks on preparing Baby for summer break check out the video below:

On Teachers’ Day, We Celebrate Those Making Our Futures Successful

By Timm Boettcher, President & CEO of Realityworks, Inc.

Teachers are the fabric that prepares all of us to be successful in the future.

I have the special opportunity each year to visit many schools around the country and talk to many awesome teachers. Each year I am so very impressed with all the excitement, creativity and engagement that I see in the classrooms I visit. This energy and excitement – and most importantly, student engagement – is all driven by that special teacher who is making great things happen. It humbles me to think about the profound impact our teachers are having on our students every single day.

That phenomenal impact is vital to our society in order for us, collectively, to be highly successful and have a strong future. As I look around our schools, I see Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs becoming a huge part of the education that is provided. CTE programs are bringing integrated curriculum and hands-on learning to our future engineers, health care professionals, computer programmers and IT professionals, business leaders, automotive technicians, famers… the list goes on and on. CTE is critically important to our society.

Quite simply, there is not a day that goes by that you could live without CTE. It is wonderful to see CTE become an integral part of our schools, with teachers leading the charge and setting the stage for further growth and expansion, and politicians knocking down barriers and helping provide support to further educators’ efforts. That is why we at Realityworks stand by to support our CTE teachers in every endeavor they take on. We CARE about education, we CARE about teachers, we CARE about students and we hope that it shows! My hat is off to all of the teachers all over the world, and additional kudos to our CTE teachers, all of whom are are changing the world one student at a time!

I will leave you with a short poem that I think sums it all up:
As teachers go, they are the best. They shine above all the rest.
They bring real-world skills to all they meet. They help their students apply knowledge that allow them to effectively compete.
Your students are highly skilled in what they do. They learned through simulation and hands-on learning that you brought to the school.
You prepare your students to be successful in not only college but most importantly a career. CTE today is not what it was yesteryear.
CTE students experience career choices and gain strong workplace skills. This is exactly what employers and society want as it fits the bill.
On National Teacher Appreciation Day, we see all that you do. We also see the massive impact you have on not only your students, but also society, too.
You cannot live a day without experiencing the value provided by CTE. CTE has presence in everything you see.
From the cars that you drive to the homes where you live. A society with strong CTE skills is a great place to live.
Stay strong on your mission to change the world one student at a time. We will stand strong to support you all of the time.

As a thank you for the work you are doing to prepare today’s youth for successful futures, we have made a downloadable CTE infographic available for you to enjoy.

You can access your infographic here (and see other posters available for download).

4 Tips for Incorporating Hands-On Learning Aids Into Your Healthcare Program

Considering incorporating hands-on learning aids into your healthcare program? Here are 4 things you should consider. 

As our healthcare infographic depicts, healthcare workers are in high demand, and that demand is going to keep growing. In-demand skill sets span health science pathways, from allied health professionals to nurses and physician assistants to caregivers who can work with older patients. And as demand for those skills increases, so will the importance of using teaching tools and resources that truly engage the new generations of healthcare students.

One way to engage today’s healthcare students is through the use of hands-on learning aids.

Hands-on learning works for many reasons. Today’s easily distracted students, who have a remarkably short attention spans, need active learning opportunities to stay engaged. They crave the immediate feedback that real-life training scenarios provide. Most importantly, studies show that despite a strong desire to learn, today’s students will disengage with the discussion if they don’t feel connected or don’t see the relevance.

What should you consider when incorporating hands-on learning aids for your healthcare program?

  1. Consider pre-activity. You’re using hands-on learning aids to create an experience, and you can set the stage for that experience by introducing the concept in a simple way. For instance, if you’re using the RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator to help students understand the physical limitations of elderly patients, completing an empathy assessment is a good way to kick off the hands-on experience.
  2. Start with demonstrations. Providing practice opportunities prior to the actual training experience is a good way to get your students comfortable with a new learning aid. Make sure they know that mistakes are allowed; encourage them to be successful. Combined with the opportunity for questions and answers, demonstrations can be a powerful, engaging form of training.
  3. Consider your curriculum. There are many types of hands-on learning aids out there, from low-fidelity task training arms to high-fidelity birthing models. There is a place for both, but which option will best serve your curriculum without going over-budget? Remember, low-fidelity learning aids may not look as fancy as their higher-tech counterparts, but can go a long way towards increasing student engagement in the core concepts you’re already teaching.
  4. Remember to reflect. At the end of the experience, be sure to facilitate reflection on individual performance. Ask your students how they felt during the experience, whether outcomes were met, and what they would do to make it a good experience for their patient? Not only does reflection help underscore core concepts, but it helps your students develop soft skills like critical thinking and reasoning.

Three hands-on learning tools that are making an impact in healthcare classrooms around the country our Geriatric Medication Management Kit, our Blood Pressure Simulator and our catheterization models. See them all by clicking here.

How to Choose the Best Simulation for Your Welding Program

Note: This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Techniques. ACTE members can read the complete article on page 8 of the current issue. Not a member? Click here to join and access this monthly career and technical education publication.

THE DRIVE FOR CREDENTIALING IN CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) HAS BEEN A BOON
for students, inspiring educators to rethink how they prepare students for high-demand, high-skill and high-wage jobs. CTE program administrators strive to hire certified instructors, and funding is often based on the number of students to achieve certification in high-demand, high-wage and high-skill fields.

In the past, this might have meant purchasing high-cost equipment to mimic the workplace. Students would train on those products and perhaps become proficient. But now preparing students for these jobs is less about equipment, and more about the skills necessary to move into a career in a chosen field.

The Cost of Hands-on Learning
When you think about a hands-on learning resource for welding programs, you might consider that welding is hands-on by nature. Often, welding students gather at a distance, all dressed in protective equipment and darkening helmets, as they observe an instructor demonstrate a very intricate technique. Students are expected to watch, understand and then practice. ­is can be a very costly endeavor; students learning to weld can go through materials very quickly, and they don’t always develop a deep understanding of what they are doing. Simulation, in comparison, allows students to
experience welding in a way they can’t in the booth — learning, for example, why a work angle is critical to creating a weld that will hold. Simulation allows them to experience and improve the skills they need to become certified welders.

Simulation
Simulation is a method for practice and learning. It is a technique (not a technology) to replace and amplify real experiences with guided ones. ­rough simulation, students can replicate the real-world welding experience and become immersed in an interactive fashion. is results in a deeper understanding of the necessary skills, and it enables them to transfer those skills even faster. In welding, students can master techniques like work angle, travel angle and speed in a safe environment before they enter a welding booth.

Studies show that students who learn to weld in a virtual environment learn faster and more efficiently (Stone, McLaurin, Zhong & Watts, 2013). To create a quality weld, you need to master speed. Welding procedure specifications require a welder to perform an optimal weld at a specified number of inches per minute. If you were told to move your hand from left to right at 11 inches per minute, how would you know how to do that? How would you know if you were going too fast, too slow or just right? You would practice and practice, examining your welds for defects and hoping you would eventually gain mastery.

In the virtual world, students are guided so that they gain muscle memory from the start. They receive immediate feedback and are given the opportunity to alter their speed if necessary. Once student welders have mastered their technique in the virtual world, they can move on to real equipment and welding metal. Making these resources available to many students at once is crucial to the success of the welding workforce.

ACTE members, log in to read the complete article on page 8 of the May Techniques issue. Not a member? Click here to join.

Diane Ross is the education development manager for Realityworks, Inc., where she works with states and school districts to develop better programs, products and pathways in career and technical education programs. She has a master’s in secondary education from Marshall University and is an advisor for the National Standards for FACS Education. Email her at diane.ross@realityworks.com.

 

Resources for Starting a Health Science Pathway

When you begin to build your health science pathway plan of study, there are many places you can start and resources to go to. Here are a few to help you get started or even to help revamp and existing program:

Plan of Study Worksheets – Advance CTE has put together a great page featuring the 16 Career Clusters from the National Career Clusters Framework along with the pathways that fall under each cluster. The website, www.careertech.org/career-clusters, has links to each cluster and tools like Knowledge & Skills Statements and editable Plans of Study worksheets.

Six Key Elements of Career Pathways – Career Pathways Toolkit: A Guide for System Development is another great resource and includes the Six Key Elements of Career Pathways. It was designed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration and the Manhattan Strategy Group to help guide local and state teams through the essential components necessary for developing a comprehensive career pathways system.

Common Career Technical Core Standards – One very helpful place to go is cte.careertech.org and the Common Career Technical Core Standards for Health Science.  They include specific measurable performance objectives for the Health Science Career Cluster in General and as well as each pathway within the cluster.  Review the standards that apply to the pathway you are developing to ensure that you are teaching these basic core competencies in your program.  This is part of the 6 key elements where you are designing the education and training programs.

Industry-Recognized Certifications – There are several organizations to look to when it comes to certifications. The NHA currently offers 8 certifications which can be found on their website: https://www.nhanow.com/certifications NOCTI has 5 different categories of related certifications: Job Ready, Pathway, State Collaboration, Employability Skills and Certificate & Partner. The American Medical Certification Association has many certifications available in 3 categories: Clinical Certification, Administration Certification and Career Advancement/Secondary Certifications.

National Organizations with Assessments or Competitions – The National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) offers a Health Science Assessment. The assessment adds the credibility of a national certification of achievement, satisfies Perkins requirements for technical attainment, validates student mastery of foundational healthcare knowledge and skills, and can shape curriculum delivery through teacher reports identifying students’ success and areas of greatest need by standard.  Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) sponsors dozens of knowledge and skills competitions at the state and national level relating to a wide variety of health science topics. HOSA Offers 56 Competitive Events that are aligned to the National Healthcare Foundation and Accountability Criteria outlined by the National Consortium for Health Science Education.

For more great information and resources on starting your health science pathway, take a few minutes to check out our latest webinar below: