Making a Difference through Family & Consumer Sciences: A RealCare Baby® User Spotlight

by Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Finance. Housing and interior design. Food science. Human development. The life and career skills that Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) educators equip students with can have a significant impact on their lives. In the two decades since RealCare Baby® first made its debut, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many dedicated FCS professionals who were using RealCare Baby to help prepare young people for their future. In this RealCare Baby User Spotlight, we explore how Battle High School Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher Amanda McGovern uses Baby in her program.

Since September 2013, McGovern has used Baby to provide her Child Development 1 & 2 students with authentic, hands-on learning experiences as they discuss human development. As a result, McGovern’s 14- to 18-year-old students leave the classroom more prepared for children in the future and for careers related to child care.

“The Babies have become so much more than just a project for these students,” said McGovern, who has 11 RealCare Baby 3 infant simulators and one RealCare® Pregnancy Profile® Simulator. “They have really become a great discussion piece for choosing to parent or building their resumes for jobs.”

Now, McGovern incorporates these experiential learning tools and the accompanying curricula regularly, sending Babies home with students for the weekend and also using them during in-class “Baby Bootcamp” sessions. During these sessions, McGovern turns all 11 Babies to demonstration mode and students practice changing their clothes and getting them in and out of car seats while addressing their frequent needs.

“I love the authentic learning, and the reports are incredible,” said McGovern. “I use the provided curriculum frequently to engage students and provide multiple means of learning. It’s easily integrated into classes and provides a great variety of activities. Students are challenged to do this project and take of this Baby for longer than most have ever cared for a real child. The experience takes them out of their comfort zone, and the learning is authentic. It really makes an impact on students now and in the future.”

Ready to learn more about the impact RealCare Baby could have on your program? 

  • Get details about this powerful simulator and the curriculum that accompanies it by clicking here
  • Learn more about Realityworks’ partnership with the American Academy of Family and Consumer Sciences by clicking here
  • Read Amanda McGovern’s complete story (originally published in 2016) by clicking here

3 Ways Product Training Could Benefit Your Program

By Andrea Phan, Realityworks Training Coordinator

Don’t let your new cool learning tools collect dust. Take advantage of training opportunities from Realityworks! Whether your training takes place on-site or online, your personalized sessions will be hosted by product experts who are committed to ensuring you know how to make the most of your tools. Here are three way using our product training opportunities can advance your program:

1. Take the guesswork out of where to start and how to implement your new classroom tools. Training will help jumpstart your product implementation process by giving you the know-how to use your new hands-on learning aides effectively and efficiently. Becoming familiar with how the products work will give you the confidence to integrate them into your classroom and use them with your students. Being prolific with your hands-on learning aids and available curriculum will maximize the time you spend with your students; you’ll spend more time teaching content and less time planning and preparing.

2. Hear best practices experienced teachers have shared with us. Over the years, we’ve learned their unique tips and tricks from teachers as well as tried and true best practices. We are always impressed by new ways teachers use our products to engage students daily.  (In fact, this recent blog post covers a few of those ideas!) Through Realityworks’ training sessions, you have access to experienced professionals like veteran teachers; most of our trainers have been with us for over 10 years.

3. Ask questions tailored to your program and desired classroom use. Training can be customized for you to help you carve out the time, energy and strategy needed to become a product expert. Discussions can be personalized to help address issues that are most relevant for your student population or a certain situation. We know you’re very busy and having a designated training time will also get you jumpstarted on using our time-saving curriculum, which can be modified to fit your classroom needs.

Our trainers value time with our customers and feel it’s the best way we can learn – from you, the teacher. We look forward to making you a product expert and hope you don’t feel like you need to reinvent the wheel. Learn from us, as well as your fellow teachers, on how to implement your new hands-on learning classroom tools and make the most of your program!

Ready to learn more about our product training opportunities? Click here to explore all of your product training options.

Tradeshow Season is Almost Here!

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 FCS and 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 traveling 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!

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.

https://twitter.com/healthedgirl/status/1119057001462550528

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.

Summer-ready RealCare Babies in 5 simple steps

Its that time of year where most put their RealCare Babies away for a well-deserved summer break. Here are our recommendations for summer storage.

1. Give your Babies one final full charge.

  • 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.

2. Wash the clothing and clean the Baby.

  • When cleaning the vinyl try any of the following to remove dirt stains from Baby’s vinyl:- Goop® Hand Cleaner with Pumice

    – GoJo® Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner

    – Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser*

  • 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.

3. Place your Babies in plastic bags to protect the vinyl.

  • Be sure the bag does not have any print that can bleed onto the vinyl.

4. Store your Babies in a cool, dry place.

  • Baby should be stored indoors, in the plastic bag, for optimum conditions. If this isn’t possible, every attempt should be made to keep Baby dry and clean.
  • If Baby is stored in a very cold or hot environment, allow 24 hours for Baby to adjust to a moderate temperature before use.
  • Dramatic changes in temperature can cause water condensation inside Baby. Allow time for the condensation to evaporate before use.

5. BONUS TIP: Jump-start your fall lesson planning by downloading our free career exploration curriculum today!

We know how important it is to provide career exploration opportunities to students. That’s why we created the Using the RealCare Program for Career Exploration, which contains 6 lessons that use our RealCare products (Drug-Affected Baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby, Pregnancy Profile, RealCare Baby and more) as springboards to career exploration lessons.

(Don’t have all the products? No problem! They’re not required to use the curriculum).

Click here to learn more and download the curriculum yourself.

Learn more by watching our on-demand webinar: Packing up RealCare Baby for Summer Vacation

Additional Product Support resources like video tutorials, documentation, webinars and FAQs can be found in our online Product Support Center. If you need further support, contact our Product Support Team by calling 800.830-1416, option 2, or emailing productsupport@realityworks.com.

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 or complete this form.

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.

RealCare Baby’s Unique Care Schedule

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

When programming RealCare Baby for a simulation do you ever wonder what the five numbers under “Schedule Order” mean?

RealCare Babies are pre-programmed with 15 different care schedules. The 5 numbers in the schedule order correspond to the numbers found on your care schedule table which can be found in your program materials, on our website, or on the link here. The care schedule table indicates how much time will be spent caring for the Baby during each hour of a schedule. It will not tell you what care event will be requested or at what time care will be needed, and it will not indicate how long the care event will last.

Below is an example of Schedule 1 found on the Care Schedule Table. As you will see the Baby does not need any care during the 2:00pm and 3:00pm hours, but at 11:00pm most of the hour will be spent caring for the Baby.

Baby will switch to a new schedule at 6:00am the follow morning. You can use the chart to get a sense of how busy a participant’s simulation will be. You can also use the chart to select schedules you feel are appropriate for your participant.

Check out the video below for more great tips on getting started with RealCare Baby.

What in the world is an Xstick?

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Did you know that the Xstick is not a memory stick?

xstickIts technical name is the Xstick Wireless Communication Adapter, and even though the Xstick looks like a memory stick it is actually a communication device. This device sends and receives data between the Control Center and RealCare Babies.

The Xstick does not contain any software for you to install. In order for it to function, you will need to first install the Control Center software from our website. Click here to go directly to the RealCare Baby support page. Once there you can click on the box for either Windows or Mac to install the Control Center.

For more information on getting started with RealCare Baby, take some time to watch the support video below!