How to Choose the Best Simulation for Your Welding Program

Note: This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Techniques. ACTE members can read the complete article on page 8 of the current issue. Not a member? Click here to join and access this monthly career and technical education publication.

THE DRIVE FOR CREDENTIALING IN CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) HAS BEEN A BOON
for students, inspiring educators to rethink how they prepare students for high-demand, high-skill and high-wage jobs. CTE program administrators strive to hire certified instructors, and funding is often based on the number of students to achieve certification in high-demand, high-wage and high-skill fields.

In the past, this might have meant purchasing high-cost equipment to mimic the workplace. Students would train on those products and perhaps become proficient. But now preparing students for these jobs is less about equipment, and more about the skills necessary to move into a career in a chosen field.

The Cost of Hands-on Learning
When you think about a hands-on learning resource for welding programs, you might consider that welding is hands-on by nature. Often, welding students gather at a distance, all dressed in protective equipment and darkening helmets, as they observe an instructor demonstrate a very intricate technique. Students are expected to watch, understand and then practice. ­is can be a very costly endeavor; students learning to weld can go through materials very quickly, and they don’t always develop a deep understanding of what they are doing. Simulation, in comparison, allows students to
experience welding in a way they can’t in the booth — learning, for example, why a work angle is critical to creating a weld that will hold. Simulation allows them to experience and improve the skills they need to become certified welders.

Simulation
Simulation is a method for practice and learning. It is a technique (not a technology) to replace and amplify real experiences with guided ones. ­rough simulation, students can replicate the real-world welding experience and become immersed in an interactive fashion. is results in a deeper understanding of the necessary skills, and it enables them to transfer those skills even faster. In welding, students can master techniques like work angle, travel angle and speed in a safe environment before they enter a welding booth.

Studies show that students who learn to weld in a virtual environment learn faster and more efficiently (Stone, McLaurin, Zhong & Watts, 2013). To create a quality weld, you need to master speed. Welding procedure specifications require a welder to perform an optimal weld at a specified number of inches per minute. If you were told to move your hand from left to right at 11 inches per minute, how would you know how to do that? How would you know if you were going too fast, too slow or just right? You would practice and practice, examining your welds for defects and hoping you would eventually gain mastery.

In the virtual world, students are guided so that they gain muscle memory from the start. They receive immediate feedback and are given the opportunity to alter their speed if necessary. Once student welders have mastered their technique in the virtual world, they can move on to real equipment and welding metal. Making these resources available to many students at once is crucial to the success of the welding workforce.

ACTE members, log in to read the complete article on page 8 of the May Techniques issue. Not a member? Click here to join.

Diane Ross is the education development manager for Realityworks, Inc., where she works with states and school districts to develop better programs, products and pathways in career and technical education programs. She has a master’s in secondary education from Marshall University and is an advisor for the National Standards for FACS Education. Email her at diane.ross@realityworks.com.

 

Coding Grant Helps North Carolina Students Explore In-Demand Career Options

Written by Timm Boettcher – Realityworks President and CEO

In Beaufort County, North Carolina, programmers are in high demand. Job forecasts conducted by local workforce development boards show a 94% growth rate for programming jobs among 27 eastern NC counties from 2016-2021; programming skills, along with tooling, machine and drone operation skills, have been among the most in-demand job skills listed by local and regional manufacturing businesses for three straight years.

When Beaufort County Schools (BCS) saw an opportunity to fund an extension of the district’s coding program into K-12 classrooms across the district and at the local community college, administrators didn’t hesitate to apply. Last fall, North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson announced that 16 school districts, including Beaufort County, had been awarded grants totaling $800,000 through the second round of the Coding and Mobile App Development Grant Program, which was launched in 2017 with funding from the state’s general assembly.

“BCS’s strategic STEM plan, the use of Digital Learning Competencies training, and the injection of real-world needs provided through our advisory process and partnerships with our local industries produced the perfect conditions for synergy around STEM including coding,” said Wendy Petteway, BCS Career and Technical Education Department Director. “We needed to expand beyond where we were and extend coding into K-12 across the district and at Beaufort County Community College, and the coding grant has provided the opportunity for that expansion.”

Click here to read the entire article, which was originally posted in ACTE’s IndustryConnect blog in March 2019. 

12 Eye-Opening Stats About Health Care Careers

Today’s health care students are unique.

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.

Welding Implementation in the 21st Century

Skilled welders are more in demand than ever before. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 – just two years away – there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, welders and teachers.

For welding instructors and trainers, launching a new welding program, or reinventing a current one, can seem like a daunting task. There are a lot of questions to ask including what equipment will help students the most, and what curriculum is out there to help you get started.

We’ve used feedback from welding instructors across the country to develop the Welding Solutions Implementation Guide, which will help you to walk through all of these questions and more.

The four key areas that have been identified as key to the 21st Century Welding Classroom are:

1. Welding Simulation Lab

  • Explore careers, foundational learning, provide more arc time
  • A safe, cost-effective way to teach welding fundamentals

2. Live Welding Booths

  • Corrective guides, immediate feedback, classroom management
  • A one-of-a-kind solution for guidance inside the welding helmet during live welding

3. Visual Weld Inspection

  • Assessment and correction techniques, quality inspection
  • An instructional aid to teach weld defects and discontinuities

4. Destructive Weld Testing

  • Prepare for careers, self-assessment
  • Challenge students to test their own welds and determine what went wrong

By combining these four areas into a welding program, you can help set your students up for success. Click here for more information and to see the complete guide.

5 Facts about Soft Skills

What are Soft Skills? Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Recent studies have found that employers think personality skills are just as important, if not more important, than hard skills.

46% of managers said young workers would do well to hone their communication skills and 56% said recent grads do not pay attention to detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

44% of managers reported a lack of leadership qualities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

36% reported lower-than-needed interpersonal and teamwork skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

60% of managers claim the new graduates they see taking jobs within their organizations do not have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they feel are necessary for the job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

57% of manager say they look for a candidate who is organized and can manage multiple projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about soft skills and how to implement an employability program in your Career and Technical Education classroom check out this webinar:

Bovine Breeder™ artificial insemination simulator helps North Dakota students learn

At least once a week, Rolla High School Agriculture Education Instructor William Fritz reminds his students that “no one has ever drowned in sweat.” Fritz favors the quote because it represents his belief in the value of hard work, a lesson he tries to teach his students at every opportunity.

That value is one of the reasons Fritz appreciates hands-on learning aids like Realityworks’ Bovine Breeder™ artificial insemination simulator – it enables his students to test their knowledge in a realistic, interactive way.

“My students all know – when I test or assess them, I’ll always try to make the experience as real-life as possible. These are careers we’re studying; real farmers actually do this, and I want them to understand what that means,” said Fritz. “Resources like this help, especially for kids who haven’t grown up on farms.”

The Bovine Breeder is a life-sized model designed to teach correct cervix manipulation, AI gun positioning and pregnancy palpation. It allows students to see inside the reproductive tract to identify reproductive system landmarks and helps them learn correct techniques for inserting and delivering semen. Fritz, who is the school’s FFA advisor as well as a member of the North Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education board, uses the Bovine Breeder in his Livestock Production classes. His ninth- through twelfth-grade students spend about four weeks reviewing the beef industry, and the unit culminates with the study of beef reproduction. At the end, his students’ final test is to perform artificial insemination on the Bovine Breeder.

“During the test, they cannot watch, since, in real life, you don’t get to see the inside,” said Fritz, referring to a feature of the simulator that makes reproductive system landmarks visible. “I make each student complete the process of AI while simultaneously asking them questions about the reproductive system of the cow. In order for them to get an A, they have to successfully move through the cervix.”

Click here to read the complete story!

Learn more about the Bovine Breeder artificial insemination simulator by checking out the intro video below:

4 Tips for Building a CNA Pathway Program

When you begin to build your certified nursing assistant pathway plan of study, there are many places you can start and resources to go to.

Plan of Study Worksheets – Advance CTE has put together a great page featuring the 16 Career Clusters from the National Career Clusters Framework along with the pathways that fall under each cluster. The website, www.careertech.org/career-clusters, has links to each cluster and tools like Knowledge & Skills Statements and editable Plans of Study worksheets.

Six Key Elements of Career Pathways – Career Pathways Toolkit: A Guide for System Development is another great resource and includes the Six Key Elements of Career Pathways. It was designed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration and the Manhattan Strategy Group to help guide local and state teams through the essential components necessary for developing a comprehensive career pathways system.

Common Career Technical Core Standards – One very helpful place to go is cte.careertech.org and the Common Career Technical Core Standards for Health Science. This page includes specific measurable performance objectives for the Health Science Career Cluster in General and as well as the Therapeutic Services Pathway which is the pathway CNA programs fall under. Review the standards that apply to the pathway to ensure that you are teaching these basic core competencies in your program.

Build an Advisory Council – Involving local healthcare industry leaders and clinical professionals in your pathway development is critical. How can you understand what local employers are looking for in a health care professional if you don’t ask?  Consider putting together a health care advisory council.  Choose these from a variety of settings and levels of responsibility to get a variety of viewpoints and input.

For more great info on launching your program, check out the webinar below!

How 3 Amazing Schools Are Preparing High School Kids for Health Science Careers

Note: This article was originally published by We Are Teachers on July 9, 2018. The entire article can be found here.

Health science careers make up more than half of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations nationwide. Projections show that the United States will need 5.6 million more healthcare workers by 2020. It’s no wonder that more high schools are offering programs to help prepare students for careers in the medical field. Here’s a look at three schools offering successful and innovative approaches to healthcare education.

Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education High School – Jamaica, New York

Thomas Edison CTE School has a long history of offering healthcare-related programs. It is the only school in New York City with a medical assisting program approved by the state education department. While the courses offered prepare the 2,100 students for various careers, the medical assisting program is extremely popular. Dr. Margaret Savitzky, a medical assisting instructor at the school, points to several key reasons why the program is so successful.

STUDENTS CAN LEAVE WITH CERTIFICATION.

After completing their course work at Thomas Edison CTE, students can take their exams and get hired. “The medical assisting program is a three-year program. It culminates in a certificate in medical assisting when students pass the national certification exam,” says Dr. Savitsky. “This gives students the unique opportunity to leave high school and begin working in the healthcare field.”

THE CURRICULUM IS COMPREHENSIVE.

There are layers of learning that need to occur before a student is ready for a health science career. And as students continue through the program, all those layers build upon each other and get increasingly advanced.

“As sophomores, students study more general topics. Courses cover the history of healthcare, healthcare law, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and first aid,” explains Dr. Savitzky. “During their junior year, students focus on the clinical skills. And as seniors, they learn the administrative tasks that a medical assistant performs. These include appointment scheduling, patient reception, triaging, insurance-related tasks, as well as résumé writing and preparation for the national certification exams.”

“Students come back to visit. They tell me that the program gave them a very solid foundation to help them in their studies,” says Dr. Savitsky.

STUDENTS GET HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE.

In addition to book learning, the students regularly conduct activities that let them practice essential skills, such as vital sign measurements, venipuncture, capillary puncture, ECG testing, urinalysis, pediatric measurements and visual acuity testing, and pulmonary function testing.

Prior to completing the program, “students are offered the opportunity to participate in volunteer internships with local healthcare facilities to see healthcare practice in the real world,” says Dr. Savitzky. This allows students to fine-tune their areas of interest, get a glimpse into working in a health science career, and establish relationships with potential employers.

Click here to read the about the two other great programs that are helping to prepare their students for careers in Health Science.

For more information on the Health Science line from Realityworks, check out the video below:

Customer Spotlight: Dove Healthcare Nursing Program

By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Communications Specialist

Less than five minutes into my first conversation with Bobby Scanlon, it was clear to me that she is in the right profession.

A nursing educator at Dove Healthcare, a long-term care facility in western Wisconsin, Scanlon has spent over two decades teaching geriatrics and elder care to CNA and nursing students. A lot has changed since she first began teaching, from teaching tools and methods to students’ expectations, but Scanlon’s dedication has only grown – and as a result, she is helping to make a big impact on healthcare education.

Comprised of six skilled nursing facilities, four assisted living facilities and one rehabilitation company, Dove Healthcare serves almost 500 residents and patients every day. As a nursing educator, Scanlon’s job is to teach her CNA, CBRF and CPR students the skills they need to provide quality care. However, Scanlon takes it one step further. Case in point: The reason for my visit with Scanlon that day was to learn more about the unique ways she was using Realityworks’ RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator to help her students develop empathy and geriatric sensitivity, key soft skills for anyone working with elderly patients.

The Geriatric Simulator is a wearable sensitivity suit that enables users to experience a variety of age-related physical challenges, like stiff joints, decreased mobility, visual impairment and loss of sensation. The interactive nature of this learning aid stands in stark contrast against the lecture and textbook teaching methods Scanlon’s own nursing instructors used when she was a student. As Scanlon described her excitement over using the simulator for the first time, and how much she was enjoying finding new ways to incorporate this unique tool into her program, I found myself impressed by Scanlon’s willingness to present her students with a variety of learning opportunities.

Years of teaching have taught Scanlon that to be an effective 21st Century educator, adaptation is key. Embracing new technology and teaching styles can be daunting, but Scanlon has seen the benefits firsthand. Her classes feature a combination of teaching techniques, from traditional lectures and PowerPoint presentations to small group networking opportunities, one-on-one skills practice sessions and of course, interactive learning aids like the Geriatric Simulator.

Scanlon has always sought to teach her students empathy and compassion toward the elderly, sharing with me that she regularly emphasizes the interactions her students have with residents during clinicals. Of course, there’s nothing like experiencing a lesson for yourself, and that’s what Scanlon does with the Geriatric Simulator. Her students are challenged to complete basic daily tasks like turning the pages of a book, buttoning a shirt, sitting and standing while wearing the full suit, which includes a walker and visual impairment glasses. The experiences make an impact; I was able to observe a CNA class as they tried the suit, and statements of “Oh my gosh,” “Oh wow” and “I didn’t know this is what they felt like!” came from every student, along with many statements of understanding.

Those statements of understanding – those “aha” moments – are why Scanlon exposes her students to these types of learning experiences. Throughout our conversations, she repeatedly stated that her goal by the end of each class is to “pass on my passion for working with the elderly to my students.” Her dedication and passion for elder care will drive her continued success, and as she’s already observed, empower her students to positively impact the lives of the elderly as well.

What are you doing to create “aha” moments in your classroom? Share your ideas in the comments, then watch how Dove Healthcare students reacted to our Geriatric Simulator by watching this video.

It’s All About Experience: 5 Tips for Engaging Today’s Students in Elder Care from a Seasoned Nursing Educator

by Emily Kuhn, Communications Specialist for Realityworks, Inc.

Note: This article was originally published by the National Consortium for Health Science Education in their Spring newsletter. The entire article can be found here.

It’s been 25 years since Bobby Scanlon began teaching geriatrics, and to say that a lot has changed is an understatement. Twenty-first century learning aids and technology have transformed what today’s students expect to experience in a classroom. Tech-savvy and not afraid to question what they’re hearing or seeing, today’s students love to learn, but they aren’t afraid to ask “why.” What’s more, they crave hands-on, real-world learning opportunities.

For some educators, the idea of embracing new technology and teaching styles to provide such opportunities can be daunting. However, if there’s anything Scanlon has learned in almost three decades of teaching, it’s that adaptation is not only vital to be an effective 21st century educator, but it can truly help transform your students’ education — and help them be that much more successful in their careers.

“One of my goals by the end of each class is to pass on my passion for working with the elderly to my students,” said Scanlon, who is a nurse educator with Dove Healthcare in West Central Wisconsin. “If I’m able to get even three students from a class of 10 to stay in long-term care, then that’s three more people who can touch the lives of the elderly. So I’m always looking for new ways to present a topic to my students and get them excited about learning.”

True to her word, Scanlon regularly incorporates new ideas and teaching methods into the CNA, CBRF, and CPR courses she teaches for Dove, but there are a few strategies she now consistently uses to ensure her students are presented with a variety of learning opportunities – and that there is a balance. Click here to read the 5 tips Scanlon recommends for engaging today’s health science students in elder care.

For more information on Realityworks’  innovative tools for skill training for health science programs check out the video below and visit the Health Science page.