5 Secrets to Engaging Today’s Generation Z Students

By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Communications Specialist

Born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, Generation Z students have been occupying your classroom for 4-5 years already, and this year, they will make up 32 percent of the global population. You’ve probably noticed that there are some unique differences between today’s students and their Millennial predecessors, the oldest of whom have been in the workforce for more than a decade. Today’s students are even more tech-savvy; they can multi-task even faster and they have even shorter attention spans. Generation Z students read less than 20% of text; they think in 4D, not 3D; and they are used to immediate feedback. How do you engage learners who demand connection, who will disengage with the discussion if they don’t see the relevance, and who wish to not only hear about a topic, but see it, touch it and feel it?

Adapting your teaching methods to meet the needs of today’s Generation Z students and keep them engaged is not only vital to be an effective 21st Century educator, but can help transform your students’ education. We know that the standard classroom model, where an educator stands in front of the class and lectures, no longer works – at least, not all the time. In this post, we’ll share tips we’ve learned from educators across the globe that can help you grab, and keep, your students’ attention.

1: Avoid lengthy PowerPoint presentations. We know that avoiding PowerPoint altogether is impossible – there’s a time and a place for this presentation format. However, you can incorporate quizzes, activities and hands-on demonstrations every few slides to break up your students’ attention – and help keep it.

Get more PowerPoint tips in this blog by Concordia University – Portland.

2: Use multiple teaching modalities. Videos, online activities and group work are great additions to textbook work. The key here is variety, which will not only help keep the attention of your Generation Z students, but appeal to a variety of learning needs. 

Learn more about using video in the classroom in this Common Sense Education article.

3: Create an active learning environment by using innovative learning tools. Generation Z students’ desire for social, hands-on learning experiences make interactive simulators and models a vital part of 21st Century classrooms. Our simulators and models – which include resources for Welding & Trade Skills, Agriculture, FCS, Health Science, and Anatomy and Physiology – engage students with realistic details, removeable parts and, in the case of our simulators, truly immersive learning experiences.

See all the learning aids and resources we offer for Career & Technical Education here.

3: Remember that “why” is as important as “what.” Generation Z students need to know that what they’re learning is relevant. By answering the “why” question with evidence-based reasoning before teaching the “how,” you’ll assure them that the concept you’re about to teach applies to real life.

4: Incorporate soft skill development whenever possible. Your students will come to you with a varying degree of these skills, but you know all employers will look for them. Remember that collaborative work helps build communication skills; assignment tweaks and activity changes help build flexibility; open-ended questions help build problem-solving skills; and reflection activities help build critical thinking skills.

Need more help teaching soft skills in your classroom? Our Employability Skills Program can help.

You’re already working hard to equip your students with technical and academic skills. By creating an interactive, hands-on learning environment where Generation Z students can engage in active learning opportunities, you’re setting them up for even greater success.

Spring Webinar Schedule Announced

We’re excited to announce our spring webinar schedule!

Each fall and spring we offer a series of free webinars that revolve around the Career and Technical Education world. These sessions are presented by our product managers, product support team, and even some of our account managers get in on the fun.

If you see a webinar that you’re interested in, but can’t make the time or date, make sure to register for it anyways! We will send you a link to the recording along with any presentation materials once the webinar is complete.

Take a look at what we have planned for the spring so far:

Explore Welding Career Pathways with Hands-On Training Methods
Monday, January 21st @ Noon CST

Learn More

Meet the Realityworks Barnyard Animals
Thursday, February 7th @ 11 am CST

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Create an Interactive Health Science Program with Wearable Simulators
Tuesday, February 12th @ 11 am CST

Learn More 

The Ins and Outs: Using Simulation to Teach Bovine Artificial Insemination
Thursday, February 21st @ 2 pm CST

Learn More

Cool Tools for Teaching Transferable Child Care Career Skills
Thursday, February 28th @ 3 pm CST

Learn More

Enhance Agriculture Student Learning through Bovine Simulators
Tuesday, March 12th @ 11 am CST

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The Art of Scenarios: Using Real-World Scenarios to Teach Employability Skills
Wednesday, April 10th @ Noon CST

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Packing up RealCare Baby for Summer Vacation
Tuesday, April 23rd @ 3 pm CST

Learn More 

Learn more today by checking out our webinar page, and while you’re there make sure to check out the archived sessions we have available to you as well!

Sneak Peeks and Presentations Coming Your Way at VISION 2018

We’re getting excited to see everyone at  ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018. This year we will be introducing new innovative learning tools as well as giving you a peek at products that will be coming in 2019. We’ve recently added new products to our Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Health Sciences pathways, including:

Bovine Breeder artificial insemination simulator with pregnancy palpation

Twin Pregnancy Model KitDiabetes Education Kit

Coming in 2019, Realityworks will be launching:

  • Bovine Injection
  • Child Care Center Design Kit
  • Cow Anatomy Flip Chart
  • Ostomy Trainer
  • New Anatomical models
  • and so much more!

Not only will we be giving attendees a sneak peek at new products, we will also be giving 6 presentations this year.

Make sure you stop by booth 723 and try out all of our interactive training tools for yourself!

Welding Implementation in the 21st Century

Skilled welders are more in demand than ever before. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 – just two years away – there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, welders and teachers.

For welding instructors and trainers, launching a new welding program, or reinventing a current one, can seem like a daunting task. There are a lot of questions to ask including what equipment will help students the most, and what curriculum is out there to help you get started.

We’ve used feedback from welding instructors across the country to develop the Welding Solutions Implementation Guide, which will help you to walk through all of these questions and more.

The four key areas that have been identified as key to the 21st Century Welding Classroom are:

1. Welding Simulation Lab

  • Explore careers, foundational learning, provide more arc time
  • A safe, cost-effective way to teach welding fundamentals

2. Live Welding Booths

  • Corrective guides, immediate feedback, classroom management
  • A one-of-a-kind solution for guidance inside the welding helmet during live welding

3. Visual Weld Inspection

  • Assessment and correction techniques, quality inspection
  • An instructional aid to teach weld defects and discontinuities

4. Destructive Weld Testing

  • Prepare for careers, self-assessment
  • Challenge students to test their own welds and determine what went wrong

By combining these four areas into a welding program, you can help set your students up for success. Click here for more information and to see the complete guide.

Bovine Breeder™ artificial insemination simulator helps North Dakota students learn

At least once a week, Rolla High School Agriculture Education Instructor William Fritz reminds his students that “no one has ever drowned in sweat.” Fritz favors the quote because it represents his belief in the value of hard work, a lesson he tries to teach his students at every opportunity.

That value is one of the reasons Fritz appreciates hands-on learning aids like Realityworks’ Bovine Breeder™ artificial insemination simulator – it enables his students to test their knowledge in a realistic, interactive way.

“My students all know – when I test or assess them, I’ll always try to make the experience as real-life as possible. These are careers we’re studying; real farmers actually do this, and I want them to understand what that means,” said Fritz. “Resources like this help, especially for kids who haven’t grown up on farms.”

The Bovine Breeder is a life-sized model designed to teach correct cervix manipulation, AI gun positioning and pregnancy palpation. It allows students to see inside the reproductive tract to identify reproductive system landmarks and helps them learn correct techniques for inserting and delivering semen. Fritz, who is the school’s FFA advisor as well as a member of the North Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education board, uses the Bovine Breeder in his Livestock Production classes. His ninth- through twelfth-grade students spend about four weeks reviewing the beef industry, and the unit culminates with the study of beef reproduction. At the end, his students’ final test is to perform artificial insemination on the Bovine Breeder.

“During the test, they cannot watch, since, in real life, you don’t get to see the inside,” said Fritz, referring to a feature of the simulator that makes reproductive system landmarks visible. “I make each student complete the process of AI while simultaneously asking them questions about the reproductive system of the cow. In order for them to get an A, they have to successfully move through the cervix.”

Click here to read the complete story!

Learn more about the Bovine Breeder artificial insemination simulator by checking out the intro video below:

5 Ways to Use Ag Models in Your Classroom

We’re hearing back from teachers around the country who are already implementing our animal models in their classrooms. Here are 5 ways to implement these models and engage your students through hands-on learning:

1. Anatomy Testing

Talk through and test students on the different parts of animal anatomy. Classroom idea: use post-it notes to have students label parts on the model.

2. System Identification

Show how the parts work together and how they interact with the different parts of the body. Classroom idea: take the organs out and walk through the process with students and then have them demonstrate it to you or each other.

3. Animal Care

Talk through different challenges that come up with caring for animals. Classroom idea: have students demonstrate dressings on hoofs and other kinds of animal care.

4. Meat Cut Identification

Show students where meat cuts are located on the muscle layer of the animal. Classroom idea: use an outline of the animal and have students draw out the different meat cuts based on what they learned on the model.

5. Disease Investigation

Discuss what the different diseases are that can affect animals, where they are identified on the animal’s body, and what symptoms they will show. Classroom idea: take out and open up the different organs and talk about how diseases can affect them.

For more ideas and information check out our animal models here and take a look at this webinar on Engaging Successful Learners Through Agriculture Education:

5 Interesting Facts – All About Agriculture

Ever wonder why it is so important to promote and teach agriculture to students in 2018? Here are 5 quick facts which help to clear up this question:

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 and check our National Teach Ag Day with NAAE!

Explore all of our hands-on training tools for Agriculture here.

6 Quick Facts About the guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system

1. guideWELD® LIVE is NOT a simulator:

  • It is an actual welding helmet used while live welding and can be used in any welding booth
  • Trains how to consistently have proper work angle, travel angle, and correct welding speed while performing a live weld

2. Auto-darkening helmet, hand sensor & speed sensor work together to give feedback on proper welding technique
3. Improves welding technique development and increases welder confidence
4. Real-time corrective feedback in every welding booth for MIG & STICK
5. Feedback comes from 9 default WPS’s with customization available
6. Provides guidance on the proper welding technique of:

  • Speed
  • Work Angle
  • Travel Angle

For more information on the guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system check out the recording from our recent webinar:

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.