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.

Penny Wars Benefits Local Charity

Realityworks is an employee-owned company and celebrates Employee Ownership Month (ESOP) every October with various activities. On October 1, the Charitable Giving Committee announced a new company challenge: A Penny War-funded charitable giving drive to support iHeartMedia’s Christmas is for Children program. The twist: First prize would be an executive-served pizza party; second prize would be an executive-served donut party and third prize would be two pies in the face of a third company executive.

Realityworks has supported the Christmas is for Children campaign every holiday season for the past four years; in 2017, enough funds were raised through a non-competitive giving drive to support the purchase of holiday gifts for 16 children. This year, the group hoped to raise a few hundred dollars by giving this annual drive a competitive spin; instead, it was announced on Halloween that the employees had raised $2,615.98.

“What we did made a lot of cents,” said JJ Smieja. “It was really impressive to see each team get so involved,” added Tiffany Olek.

The Penny Wars competition drove so much more giving this year, that the 70-person Realityworks team will be able to support 74 local children.

“Finding out how many kids we could sponsor was my favorite part of this event,” added Terri Lokken. “A close second was seeing Timm and Scott get a pie in the face.”

Timm Boettcher, President & CEO,  and Scott Jameson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, tied for third place, meaning they both received a pie in the face from Mary Boettcher, CFO & Vice President of Finance.

“The ESOP ownership model fits our all-for-one, one-for-all culture perfectly, as Realityworks employees have always been encouraged to adopt an ownership mentality,” said Boettcher. “This competition is a great example of the success that can come from collaboration – and a little competition!”

Trade Up & Go Green: How our RealCare® Baby Trade-In Program Impacts the Environment

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 $100 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.

RecycleBaby-500wide

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.

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/

2018 Catalogs Are Here!

It’s here — our 2018 Catalogs are ready to be shared! They are full of details on all the learning aids and resources we offer for teaching family and consumer sciences, health sciences, agriculture, trade skills, and more.

There are also several new items in our 2018 FACS catalog, including:

We offer a variety of exciting tools (and curriculum!) you can use to engage your students and help them develop skills in human services, and education and training.

Realityworks is continuing to develop new tools you can use to engage your students and help them develop clinical nursing skills and soft, patient-focused skills. New in our 2018 Health Science catalog:

Our 2018 Agriculture catalog features tools you can use to engage your students and help them develop skills in animal and vet science, plant science, manufacturing and more. Newly featured this year are:

This year our 2018 Trade Skills catalog includes many great tools to develop skills in welding, electrical wiring, manufacturing and more.

  • Pathway packages to jump-start your welding, electrical or advanced manufacturing courses
  • Portable workstations to keep classrooms organized and provide more workspace
  • New webinars and other opportunities for professional development

We offer a variety of exciting tools (and curriculum!) you can use to engage your students and help them develop their skills. Take time to check out these great products, get a quote, or place an order online today!

Ready for the Workforce: Realityworks’ Youth Apprentices Share Projects with State Governor

“See those wires there? We’re trying to get rid of them. We want to make the whole thing smaller, so you can hold it in your hand instead of display it on the tabletop.”

If this statement was overheard outside the office of a mechanical engineer, you wouldn’t think twice. After all, it’s their job to develop, build and test the mechanics of tools, engines and machines, adapting and modifying as needed. In fact, this statement was made by 18-year-old Seth Kooiker, a senior at North High School in Eau Claire, WI and one of two youth apprentices at Realityworks, Inc.

Run by the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program is part of a statewide School-to-Work initiative. It gives high school students the opportunity to spend 1-2 years getting hands-on learning experience in an occupational area. Seth and Gabe LeGore, also a North High School senior, have been working at Realityworks since June 2016.

On Friday, January 5, Seth and Gabe had the opportunity to present some of their recent projects to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who made a brief stop at the high school to see examples of premier youth apprentice programs in the area. As they explained to Governor Walker, the two had been tasked with modifying Realityworks’ Electrical Wiring Kit, a portable, battery-operated kit that allows students to practice basic electrical wiring skills. Seth and Gabe’s efforts thus far have included rewiring, prototyping and simple machine operation.

“We’ve had dozens of students come to Realityworks through Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program, and we’ve always gotten a lot of value from it,” said Realityworks Engineering Manager Jeremiah Bauer, who mentors the company’s apprentices. “These students spend the first few months getting up to speed, and by their second year, you can send them a project and they can take it and run. Seth and Gabe are a great example of that. You can trust them to contribute, and they’re getting a jumpstart on the working world.”

The Electrical Wiring Kit is one of many projects that Seth and Gabe have been tasked with modifying, improving or creating since their 2-year apprenticeships began in June 2016. Other projects include developing an aquaponics kit, a blood pressure simulator and several other electronic and software prototypes. They’ve used imaging programs, learned machining programs and mathematical statistic programs.

“The level of knowledge gained by our youth apprentices is easy to see and forthcoming. The level of benefit to the company is unforeseen,” said Realityworks Mechanical Engineer Mike Zaborowski, who works closely with Gabe and Seth. “When you realize that you have helped guide a young mind to a future role, its only then you can clearly see the future of industry and business. The youth apprentice program makes the future very bright.”

Reflecting on Tradeshow Season 2017

Our account managers had a great time attending over 100 conferences, conventions and symposiums across the country throughout 2017. We asked them which shows stood out to them the most, and here’s what they had to say. Were you at one of these shows? Keep reading to find out!

Sarah Philen, Account Manager for ID, MI, MT, NM, WA and WY

“My favorite show this past year was in Austin, TX. Eric, Kelly and I gave a presentation on the Geriatric Simulator and the group was fantastic. We even had a volunteer who wore the suit and was such a good sport! I could feel how passionate the group was about Gerontology and they gave excellent feedback. Being involved with passionate educators is one of the best parts of my job.”

Kelly Greig, Account Manager for AL, LA, MS, TX and WI

“The one that really stands out to me was ACTA in Alabama. I met some amazing teachers and administrators and everyone was extremely welcoming to me. Most of the other vendors and participants knew each other well, but instead of feeling like an outsider, they introduced themselves to me, invited me to do things with them and just really went out of their way to make me feel at home. The event itself was well-organized and FUN. All in all, it was fantastic!”

Anne Bogstad, Account Manager for AK, CA, HI, NV, OR and UT

“I can’t pick just one! Each has its own uniqueness from the people and their goals to the venue itself.  I’ve been set up inside a barn with plywood dividers, beautiful banquet halls, event spaces so large you get lost and quaint spaces – like the one with a grizzly bear 10 feet from me (stuffed of course). In CA, my agriculture educators were challenged with the drought, many had to sell their livestock because they couldn’t feed them due to lack of water/crops. In remote Alaska, students get opportunities like riding with the Fish and Game to tag caribou as they migrate south, learning snow machine safety in schools and welding for the pipeline. I have the privilege of meeting teachers face to face and hearing how their students’ lives are changed, the new technology in the classrooms and new approaches they are taking as educators.”

Amy Underwood, Account Manager for CT, DE, KY, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, RI,  PA, TN and VT

“We were invited to present on our family of products with focus on guideWELD RealCareer Welding Solutionsat the2017 Institute for CTE Educators. The conference participants were so excited to see the new products. We even had a kindergarten student stop by with her father who is an Agriculture Teacher at a Tennessee high school. They were both impressed with the Chicken Model and the kindergartner took apart the chicken and put it back together all by herself. She even shared that they have Easter Egg laying chickens on their farm—some lay blue eggs and others lay yellow eggs. Her father then explained the process of bleaching eggs that go to market and how long eggs can last if they are not washed immediately. It was a great lesson for me as I continue increasing my knowledge of agriculture.”

“Deana Ramsey, Principal at the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice Center School in Philadelphia, invited me to co-present on the guideWELD RealCareer Welding Solutions and Employability Skills Program at the N&D Symposium at Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. The educators had a chance to try out the virtual welding unit while they discussed how virtual welding could be implemented within their “career exploration and career ready” programming. The educators had a wonderful time exploring how the assessment of each weld was done and the safety aspects of this virtual welding unit.”

Seth Short, Account Manager for FL, GA, IN and OH

“My favorite show of 2017 was the National FFA Convention. It was a great place to see the interaction of teacher and student, to get to know and understand agriculture and what their needs are. We had a student (Junior in High School) explaining one of our future products to his teacher and class. He was using our Bovine Breeder Prototype and explaining the AI process. It was amazing to see someone so young explain something so complex. Seeing students and teachers coming together from across the nation was an incredible experience. They were teaching us more than we could ever dream of sharing with them.”

While these are only a few examples of the many from the past year, we appreciate every opportunity we have to talk to and learn from the many students, educators and administrators we meet every year. From all of us at Realityworks, thank you for sharing these moments with us. We look forward to continuing these discussions and experiences in 2018 and beyond.

Looking Back at 2017

2017 was the year of amazing announcements for Realityworks. The team launched more than 40 new products bringing solutions to a wide variety of educators around the world. The Company now has training solutions for educators in health sciences, agriculture, welding, manufacturing, family and consumer sciences, and more. It is interesting to look at the growth in our product offerings these days. The addition of simulators that get you to feel what it is like to be old and have glaucoma is a great solution that customers are raving about. The animal models are also a great hit bringing new excitement to the classroom. The new health sciences products are just getting to market and creating buzz.

We welcome all of our new customers to the Realityworks family. This success is due not only to the team at Realityworks but also our amazing customers and advisers that help us understand what direction we need to head, what products we should be offering, and what challenges we can help solve. Thank you to each and every one of you for what you do. Please let us know how we are doing and how we can help you further so we can continue to deliver valuable solutions to the classroom.

As we look towards the new year, I leave you with this:

So goes by another year of Babies

With pregnancy simulation, storage carts, and infant care cheer

We then moved onto fake welding

Followed by real sparks and other welding gear

The animals then all rushed to market with fame

Loo and behold the whole barnyard came

When they arrived at tradeshows

Agriculture teachers found more they could use

We then marched onto health sciences

With tools those instructors could use

The simulators that made you feel old

Generated great buzz galore

This brought new customers

To grow the Company even more

Merry Christmas to all and a happy new year

We look forward to continuing to serve you

And thank you for all that you do

Thank you for a great 2017 and have a happy new year!

Timm

Realityworks to Unveil New Agriculture and Health Science Training Tools at National Career & Technical Education Conference

Models and curriculum for key job skill development will be on display at one of the world’s largest gatherings of CTE professionals

Eau Claire, Wis. (November 30, 2017) – Educators and industry leaders attending the Association for Career & Technical Education’s CareerTech VISION 2017 Conference in Nashville next week will get the first look at new learning aids for agriculture education and health science from Realityworks, Inc. A Midwest-based company that has been developing innovative educational tools for over two decades, Realityworks’ new anatomical models address job skill development in two in-demand fields: agriculture education and nursing training.

“Educators have told us that they need new ways to provide targeted skills training and prepare their students for careers,” said Realityworks President and CEO Timm Boettcher. “These new tools and curriculum were designed to help engage their students and prepare them for success in the workforce.”

Realityworks will give attendees a sneak peak of two expanded lines. New products on display include human anatomy models that teach structures of the body, wearable simulators for training health occupations students on measuring blood pressure and developing empathy for patients with hemiplegia. Realityworks will also be unveiling additional models for teaching animal and plant systems.

All of these new anatomical models will be showcased alongside products and programs for skill development in other CTE pathways. They include:

– A virtual reality welding simulator, electrical wiring kit and other welding and trade skills resources
– Injection training arms, geriatric simulators and other health science resources
– Animal models, plant models and other agriculture education resources
– Infant simulators, human development models and other health and human services resources
– An employability skills teaching toolkit to help students develop soft skills

“We strive to help educators create interactive, hands-on learning environments where students can explore career pathways and engage in active learning opportunities,” said Boettcher. “Our newest tools are detailed and interactive, and are designed to help educators engage, impact and educate today’s students.”

ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2017 Conference will be held in Ryman Hall C of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN on December 7 and 8. Realityworks’ products and programs will be on display at Booth #401.

For more information on Realityworks’ products and programs, visit http://realityworks.com/. For a full presentation schedule and additional conference details, visit https://www.careertechvision.com/.

About Realityworks, Inc. 

Established 20 years ago to better address teen pregnancy prevention, parenting skills, child abuse and neglect through educational products, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students, teach needed skills and provide career exploration opportunities. Most famous for their RealCare Baby infant simulator (formerly known as Baby Think it Over or BTIO), Realityworks now provides comprehensive learning solutions that pair curriculum with hands-on learning aids, student activities and assessment tools to create innovative learning environments. These solutions are used in middle, secondary and post-secondary schools to address a variety of Career & Technical Education pathways, including health & human services, health sciences, welding and trade skills, agriculture education, sex education, business education and more. With simulators in 62 percent of U.S. school districts and programs in more than 90 countries around the world, Realityworks has made a worldwide impact. For more information, visit www.realityworks.com, or call toll-free 800-830-1416.

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!