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.

Realityworks Recognizes Arizona Welding Instructor with CTE Champion Award

We’re so excited to announce the recipient of our CTE Champion Award, Marana High School Welding Instructor Kenton Webb. Product manager Jamey McIntosh presented the award to Webb at the Association for Career & Technical Education’s CareerTech VISION 2018 Conference in San Antonio, Texas on November 30. The award recognizes the remarkable methods Webb has implemented to engage his welding students in viable career opportunities and help them develop in-demand job skills. Those methods include using the guideWELD® VR welding simulator and guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system.

“My ultimate goal is to help these kids get a successful career so they’re not walking away from high school with just a diploma – they’re walking away with a skill they can use,” said Webb. “I’m humbled by this award. It’s nice to get recognized for the work you put in.

About 250 students participate in Marana High School’s welding program annually, an increase of almost 200 students from when Webb began the program 10 years ago. In the last nine years, the program has come to be one of the premier high school welding shops in the state. First-year students use the guideWELD VR welding simulator to hone basic welding skills in a safe, virtual environment, then use the guideWELD LIVE real welding guidance system in the welding booth to understand proper welding techniques and master bad habits. Webb also challenges his students to identify and assess their own welds using the RealCareer™ Weld Defects Kit.

“What I saw and heard when I visited Kenton’s classroom made his passion for educating clear,” said McIntosh. “He knows that being able to help his students truly understand where an in-demand skill like welding could take them is key to engaging them in welding training.”

Realityworks’ CTE Champion award is awarded to educators in programs related to Welding & Trade Skills, Family & Consumer Sciences, Agriculture and Health Science. Learn more about Realityworks by visiting www.realityworks.com.

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!

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:

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/

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.

 

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:

6 Great Features of the Bovine Breeder artificial insemination simulator

Realityworks recently launched a new product, the Bovine Breeder artificial insemination simulator. Check out these 6 great features of this innovative learning product:

  1. Realistic cow’s hindquarters and reproductive system to teach proper AI techniques
  2. Simulator fits on classroom tabletops and collapses for easy movement and storage
  3. Choose from two hide options: brown or black and white
  4. Removable cow hide cover to train with visual cues 
  5. Adjustable pieces to give students a variety of different scenarios
  6. Comes with a 3-lesson curriculum including:
    • Teacher guide
    • PowerPoint slides
    • Note taking activities
    • Classroom activities
    • Worksheets
    • Group activities
    • Assessments

Take a few minutes and learn more about our Bovine Breeder artificial insemination simulator:

Top 5 Ways to Interact with Realityworks at CareerTech VISION 2017

5. Check out our Presentations

4. Find out what it feels like to age

3. See how fast you can put together our Cow Model!

2. Try your hand at virtual welding

1. Learn all about the new products we have in store for 2018!

We’re going to be launching new Agriculture and Health Science training tools in the coming year. Make sure to come visit for a sneak peek at the new line-up!

Stop by booth 401 to learn more about how our innovative learning tools for skills training can enhance your programs!