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.

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.

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!

5 Great Ways to Bring Soft Skills into the CTE Classroom

Soft skills, employability skills, people skills… however you refer to them, soft skills are critical to career success. Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge.

So how can we ensure that skills are being taught in every CTE class?

Realityworks created its own program: the RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program. Through our research, talking with educators and confirming information with business owners, we found a lot of great ways to not only engage students in this topic but to help them carry these skills on in life.

We know that adding additional topics to your curriculum can be scary. We also know educators do not have a lot of time and sometimes are unsure how to start incorporating this topic into their program.

Use the 5 ideas below to incorporate soft skill development into your classroom without stress.

Keep in mind, these ideas could work for different CTE areas, including engineering, nursing, Family and Consumer Sciences, welding and business. The goal is to start addressing these skills in your classroom!

  1. Create Conversation Cards. Write a variety of conversation topics onto note cards: “Describe the last book you read,” “Discuss the previous assignment and how you handled the questions,” or “What do you want to do after high school?” Then take 5 minutes of each class to pair students up with one conversation card and have them discuss the topic. Use this activity to teach communication skills and show your students how to converse with their peers.

Great for: ANY PATHWAY!  Make your cards about topics in class or make them generic!

  1. Bring in guest speakers. Ask community members in your area of education to speak to the class on soft skills topics. Recommended questions include: “What soft skills are important to your profession?” “What soft skills have you used in the last week at work?” “How can working on soft skills get me a job?”

Great for: ANY PATHWAY!  Invite someone in that has a career your students might want someday.

  1. Take time to reflect. If you are working on specific soft skills, make sure you give students a few minutes at the end of class to write about what went well, what could be improved on and what they noticed. For example, if they are working in a group, they are developing the ability to work on a team. Have them reflect on what it is like working in a team. If they just presented on a topic to their classmates, have them reflect on how they felt presenting, what could have made the presentation go better and what they did right.

Great for: ANY PATHWAY!  Reflection time is working on critical thinking – one of the big soft skills needed in today’s workplace.

  1. Create responsibility in the classroom. This could mean:
    1. Having students use day planners to help with time management (encourage blocking time for homework)
    2. Having students take care of a plant for the semester – plant it, water it, feed it and care for it. While simple, this is great for responsibility!

Great for: ANY PATHWAY! No matter what class you teach, your students need to show up on time, prepared and ready to listen and participate in class. These are all soft skills.

  1. Get the RealCareer Employability Skills Program. This program is filled with activities that hit on the KEY soft skills needed to succeed. It includes a full curriculum, workbooks, scenario cards and presentation slides. This out-of-the-box program makes it SIMPLE to incorporate soft skills in ANY CTE pathway.

We have also recently added pathway/occupation-specific workplace scenario cards for Agriculture, Child Care, Culinary, Geriatrics, Nursing and Welding careers.

We’re also excited to be celebrating CTE month. Make sure you click here to download our free CTE infographic today!

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.

4: 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.

5: 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

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

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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!