5 Creative Uses for Hands-On Learning Aids in the FCS Classroom

It’s always fun to reflect on a school year and all of the great moments that have happened. We are in awe of teachers and the creative ways they find to incorporate hands-on learning and real-life experiences for their students to gain invaluable lessons.

5. Proving that Human Growth and Development class can encompass all ages with a great aging experience for these students.

4. Incorporating real-world safety training with the RealCare Baby for even deeper meaning with the simulation experience.

3. Working students through a pregnancy simulation prior to sending them home with a baby simulator brings these lessons full-circle.

2. When geriatric simulation meets fashion design, students gain valuable knowledge they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

1. Creativity + Simulation = Awareness
What better way to teach students this valuable lesson on the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome?

How do you incorporate our hands-on training tools in your classroom? We’d like to encourage you to share your photos, and your story, with other educators, too. Click here to learn how you can get a free Realityworks water bottle for answering a few quick questions about your program.

Here at Realityworks, Teacher Appreciation is Different

“Appreciation,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, means recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. While this definition in words is clear as to what “appreciation” is, here at Realityworks, we define it slightly differently when we think of Teacher Appreciation. 

Over the past 25 years, our company has been connecting and partnering with educators around the world to gain an understanding of what is happening in their classrooms and how we can aid in the education process by creating interactive and hands-on learning tools. Through these connections and partnerships, we have gained brilliant ideas that have helped our company grow in the number of products and markets served – but what we have truly learned, outside of product ideas, is that teachers are the leaders of the next generations. Teachers are helping shape the ideas, goals and values of future generations of students. And for that, we appreciate you and we thank you. 

We surveyed Realityworks employees who have had the opportunity to work directly with teachers. We took their feedback and created a word cloud representing what stood out to each of us as we connected with educators. 

To us, Teacher Appreciation is listening to educators, engaging with them and learning from them. We are inspired each day by what educators do and for that, we thank you, educators!

Education Kits and Soft Skill Lessons Are a Perfect Match

Have you heard of the education kits that we offer? These great products offer out-of-the-box learning experiences for your students. Each one includes curriculum, interactive student activities and hands-on learning tools that will bring your lessons to life

How can these kits benefit your classroom?

  1. Hands-on tools quickly engage students and provide tactile learning
  2. Manipulatives give students a deeper understanding of complex concepts
  3. Students are able to interact and learn from one another
  4. Lesson plans are provided for easy implementation
  5. Activities and assessments integrate different learning methods to reach all students

Four of the kits we have available are for teaching topics related to plant science, welding, child care and food safety.

We have recently released a series of pathway-specific scenario cards to teach students those soft skills that are essential for entering today’s workforce. Right now you can get a free set of scenario cards with the purchase of one of four educational kits.

Research continues to tell us that across the country, businesses of all kinds are prioritizing soft skills like problem-solving, time management and work ethic over technical, job-related skills. Check out the webinar below for more great information and activities to help you incorporate these essential soft skills into your lesson planning.

10 Cool Tools CTE Educators Use to Engage Today’s Students

Today’s students are looking to learn classroom lessons in more unique ways than in the past. They crave information they can immediately connect to their future goals. They want to interact, experiment, learn from their mistakes, and practice.

At Realityworks, we develop products that enable CTE educators to do exactly that: give students hands-on learning opportunities that are relevant, authentic and highly engaging while teaching important career skills. We spoke with our customers to create a list of our 10 most popular training tools for Health Science, Family and Consumer Science, Agriculture and Welding classrooms.

10 Cool Tools CTE Educators Use to Engage Students are:

1. Blood Pressure Simulator

This tool, dubbed a finalist in the Ed Tech Cool Tools awards, is a one-of-a-kind training tool used to teach proper techniques for taking blood pressure.

2. guideWELD® VR welding simulator

Welding is one of the high-wage, high-demand careers we hear about in the workforce today. With this engaging and interactive simulator, students can learn basic techniques while exploring a potential career.  

3. Bovine Injection Simulator

Requested by ag instructors to teach fundamental skills for agriculture and vet tech students, this simulator gives students hands-on experience giving injections, applying ear tags and more, without leaving the classroom.

4. Geriatric Simulator

Key skills for all students entering healthcare careers include empathy and understanding of their patients. With this wearable tool, students can “walk in the shoes” of elderly patients and gain true insight into their aches, pains and other age-related challenges.

5. Child Care Center Design Kit

One of our newest products on the “cool tools” list, this interactive kit was created in partnership with a child care facility owner. It teaches students how to properly set up child care rooms for ideal learning environments.

6. Adult Nursing Manikin

Featuring over 20 basic care functions, this manikin is used in nursing and health occupations classrooms to give students realistic practice interacting with adult patients.

7. Electrical Wiring Kit

Safety is key in a classroom setting. With this kit, students to get hands-on wiring experience and quick assessments on job correctness while avoiding sparks and other electrical dangers.

8. Bovine Breeder™ artificial insemination simulator

This unique simulator has caught the attention of many ag education publications, as it enables students to learn and practice an in-demand skill right in the classroom.

9. RealCareer ™ Weld Defects Kit

Our most popular trade skills kit, this unique product teaches students what can go wrong during welding, how to identify improper welds and most importantly, how to fix these defects and prevent them from occurring on future welds.

10. RealCare™ Shaken Baby Simulator

While this product has been offered for several years, the lessons it teaches and the impacts it makes on students is incredible. We are proud that educators still consider our Shaken Baby Simulator a “cool tool,” as it provides unforgettable lessons on child abuse and prevention that can truly save lives.

Ready to learn more about these cool tools and others offered by Realityworks? Visit our website.

Trade Up & Go Green: How our RealCare® Baby Trade-In Program Impacts the Environment

By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Marketing Communication Specialist

Here at Realityworks, we are constantly looking at the impact of and waste produced by our products and reevaluating as needed to determine where improvements can be made. Why? We believe that it’s our responsibility as a company to help make the world a better place, and we work to accomplish this through our programs and our everyday actions.

Those actions include redesigning products in the middle of a life cycle when needed, and rewarding customers who return old products to us for recycling.

For example, the latest generation RealCare® Baby 3 relies on rechargeable batteries for operation rather than alkaline ones. This redesign has not only saved customers money but also reduced the use and disposal of more than 192,000 C batteries per year.

Additionally, the design of new RealCare Babies allows programming to be done on a computer rather than a hand-held unit, reducing unnecessary plastic and electronic materials. This eliminated over 2,000 standalone boxes per year – a dramatic reduction of approximately 2,000 pounds of plastic and electronics waste annually.

Furthermore, our current RealCare Baby Trade-Up Program offers customers the chance to earn up to $50 in credit towards the latest generation RealCare Baby 3 for every old model they trade in. We even offer an additional reward for those who physically mail their infant simulators to us for recycling!

Through this program, we have recycled more than 250,000 pounds of materials to date – some of which has been used to make recycled lawn chairs! It’s definitely proven to be a successful way of collecting and properly disposing of unused materials that may have ended up in a landfill.

RecycleBaby-500wide

Our mission clearly states that “our community, country, and planet can look to us as responsible corporate citizens,” and our RealCare Baby Trade-Up Program is just one of the ways in which we strive to achieve that mission. Click here for details about our trade-up program and learn how your old Babies can earn credit and help you go green.

What do you do to help ensure your programs and actions are environmentally sustainable? Share your stories and ideas in the comments below.

At Realityworks, ESOPs and Learning Go Hand-in-Hand

U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) stopped by Realityworks‘ Eau Claire, WI headquarters today to learn more about our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and take a tour of the facility. While here, he was able to learn about our many interactive training simulators and models and how they impact today’s students.

Engineering Manager Jeremiah Bauer helps U.S. Rep Ron Kind with a hands-on demonstration of Realityworks’ Bovine Breeder artificial insemination simulator.

He recently introduced the bipartisan Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act, which will encourage the formation of employee-owned businesses and promote retirement savings through S Corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plans (S-ESOPs). The bill was introduced with Representative Jason Smith (R-MO).

“I am proud to introduce this bill, which will empower companies to become employee-owned and give our workers more stake in the game. The evidence is clear that S-ESOPs help companies and workers alike grow faster and achieve a more secure financial future,” said Rep. Ron Kind.

S-ESOP companies employ over 29,000 Wisconsinites at 122 companies across the state. According to several recent studies, S-ESOPs provide a number of benefits to companies and workers alike, including an outperforming company growth rate, increased retirement security and decreased income inequality within the company.

Rep. Kind’s visit to our company allowed him to talk more with the company’s leadership and learn how ESOPs can benefit both the company and the employees who work for them. Realityworks converted to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan S-ESOP in 2012, which has allowed us to attract and retain talent while continuing to grow the company.

“Employees who own the businesses where they work have a share in the wealth they help create, and that connection makes companies stronger, more stable, and more rooted in their communities. The legislation proposed by Rep. Kind will expand ownership opportunities like we have in place at Realityworks to even more of the U.S. workforce,” said Mary Boettcher, CFO – Realityworks and Board Chair for the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO).

“This bill is important legislation to support the creation of more ESOPs. ESOPs create additional retirement security for those working as employee owners at ESOP companies. At Realityworks, being employee-owned means you are engaged in the company success. You benefit from Company growth and value your work at a different level. About 50% of our employee body has been with the company over 5 years, well over national average. Retention is a key to our success and our ESOP is a big contributor to that,” said Timm Boettcher, President and CEO – Realityworks.

10 Ways to Use Our Portable Workstations in Your Classroom or Shop

The importance of storage space in CTE classrooms and shops cannot be understated. After all, the more organized you are, the better you can manage your classroom and keep your students safe, on task and productive. Yet teachers constantly tell us that they don’t have enough storage space in their classrooms – and much of the time, the storage solutions that are in place take up valuable work space.

That’s why we created our Portable Workstations. These sturdy carts feature locking wheels, three drawers (one of which locks), plus a rugged, grated worksurface that is tough and durable.

Roll this mobile welding workstation into any area of your classroom or workshop to:

  1. Store tools and Personal Protective Equipment
  2. Complete woodworking, metalworking or small engine repair projects
  3. Keep your favorite tools close at hand, and safely locked up when not in use
  4. Work with up to 500 pounds of materials
  5. Safely store gas cylinders for even the largest welders and projects
  6. Protect your equipment from slag and grinding dust
  7. Work on welding projects by incorporating the removable welding curtain that comes with the cart
  8. Demonstrate techniques and best practices from a point of view that all students can effectively observe
  9. Store projects and extra scraps
  10. Set up a portable welding workspace or learning station anywhere

Learn more about our Portable Workstation from the Realityworks team member who helped develop them, Mechanical Engineer Mike Zaborowski:

5 Takeaways from “Why VR Works: A Panel Discussion”

We recently hosted a panel discussion about why virtual reality welding works for today’s CTE students. Featuring Realityworks RealCareer Product Manager Jamey McIntosh, Realityworks Support Specialist and guideWELD® trainer Chris Potapenko and Arizona welding instructor Kenton Webb, the webinar featured candid conversations about how instructors across the country are implementing this technology into their programs and using it to engage students, foster skill development, boost confidence and save money.

Below are excerpts from the live presentation (watch the complete recording here).

1. It’s a great tool to use with beginning classes

“I’ve found it best to start off with my beginning level classes where a lot of those kids have never welded before so they don’t know the difference in between live and virtual. It’s definitely helped them as they’ve started off with something harder and then when they get out into the shop it’s a lot easier for them when it comes to the live application of it. It also helps them build their confidence. Sometimes welding equipment is terrifying to kids and they’re scared of the sparks and the heat and the fire.”
– Kenton Webb, Welding Instructor, Marana High School, AZ

“It’s a great tool and utility to bring in new students to get them started with the basics of welding. It eliminates some of the fear factors that go into getting them out on the real machine where they’re dealing with the heat, the sparks, the fumes. It’s a great resource to have in that safe classroom environment, it’s going to teach them all of the core functions of welding and give them that immediate feedback as well that they’re looking for.”
– Chris Potapenko, Realityworks Support Specialist and certified guideWELD® trainer

2. The guideWELD® VR welding simulator by Realityworks comes with WPS’s (Welding Procedure Specifications) and the ability to make your own WPS’s, to gear it towards your own curriculum.

“I’ve created 9 separate WPS’s that the students have to go through and hit at an 80% or higher before they can move on to the next WPS,” said Webb. “Once they’ve finished and hit that mark in the classroom then I also have the guideWELD Live and they go out and use those with the actual hands-on weld.”
– Kenton Webb, Welding Instructor, Marana High School, AZ

“Being able to create your own welds that your community might be doing. We have schools that say, ‘just down the road we have welding jobs open, I want my students to be able to get those welding jobs, and I want my students to be able to practice those kinds of welds.’ They can put into guideWELD VR the exact parameters that they need to do. It ties in that career interest.”
– Jamey McIntosh, Realityworks RealCareer Product Manager

3. Virtual welding can improve learning for students

“Because they do get immediate feedback and they can actually see what they’re doing wrong immediately as they’re going through the weld that definitely helps them. Even with my special education students, it gives them more feedback that they need and gets them more comfortable using it before they go out and use the real thing. It covers your basic work angles, travel angles, distance and all of that so when I’m using that terminology out in the shop it’s not going over their head because they’ve been introduced to it.”
– Kenton Webb, Welding Instructor, Marana High School, AZ

4. Virtual welding can save your program money, and guideWELD VR will help prove how much you are saving

“I was able to go and figure out, ok this is what I would pay for the steel, if I was doing these joints this is what it would cost per joint. So, I was able to see, each class by the time they were done with the 9 modules, and it counts every attempt that they do whether they pass it or fail it, so there were some of my classes that if they were out in the shop they would have burned through $800 worth of material and that’s not even including the gas and wire, nozzles and tips that they would have burned through learning how to do it on the live thing. It definitely helps educators justify the cost for it, in terms of down the road this is saving us money and for some of those programs that don’t have funding for unlimited metals and stuff like that it gives them a little more time to start them off in the class but then still not worry about running through all of their material before the end of the year.”
– Kenton Webb, Welding Instructor, Marana High School, AZ

5. Students love the gaming aspect of virtual welding

“With kids being more tech savvy and gamer savvy, they really do enjoy doing it because they are coming to school to play a game so you are getting a little bit more buy in and interest as well. Another thing I noticed is some of them will turn it into a competition where they see one kid get a 95 then the other kids are ‘oh I can do better’ and they are going back for more and trying to beat each other with a little competition.”
– Kenton Webb, Welding Instructor, Marana High School, AZ

These responses were extracted from our webinar, “Why VR Works: A Panel Discussion,” which can be found here or viewed below. This discussion was facilitated by Kenton Webb, welding instructor from Marana High School, Tucsun, AZ; Jamey McIntosh, product manager for Realityworks; and Chris Potapenko, technology support specialist for Realityworks.

Honored to Receive 2019 Florida Career Pathways Award

We are excited to announce that we were presented with the 2019 Florida Career Pathways Best Practice Award during the 2019 Florida Career Pathways Network Symposium in Jensen Beach, FL on January 17. The award recognized our prioritization of educator and administrator partnerships to ensure the company’s training tools meet student needs while teaching in-demand job skills.

“We’re dedicated to creating innovative learning tools that keep today’s students and teachers in mind, and our product development practices reflect that dedication,” said Realityworks Product Marketing Manager Jamey McIntosh, who accepted the award from Florida Career Pathways Network President Chris Jargo. “It is by asking teachers what they need that we create quality training tools for their classrooms.”

McIntosh gave symposium attendees deeper insight into Realityworks’ product development practices in his symposium presentation, “Using Hands-On Learning Aids and Simulation to Teach Animal Science for Agriculture Education.” The presentation detailed how Realityworks uses instructor feedback and research-based learning to create training tools that focus on career readiness within growing fields like agriculture, the single largest employer in the world. As a result, the company’s training tools include one-a-kind products like the Bovine Breeder™ artificial insemination simulator and the Bovine Injection Simulator, which provide instructors with affordable, convenient and engaging ways to teach students key agriculture skills.

“Educators have shared with us their desire for interactive, memorable products that focus on skill development while improving classroom management,” said McIntosh. “Their insight helps ensure that our programs remain relevant and continue providing the targeted learning opportunities today’s students need to develop job skills.”

For more information on Realityworks’ products and programs, visit http://realityworks.com/. You can also watch the recording from McIntosh’s “Using Hands-On Learning Aids and Simulation to Teach Animal Science for Agriculture Education” webinar below:

10 Ways Our Adult Nursing Manikin Can Help Your Students Develop Targeted Healthcare Skills

The more useful the training tool, the faster you can get to the business of good patient care – teaching it, practicing it and eventually, seeing your students use it to assist real people. That’s why we’re excited to announce a medium-fidelity nursing manikin that not only enables students to practice over 20 basic care functions, but teaches first aid, too.

Our Adult Nursing Manikin is such a robust training tool, in fact, that we decided to share the top 10 ways health occupations, allied health and nursing programs can use it to help their students develop targeted healthcare skills.

You can use our Adult Nursing Manikin to:

Use the CPR Simulator to get technique feedback
  1. Practice CPR with a simulator that meets the American Heart Association’s 2019 CPR and ECC guidelines: It includes a feedback device that provides directed, specific, real-time coaching feedback on the rate and depth of chest compression.
  2. Practice assessing, treating and caring for Stage 1 and 2 pressure injuries
  3. Practice both colostomy and ileostomy care, including bag cleaning and changing
  4. Practice basic intravenous insertion and medication administration, basic intramuscular injection and venipuncture procedures on a training arm that features realistic vein penetration and blood flashback (and comes with our unique FAST-fluid™ management system)
  5. Practice urethral catheter insertion on (interchangeable) male and female genitalia
  6. Practice nasogastric insertion, suctioning and care
  7. Practice oxygenation
  8. Practice patient transfer, handling and positioning on a life-size adult manikin
  9. Practice conducting range-of-motion exercises
  10. Teach 10 comprehensive lessons on patient care topics that include bathing, range of motion, pressure injuries, ostomy care and catheterization
  11. BONUS: Teach injury and trauma care by transforming this medical manikin into a trauma manikin with our 43-piece Trauma Moulage Kit

Learn more about our Adult Nursing Manikin or request a personalized quote by clicking here.