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.

12 Eye-Opening Stats About Health Care Careers

Today’s health care students are unique.

They’re tech-savvy. They have short attention spans. They love to learn, but they are not afraid to ask “why?” – why are you teaching them this task, why are they practicing that concept, why are they studying this topic?

One way to answer those questions is to show your health care students just how in-demand health care careers are. Doing so will give them a better understanding of why the skills they are learning are so important.

This infographic contains 12 eye-opening statistics about health care careers. Download it today to give your students a daily reminder of the career opportunities you are preparing them for.

Learn more: Our webinar, Cool Tools for Engaging Today’s Healthcare Students, explores innovative classroom resources for teaching healthcare students with short attention spans, excellent technology skills and a desire for authentic, real-world learning experiences. Watch it here.

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

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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

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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!

Realityworks Recognizes Arizona Welding Instructor with CTE Champion Award

We’re so excited to announce the recipient of our CTE Champion Award, Marana High School Welding Instructor Kenton Webb. Product manager Jamey McIntosh presented the award to Webb at the Association for Career & Technical Education’s CareerTech VISION 2018 Conference in San Antonio, Texas on November 30. The award recognizes the remarkable methods Webb has implemented to engage his welding students in viable career opportunities and help them develop in-demand job skills. Those methods include using the guideWELD® VR welding simulator and guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system.

“My ultimate goal is to help these kids get a successful career so they’re not walking away from high school with just a diploma – they’re walking away with a skill they can use,” said Webb. “I’m humbled by this award. It’s nice to get recognized for the work you put in.

About 250 students participate in Marana High School’s welding program annually, an increase of almost 200 students from when Webb began the program 10 years ago. In the last nine years, the program has come to be one of the premier high school welding shops in the state. First-year students use the guideWELD VR welding simulator to hone basic welding skills in a safe, virtual environment, then use the guideWELD LIVE real welding guidance system in the welding booth to understand proper welding techniques and master bad habits. Webb also challenges his students to identify and assess their own welds using the RealCareer™ Weld Defects Kit.

“What I saw and heard when I visited Kenton’s classroom made his passion for educating clear,” said McIntosh. “He 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.”

Realityworks’ CTE Champion award is awarded to educators in programs related to Welding & Trade Skills, Family & Consumer Sciences, Agriculture and Health Science. Learn more about Realityworks by visiting www.realityworks.com.

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!

For the Good of Family and Consumer Sciences

by Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Good things happen when like-minded groups come together for a shared passion.Such is the case for Realityworks and the Alliance for Family & Consumer Sciences (Alliance for FCS), a coalition of 26 organizations representing academia, industry, professional associations and honor societies leading Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) efforts around the globe. For the past four years, Realityworks has partnered with the Alliance to assist them in enhancing the visibility and viability of FCS, and this year, I’m honored to have been made co-chair of the Alliance for FCS alongside Carol Werhan, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences Education at Purdue University.

In my new role alongside Werhan, I will have the opportunity to represent the field of FCS by helping the alliance move their agenda forward. One initiative that I’m particularly excited about is the development of messages that clearly communicate the value of the FCS. In fact, there are four key messages we’d like to share:

1. FCS is a field of study focused on the science and art of living well in our complex world.

2. Our primary areas of focus include:

  • Culinary arts, hospitality, and tourism
  • Food science and nutrition
  • Health management and wellness
  • Housing and interior design
  • Human development and family relations
  • Personal and family finance
  • Textiles, apparel, and retailing

Sustainable practices, consumerism, and leadership principles are woven throughout the content areas.

3. Through research, experiential education and technology, our professionals help people develop the essential knowledge and skills to:

  • Lead better lives
  • Be work- and career-ready
  • Build strong families
  • Make meaningful contributions to our communities

4. You will find our professionals in:

  • Academic education (at the early childhood, elementary, secondary and higher education levels)
  • Community education (for adults and youth, including Cooperative Extension programs)
  • Business and industry
  • Government
  • Health and human services

Realityworks has been a strong advocate for FCS since the inception of the RealCare Baby® infant simulator over 20 years ago; creating relevant and useful classroom resources and skills training tools for FCS teachers is a core part of our corporate identity. We’re proud to support FCS education by exhibiting and presenting at many state and national FCS conferences, working with a variety of national FCS organizations and of course, partnering with the Alliance for FCS.

You can learn more about FCS (and access a free infographic) below: https://www.aafs.org/about/about-us/what-is-fcs.

To learn more about the Alliance for Family and Consumer Sciences, go to https://www.aafcs.org/allianceforfcs/home

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.

5 Facts about Soft Skills

What are Soft Skills? Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Recent studies have found that employers think personality skills are just as important, if not more important, than hard skills.

46% of managers said young workers would do well to hone their communication skills and 56% said recent grads do not pay attention to detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 who is organized and can manage multiple projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about soft skills and how to implement an employability program in your Career and Technical Education classroom check out this webinar:

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:

4 Tips for Building a CNA Pathway Program

When you begin to build your certified nursing assistant pathway plan of study, there are many places you can start and resources to go to.

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. This page includes specific measurable performance objectives for the Health Science Career Cluster in General and as well as the Therapeutic Services Pathway which is the pathway CNA programs fall under. Review the standards that apply to the pathway to ensure that you are teaching these basic core competencies in your program.

Build an Advisory Council – Involving local healthcare industry leaders and clinical professionals in your pathway development is critical. How can you understand what local employers are looking for in a health care professional if you don’t ask?  Consider putting together a health care advisory council.  Choose these from a variety of settings and levels of responsibility to get a variety of viewpoints and input.

For more great info on launching your program, check out the webinar below!