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

Learn More

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

Learn More

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

Learn More

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!

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

Getting Started with RealCare Baby

When you receive your RealCare Baby, the package will contain much more than just the infant simulator. You have in front of you a complete curriculum, a means of reporting and grading, and all the supplies necessary for the operation of the Babies.

You should begin with:

  • RealCare Baby includes: two-piece outfit (blue or pink), sleeper, outerwear (optional), bodysuit, one set of color-coded diapers (one green patch, one yellow patch), bottle, 5 wristbands, and ID
  • The optional RealCare Baby Accessory Bundle includes: diaper bag, blanket, and car seat/infant carrier with car seat detection kit
  • RealCare® Program Starter Kit: Control Center software, X-stick Wireless Communication Adaptor, curriculum access, participant care video access, single charger or 5-Baby charging station, and instructor key

Let’s get to know the back of your RealCare Baby!

Recessed button: the emergency stop button which can be used if an emergency comes up during a simulation. The simulation can be ended by having a parent/guarding insert a paperclip, or something similar, into that button and holding it in place until they hear 6 chimes. After the 6th chime, the Baby will turn off. By doing this you risk losing part of the simulation report, so it should be used only in extreme emergency situations. This process should never be released to your students/participants. You should only provide the information to a parent/guardian.

3 colored lights:

  •  Red is the battery light – if it is flashing, you need to charge the batteries before you send it out for a simulation
  • Green is the charging indicator – if the Baby is plugged in for a charge, it should be on
  • Yellow is the communication light – it should always be on solid when you are communicating with the control center software and Baby during simulation programming and retrieving report data at the end of a simulation.

Charging port: located below the lights, this is where you plug the charger into Baby

Battery compartment lock: only the instructor key ring will open this. You never need to go in here unless product support asks you to or you need to change the batteries.

That is a quick rundown of the basics of RealCare Baby. For a more in-depth look and for information on the Control Center Software, programming baby, using Baby in Demo Mode, and more, make sure to check out the video below:

For more information on RealCare Baby support visit our product support page here.

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 $100 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.

Two Teachers Appointed to RealCare Advisory Council

Realityworks, Inc., is excited to welcome two new educators to our RealCare Customer Advisory Council. Northridge Middle School Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Teacher Cynthia Leonard and Catonsville High School FACS Teacher Christina DeSimone will bring over 22 years of experience using Realityworks’ RealCare Baby infant simulator to a council charged with guiding the popular teaching tool’s development, plus that of related learning aids and resources.

“RealCare Customer Advisory Council members play an integral role in our marketing and product development strategies. They truly help us shape the way our programs impact young people’s lives,” said RealCare Product Manager Denise Bodart. “The insight gained by educators like Cynthia Leonard and Christina DeSimone help ensure that our programs remain relevant. They help us continue providing the targeted learning opportunities today’s students need to develop job skills.”

Widely known as the “Robot Baby,” RealCare Baby is a programmable infant simulator that cries for care day and night, then tracks its caregiver’s responses. It is most often used in conjunction with curriculum and activities to teach middle and high school students about child care, infant safety, child development and teen pregnancy prevention.

An active member of AAFCS and former board member of MAFCS, DeSimone is a tireless advocate for FACS education who has grown her program from 55 students to 168 in the last 3 years. She currently teaches Child Development and related courses at Catonsville High School in Catonsville, MD.

Leonard began using RealCare Baby at Northridge Middle School in Crawfordsville, IN in 2004. Three years later Leonard, who holds a master’s degree in education and is a member of AAFCS and AAFCS Indiana, successfully petitioned the local healthcare community to award her 5 additional simulators, which she credits with helping lower the local high school’s teen pregnancy rate.

“I look forward to collaborating with other teachers around the US and hearing how their programs work,” said Leonard. “It will also be fun and an honor to work with others in the planning of products for the future.”

Realityworks established its RealCare Customer Advisory Council in 2012 to help make its programs even more beneficial to Career and Technical Education pathways. The council gives passionate customers and leading educators a voice in product development initiatives and the opportunity to provide valuable insight into best practices and marketing strategies for Baby and related learning aids. Members’ experience educating youth on these subjects is used to further guide and direct Realityworks’ product offerings.

For more information on Realityworks’ products and programs, visit http://realityworks.com/

Back to School with RealCare Baby

It’s Back to School time, which means it’s time to get RealCare Baby out of storage and ready for some new adventures! Here are some tips to get you started and back in the groove with your RealCare Baby program.

  1. Take the RealCare Program Health Assessment to learn how you can improve the health of your RealCare Program.
  2. Before deploying Baby each week, charge it overnight to ensure a full 7 day’s use.
  3. Number all accessories that come with each Baby to easily track parts.
  4. Review the many support resources available to you free on our website including:
  5. Give your students access to the RealCare Baby Guide app (available for iPhone and Android) so they can easily access “how-to” info, FAQs and video guides 24/7 to help them with their care experience.
  6. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube, for news, updates, free downloads, product support tips, etc.

For more back to school tips and tricks take a look at this video, which reviews Baby’s components, programming, report interpretation, curricula, product support resources and more.

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!

5 Key Steps for Preparing RealCare Baby® 3 for Summer Break

As we approach the end of another school year, it’s time to think about getting your RealCare Babies ready for the summer break. Here are 5 key steps to take so that they will be ready when you come back in the fall:

Step 1: Complete an inventory:

  • Gather up your Babies, accessories and supplies and take a quick inventory of what you have. Each Baby should have:
    • 2 diapers, one with a green patch and one with a yellow patch
    • Bottle and/or breastfeeding device
    • Student ID with wristbands
    • Infant Bodysuit
    • Sleepwear
    • Single Charger or 5-Baby Charger
  • Identify any resources that you need to order, like wristbands, so you have the items on hand when school starts in the fall.

Step 2: Place a resupply order: Visit our online store to quickly and easily order any consumables and resources you need for your program such as wristbands and student workbooks.

Step 3: Wash clothing and clean the babies:

  • For Baby: Disinfectant wipes, Goop® Hand Cleaner with Pumice, GoJo® Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner, Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser, or Acne Cream are all great for removing dirt and stains from Baby’s vinyl.
  • 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.

Step 4: Battery maintenance:

  • 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.

Step 5: Store Baby: Baby should be stored indoors, in a plastic bag, for optimum conditions. If this isn’t possible, every attempt should be made to keep Baby dry and clean. Note: dramatic changes in temperature can cause water condensation inside Baby. Allow time for the condensation to evaporate before use.

For more great tips and tricks on preparing Baby for summer break check out the video below: