“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.
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!
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?
Hands-on tools quickly engage students and provide tactile learning
Manipulatives give students a deeper understanding of complex concepts
Students are able to interact and learn from one another
Lesson plans are provided for easy implementation
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Nursing training tool recognized in national competition for its unique impact on healthcare education
We’re proud to announce that our one-of-a-kind Blood Pressure Simulator has been named an EdTech Award 2019 finalist. The US-based award program is the largest and most competitive recognition program in the education technology sector; it recognized our Blood Pressure Simulator for the unique ways the tool engages and assesses students as they learn how to take blood pressure before assisting real patients.
“We’re honored to have been named as an EdTech Award finalist
for one of our internally developed products, “ said Timm Boettcher,
Realityworks President & CEO. “Today’s Career and Technical Education
instructors are working harder than ever to ensure their students graduate with
skills they can use to succeed in high-demand fields such as nursing. Tools
like our Blood Pressure Simulator offer realistic learning opportunities that
allow students to explore careers and develop real-world knowledge.”
Taking a patient’s blood pressure is a common aspect of any doctor’s office visit, and a vital skill that all aspiring nurses and many other healthcare workers need. Our Blood Pressure Simulator differs from other blood pressure training tools by offering students more realistic opportunities to practice the proper techniques for taking blood pressure prior to actual clinical experience. Students can select from pre-programmed testing scenarios or use the simulator to generate random testing scenarios as they listen for blood pressure and Korotkoff phases on standardized patients or manikins. Instructors can use the simulator’s audio feature to listen and assess.
The EdTech Awards were established in 2010 to recognize the
most exceptional innovators, leaders and trendsetters in education technology.
This year’s finalists and winners were judged based on criteria including
pedagogical workability, efficacy and results, support, clarity, value and
potential. More information can be found at https://edtechdigest.com.
Our Blood Pressure Simulator is part of a line of health science training tools developed to engage today’s students in high-demand healthcare fields, train them on various nursing procedures and help them develop key soft skills. We continue to look for other product development opportunities in areas with a skills gap to engage today’s students in needed career fields.
For more information on Realityworks’ products and programs,
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:
Store tools and Personal Protective Equipment
Complete woodworking, metalworking or small engine repair projects
Keep your favorite tools close at hand, and safely locked up when not in use
Work with up to 500 pounds of materials
Safely store gas cylinders for even the largest welders and projects
Protect your equipment from slag and grinding dust
Work on welding projects by incorporating the removable welding curtain that comes with the cart
Demonstrate techniques and best practices from a point of view that all students can effectively observe
Store projects and extra scraps
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:
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.
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.
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
“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
“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
You can also watch the recording from McIntosh’s “Using Hands-On Learning Aids
and Simulation to Teach Animal Science for Agriculture Education” webinar
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