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 Ways to Use Ag Models in Your Classroom

We’re hearing back from teachers around the country who are already implementing our animal models in their classrooms. Here are 5 ways to implement these models and engage your students through hands-on learning:

1. Anatomy Testing

Talk through and test students on the different parts of animal anatomy. Classroom idea: use post-it notes to have students label parts on the model.

2. System Identification

Show how the parts work together and how they interact with the different parts of the body. Classroom idea: take the organs out and walk through the process with students and then have them demonstrate it to you or each other.

3. Animal Care

Talk through different challenges that come up with caring for animals. Classroom idea: have students demonstrate dressings on hoofs and other kinds of animal care.

4. Meat Cut Identification

Show students where meat cuts are located on the muscle layer of the animal. Classroom idea: use an outline of the animal and have students draw out the different meat cuts based on what they learned on the model.

5. Disease Investigation

Discuss what the different diseases are that can affect animals, where they are identified on the animal’s body, and what symptoms they will show. Classroom idea: take out and open up the different organs and talk about how diseases can affect them.

For more ideas and information check out our animal models here and take a look at this webinar on Engaging Successful Learners Through Agriculture Education:

Back to School with RealCare Baby

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

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.

15 Ways to Teach Soft Skills in Your CTE Classroom

What are soft skills?

Soft skills, employability skills, job-readiness skills, emotional intelligence… there are many phrases used to describe these skills, but they all mean one thing: they are the personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. They’re considered the “bedside manner” of the workplace.

We’ve heard others say, and we agree – hard skills might get you in the door for an interview, but soft skills will help you get, and keep, a job. And most importantly, that concept applies for ANY job – soft skills are vital for all career paths.

What makes them so vital?

According to a 2016 PayScale survey of more than 60,000 managers and 14,000 recent graduates:

  • 46% of managers said young workers would do well to hone their communication skills
  • 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 that is organized and can manage multiple projects.

Research like this can be found everywhere – and what’s more, educators are seeing it firsthand.

So what can you do to help your students learn these vital skills? You may not know it, but you are already teaching soft skills all the time – it might simply be a matter of emphasizing particular skills, adding time for reflection, etc. Here are 15 ways that you can address soft skill development in your classroom, building on what you’re already doing and incorporating new ideas, to help your students develop those important job-readiness skills no matter what pathway they’re on.

15 ways to teach soft skills in your CTE classroom

  1. Keep soft skills top of mind!
  2. Begin each class with a handshake
  3. Role play workplace scenarios
  4. Practice professionalism on a daily basis
  5. Implement networking activities
  6. Make intentional assignment tweaks
  7. Regularly assign collaborative work
  8. Remember to reflect
  9. Informal and formal oral speaking opportunities
  10. Use small talk conversation cards
  11. Practice giving and receiving feedback
  12. Use video diaries
  13. Coordinate mock interviews
  14. Use student planners
  15. Consider the RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program

Watch the webinar below for more details on these 15 key tips for incorporating soft skills in your classroom:

4 Tips for Incorporating Hands-On Learning Aids Into Your Healthcare Program

Considering incorporating hands-on learning aids into your healthcare program? Here are 4 things you should consider. 

As our healthcare infographic depicts, healthcare workers are in high demand, and that demand is going to keep growing. In-demand skill sets span health science pathways, from allied health professionals to nurses and physician assistants to caregivers who can work with older patients. And as demand for those skills increases, so will the importance of using teaching tools and resources that truly engage the new generations of healthcare students.

One way to engage today’s healthcare students is through the use of hands-on learning aids.

Hands-on learning works for many reasons. Today’s easily distracted students, who have a remarkably short attention spans, need active learning opportunities to stay engaged. They crave the immediate feedback that real-life training scenarios provide. Most importantly, studies show that despite a strong desire to learn, today’s students will disengage with the discussion if they don’t feel connected or don’t see the relevance.

What should you consider when incorporating hands-on learning aids for your healthcare program?

  1. Consider pre-activity. You’re using hands-on learning aids to create an experience, and you can set the stage for that experience by introducing the concept in a simple way. For instance, if you’re using the RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator to help students understand the physical limitations of elderly patients, completing an empathy assessment is a good way to kick off the hands-on experience.
  2. Start with demonstrations. Providing practice opportunities prior to the actual training experience is a good way to get your students comfortable with a new learning aid. Make sure they know that mistakes are allowed; encourage them to be successful. Combined with the opportunity for questions and answers, demonstrations can be a powerful, engaging form of training.
  3. Consider your curriculum. There are many types of hands-on learning aids out there, from low-fidelity task training arms to high-fidelity birthing models. There is a place for both, but which option will best serve your curriculum without going over-budget? Remember, low-fidelity learning aids may not look as fancy as their higher-tech counterparts, but can go a long way towards increasing student engagement in the core concepts you’re already teaching.
  4. Remember to reflect. At the end of the experience, be sure to facilitate reflection on individual performance. Ask your students how they felt during the experience, whether outcomes were met, and what they would do to make it a good experience for their patient? Not only does reflection help underscore core concepts, but it helps your students develop soft skills like critical thinking and reasoning.

Three hands-on learning tools that are making an impact in healthcare classrooms around the country our Geriatric Medication Management Kit, our Blood Pressure Simulator and our catheterization models. See them all by clicking here.

Resources for Starting a Health Science Pathway

When you begin to build your health science pathway plan of study, there are many places you can start and resources to go to. Here are a few to help you get started or even to help revamp and existing program:

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.  They include specific measurable performance objectives for the Health Science Career Cluster in General and as well as each pathway within the cluster.  Review the standards that apply to the pathway you are developing to ensure that you are teaching these basic core competencies in your program.  This is part of the 6 key elements where you are designing the education and training programs.

Industry-Recognized Certifications – There are several organizations to look to when it comes to certifications. The NHA currently offers 8 certifications which can be found on their website: https://www.nhanow.com/certifications NOCTI has 5 different categories of related certifications: Job Ready, Pathway, State Collaboration, Employability Skills and Certificate & Partner. The American Medical Certification Association has many certifications available in 3 categories: Clinical Certification, Administration Certification and Career Advancement/Secondary Certifications.

National Organizations with Assessments or Competitions – The National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) offers a Health Science Assessment. The assessment adds the credibility of a national certification of achievement, satisfies Perkins requirements for technical attainment, validates student mastery of foundational healthcare knowledge and skills, and can shape curriculum delivery through teacher reports identifying students’ success and areas of greatest need by standard.  Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) sponsors dozens of knowledge and skills competitions at the state and national level relating to a wide variety of health science topics. HOSA Offers 56 Competitive Events that are aligned to the National Healthcare Foundation and Accountability Criteria outlined by the National Consortium for Health Science Education.

For more great information and resources on starting your health science pathway, take a few minutes to check out our latest webinar below:

5 Secrets from Successful RealCare Baby Users: The Logistics of Launching a RealCare Baby Program

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Creating and organizing a well-run RealCare Baby program can take careful preparation and planning. Here are 5 key strategies that successful users have shared to keep in mind when starting a new program or even when revamping an old one!

  1. Organize Your Program:
  • Take an inventory your resources
  • Number all items so that you can easily put sets together including: ID, Diapers, Baby, Clothing, and Other Accessories
  • Create a bin for each Baby and its matching accessories
  1. Prepare YOU – the teacher:
  • Watch the RealCare Student Video
  • Take Baby home to get firsthand experience of what your students will be going through
  • Prepare permission slips
  • Visit our Product Support Page for great resources including FAQs, Guides, and How-To videos!
  • Program Baby a few days ahead of the simulation starting
  1. Preparing Students
  • Have students sign-up ahead of time if spreading out over multiple nights or
  • weekends
  • Watch the RealCare Student Video
  • Have student download the Student App -FREE for iPhone and Android
  • Do a Baby DEMO in the classroom so that students know what steps to take
  1. Pick-up day
  • Create stations for students to easily access all items
  • Have a student helper or two volunteer to help distribute items and keep things moving along
  • Have your inventory list to track which students are going home with which numbered baby and accessories
  1. Return Day
  • Have student helpers inventory items as they are returned to make sure all items are returned and intact
  • Have your inventory list to track of items as they are returned by each student
  • Clean Baby and supplies
  • Give students time to write a reflection on how the experience went and what they learned
  • If possible, have parents or guardians write a reflection on how the experience went from their point of view

For more great tips check out this great webinar today!

I Can, We Will Make a Difference

FFA is out in full force and showing their best qualities and mission of “making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for Premier Leadership, Personal Growth, and Career Success through Agriculture Education.” Students and educators are showing how they not only care about great practices and programs, but also how important it is to have each student gain valuable experience and education.

I Can. We Will.

The FFA convention motto states “I Can. We Will.” and it is easy to see how this is being lived out. Each student has honed their craft, focused on their skill development and prepared tirelessly to show their abilities from parliamentary procedure to judging, flower design to persuasion speeches. It has been great to see so much hard work and their capacity to encourage one another. Win or lose, it is making the Ag community better, sharper and a more well-oiled machine.

Hands-On Collaboration

From the exhibit floor, it has been an honor to discuss best practices and learning styles of their classrooms and students with so many Agriculture educators. We enjoyed watching as the exhibit booth became a place for educational ideas. As one teacher was talking about how much they would use the Plant Science Kit, another started sharing ideas of a classroom activity using ‘smores to create the cell walls of a plant. The discussion got both educators more and more engaged and excited as they collaborated about how the best ideas come when they are looking for more engaging ways to bring learning to their students. As they moved over to look at the Animal Science products, they engaged more teachers talking about how the Ruminant Model could be used multiple times as their students learned about digestive systems and how getting a real ruminant from a butcher could enhance the real-life understanding.

Reality at Work

The engagement of teachers as they discussed how they best teach different topics brought the motto full circle. Not only are they looking to find more ways that they can, but they are also learning from each other, working together even when they are from states as far away as Ohio and Texas or Florida and Oregon. They are seeing and benefiting from the WE CAN. They are understanding that new hands-on learning models bring more in-depth learning to their students. Collaboration with their colleagues and other students brings about engagement, broadens their horizons and strengthens the bonds that make us all stronger. The FFA goals of Premier Leadership, Personal Growth and Career Success easily become a reality in this environment, reinforcing what we as a company know firsthand, that reality works!

Empathy in Geriatric Patient Care

Careers in geriatrics and gerontology are on the rise:

  • 4 of the top 6 occupations with most projected job growth through 2024 deal with geriatric care
  • Health occupations and social assistance industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and add the most jobs through 2024
  • 5 million job openings will be available in the healthcare and social assistance sector from 2012 to 2022
  • Healthcare and social assistance industry careers are projected to increase 29 percent through 2022, compared to an average of 11 percent for all industries

Realityworks has developed the Geriatric Simulator and Geriatric Sensory Impairment Kit for instructors to help students to develop empathy for the geriatric population. Both include curriculum, addressing age-related sensory challenges and patient care skills.

Will today’s students be prepared to care for our growing elderly population? What does empathy in geriatric patient care look like?

The following infographic explores these ideas and more, and is a great resource for keeping the importance of empathy and sensitivity at the front of students’ minds in the classroom.

For another great resource on this topic, check out this recent webinar: How to Teach Geriatric Sensitivity to Students.

3 Reasons You Should Be Using Your ‘Lesson-At-A-Glance’ Curricula Feature

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

As a teacher, your lesson plan is your road map. It’s how you plan what your students need to learn and how you ensure that learning will be done effectively during class time. It’s your go-to resource yourself short on planning time or when you find yourself in sudden need of a substitute teacher.

We understand the importance of a good lesson plan. That’s why we developed a lesson template for every curriculum we offer (and we offer a lot – almost all of our hands-on learning aids for Career and Technical Education include curriculum).

Do you use RealCare Baby® to teach child development topics? Do you use our Food Safety Kit to teach culinary skills? Do you use our nursing training tools to address basic nursing skills? Each of those products includes a robust curriculum, and each lesson includes a Lesson-At-A-Glance feature.

Here are 3 reasons you should be using the Lesson-At-A-Glance feature of your curriculum.

1. Use it to save time. 
As a teacher, your time is invaluable. The Lesson-At-A-Glance is your quick-reference guide to each lesson. It tells you what will be covered, what materials you’ll need, how to prepare and how long each lesson will take to teach.

2. Use it to quickly prepare a substitute teacher. 
The Lesson-At-A-Glance feature lists the activities, required materials, preparation steps and teaching time for every lesson. Bookmark this feature for your next sub and they’ll know exactly what they need to do for every period.

3. Use it to customize your program. 
We know you’re picking and choosing from a variety of sources to make your lesson the best it can be. Use the Lesson-At-A-Glance feature to quickly skim the covered topics and required lesson materials, and hone in on the topics that will complement your plan the best.

Wondering if your product came with curriculum? Do you need to verify that a product you’re considering includes curriculum? Visit our website, or contact us for details. We’re happy to discuss your unique program and help you determine the best way to use your Realityworks curriculum.