“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!
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? Visit our
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.
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
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:
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.
Practice assessing, treating and caring for Stage 1 and 2 pressure injuries
Practice both colostomy and ileostomy care, including bag cleaning and changing
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)
Practice urethralcatheterinsertion on (interchangeable) male and female genitalia
Practice nasogastric insertion, suctioning and care
Practice patient transfer, handling and positioning on a life-size adult manikin
Practice conducting range-of-motion exercises
Teach 10 comprehensive lessons on patient care topics that include bathing, range of motion, pressure injuries, ostomy care and catheterization
BONUS: Teach injury and trauma care by transforming this medical manikin into a trauma manikin with our 43-piece Trauma Moulage Kit
By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Communications Specialist
We created the guideWELD® VR welding simulator to give instructors an inexpensive yet effective way to engage students in welding career exploration and train them on the fundamentals of welding. We know demand for skilled welders is growing, and tools like these help students develop the basic skills they need to succeed in related careers. Five years later, we’ve visited welding classrooms and shops from Arizona to Alaska, helping CTE instructors implement virtual reality welding simulators in their programs. Along the way, we’ve learned a few key lessons:
Students and instructors alike have shared the fun they’ve had trying to beat their peer’s scores on the guideWELD VR welding simulators, which assess users on their work angle, travel angle, speed, nozzle-to-plate distance and straightness, then provide a cumulative score.
Rodian Manjarres was a high school welding student at J. Harley Bonds Career Center in Greer, SC when we caught up with her at a National SkillsUSA competition. She told us of her own guideWELD VR use, “We were all trying to beat each other’s scores and kept taking more turns. Everyone was really excited about it.”
In fact, the simulators’ competitive aspect was a particular benefit to this female welder.
“I liked it a lot because I could beat the guys at it,” said Manjarres. “There are only a few of us that can get the gun to turn gold.”
Instructors have found that competition encourages students to continue enhancing their form and technique and build muscle memory. And the more students use this training tool, the more developed their welding technique becomes.
“Cool tools” can impact fundraising efforts.
We’ve spoken to several ingenious instructors who bring their guideWELD VR units to open houses and other community events. The simulators grab attendees’ attention, helps them understand what students are learning and help generate support for their classrooms.
Dan Leinen uses the simulators in his agriculture classes at Harlan Community High School in Harlan, IA. He told us of one event where letting a community member try the simulator directly impact that individual’s willingness to donate to his ag program.
“This particular company owner had an FFA background but had never welded,” said Leinen. “He sat down and tried the simulator and almost instantly committed to donating funds.”
guideWELD VR is portable, and its virtual nature means there is no gas, ventilation or sparks to worry about. By showing the community what you’re doing in your classroom, they see what they could be supporting.
Technology is attractive.
Recruitment might be one of the most common ways we hear guideWELD VR being used. The tool’s video game-like environment appeals to today’s technology-driven students, and the lack of sparks calms common welding fears. And in regions where students aren’t coming from farms or other environments where welding is the norm, instructors enjoy having a safe way to introduce the skill to new users.
John Paulus uses the simulators in the Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Mobile Manufacturing Lab. The lab travels to various locations across Western Wisconsin to provide middle- and high-school students with manufacturing career exploration opportunities.
“A lot of these kids have never touched a welder or turned a lathe in their life,” said Paulus. “We’re trying to get these kids excited about getting skilled and getting into manufacturing careers. This equipment is enhancing our ability to do that.”
Ready to learn more about the guideWELD VR
They’re tech-savvy. They have short attention spans. They love to learn, but they are not afraid to ask “why?” – why are you teaching them this task, why are they practicing that concept, why are they studying this topic?
One way to answer those questions is to show your health care students just how in-demand health care careers are. Doing so will give them a better understanding of why the skills they are learning are so important.
This infographic contains 12 eye-opening statistics about health care careers. Download it today to give your students a daily reminder of the career opportunities you are preparing them for.
Learn more: Our webinar, Cool Tools for Engaging Today’s Healthcare Students, explores innovative classroom resources for teaching healthcare students with short attention spans, excellent technology skills and a desire for authentic, real-world learning experiences. Watch it here.
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