Summer-ready RealCare Babies in 5 simple steps

We’re approaching summer again, which means most RealCare Baby® infant simulators are being put away for a well-deserved rest. Before storing your Babies for the summer, follow these 5 simple steps. Doing so will help ensure that your Babies are ready for summer break – and that you can enjoy a smooth start to your RealCare Program this fall.

1. Give your Babies one final full charge.

  • Baby should be charged overnight, then unplugged – don’t leave Baby plugged in all summer. Ideally, your Babies should be charged for a few hours every 3 months. Haven’t used Baby since January or February? Now is the time to charge them overnight.
  • FYI: The batteries will gradually drain out on their own. Do not be surprised if the Babies start to make a popping sound while in storage. This is an indicator that the batteries are giving off their final amount of charge. Don’t worry; this is normal and the popping sound can last for a few days.
  • You can follow along with the “RCB Battery Maintenance” instructions here.

2. Wash the clothing and clean the Baby.

  • For Baby: Disinfectant wipes, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and acne cream with sunlight are all great ways to get ink and other common stains off of Baby’s vinyl
  • For Baby’s clothing and supplies: Baby’s diapers and clothing can be machine washed in cold, gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low. We recommend line drying to prevent wear and tear.
  • Get more great cleaning tips here.

3. Place your Babies in plastic bags to protect the vinyl.

  • Be sure the bag does not have any print that can bleed onto the vinyl.

4. Store your Babies in a cool, dry place.

  • Baby should be stored indoors, in the plastic bag, for optimum conditions. If this isn’t possible, every attempt should be made to keep Baby dry and clean.
  • If Baby is stored in a very cold or hot environment, allow 24 hours for Baby to adjust to a moderate temperature before use.
  • Dramatic changes in temperature can cause water condensation inside Baby. Allow time for the condensation to evaporate before use.

5. BONUS TIP: Jump-start your fall lesson planning  by downloading our free career exploration curriculum today!

We know how important it is to provide career exploration opportunities to students. That’s why we created the Using the RealCare Program for Career Exploration, which contains 6 lessons that use our RealCare products (Drug-Affected Baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby, Pregnancy Profile, RealCare Baby and more) as springboards to career exploration lessons.

(Don’t have all the products? No problem! They’re not required to use the curriculum).

Click here to learn more and download the curriculum yourself.

Learn more by watching our on-demand webinar: How to Prepare RealCare Baby for Summer Break:

Additional Product Support resources like video tutorials, documentation, webinars and FAQs can be found in our online Product Support Center. If you need further support, contact our Product Support Team by calling 800.830-1416, option 2, or emailing productsupport@realityworks.com.

Student Workbooks as an Effective Instructional Resource

Educators have debated the effectiveness of worksheets, handouts and workbooks for years.  Similar to technology use in the classroom, efficacy all depends on how they are used.  Here are a few nuggets to contemplate from a review of literature on the subject:

  • Graphic organizers help learners to understand tasks by nurturing active participation, decrease dependency on rote learning and memorization, tap into learners’ prior knowledge, and show association between concepts to build new understanding (Kirylo & Millet, 2000).
  • Worksheets help students to construct knowledge, help to assess students and get feedback, are used as supplemental material to textbooks in authentic lessons, and build scaffolding for  some teaching strategies (Demircioglu & Kaymakci, 2011).
  • Using Multiple Intelligences learning theory, teachers should vary instruction and assessment strategy because all students do not learn and exhibit learning the same way (Smith 2002, 2008) Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences.

We are happy to announce two new student workbooks now available as supplemental resources to the RealCare Baby Simulation Experience and the Pregnancy Profile Simulation.

The RealCare Baby Experience Workbook includes all handouts needed for the simulation experience. Rather than photocopying dozens of pages, it is all ready for use in this handy workbook. Graphic organizers, rubrics and quizzes are included. Students will also complete journal and self-assessment exercises to reflect on their learning.  The completed workbook is a great addition to student portfolios for highlighting this project.

The My Life Student Workbook is a companion product to the Pregnancy Profile simulation experience. Rather than photocopying and assembling these workbooks in class, you can use that valuable time to teach the key objectives. Many of the handouts involve setting goals, reflecting on what a teen pregnancy would do to those goals and journal on a wide variety of questions relating to the impact of an unplanned pregnancy. These exercises strengthen student writing and research skills. The completed workbook provides a meaningful take-home manual that students can keep and refer to.

Follow this link to learn more about these effective student workbooks and how you can use them in your program.

Mac Users: Follow These Steps to Update RealCare® Control Center Software

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

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Updated RealCare® Control Center Software is vital for RealCare Baby® infant simulator users. After all, without the software users are unable to program Babies, customize individual simulations, track care events or receive simulation reports.

Occasionally, Mac users will encounter this error when updating or installing Control Center Software:

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This occurs because of a security feature on most Mac computers. The feature prevents apps and programs from being installed unless they are from the Mac App Store. The good news is that you can turn this feature off in order to update or install your software!

Prerequisites
• You must be at your computer
• The Control Center installer must be in your download folder

Steps to Perform
To turn off GateKeeper:

  1.  Open “System Preferences” from the Apple menu
  2. Choose “Security & Privacy” and then click the “General” tab, followed by clicking the lock icon in the bottom left corner to unlock the setting
    • If the lock cannot be clicked, you will need to contact your Network Administrator
  3. Look for “Allow applications downloaded from:” and choose “Anywhere”screenshot2
  4. Accept the security warning and allow
  5. Try reopening the Control Center Software installer
    • It is possible you may have to do this step again when you install the serial driver

Additional Product Support resources like video tutorials, documentation, webinars and FAQs can be found in our online Product Support Center. If you need further support, contact our Product Support Team by calling 800.830-1416, option 2, or emailing productsupport@realityworks.com.

[Free Download] Measure the Efficacy of Your RealCare Program

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

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According to the US Department of Education, research-based instructional programs are defined as programs that withstand the test of standard scientific testing practices. Their conclusions can be replicated and generalized. By this definition, Realityworks®, Inc.’s RealCare™ Program is a research-based program.

The RealCare Program is a powerful combination of innovative curricula with the most advanced infant simulator available. Evidence collected over the years indicates that the program offers a highly effective approach to preventing teenage pregnancies and teaching parenting skills. For decision-makers who are considering the RealCare Program, the obvious question is: Does it meet the stringent evidence-based requirements tied to federal funding? The answer is “yes.”

But you don’t have to take our word for it. We offer several ways for you to measure the efficacy of your own RealCare Program.

Using the Healthy Choices: Relationship, Sexuality and Family Planning curriculum? It includes a Survey and Self-Assessment that you can give to students before and after you administer the program and simulation experience. By comparing the results before and after, you can gauge how their attitudes about themselves, their sexual activity, and their views about parenting changed over the course of instruction and participation.

Additionally, all four RealCare Program curricula offer Pre- and Post-Summative Assessments that measure objectives learned from the program. Using these assessments, you can collect evidence of knowledge gained through participation in the lessons and simulation experiences of your own RealCare Program.

Ready? You can access the Healthy Choices survey and self-assessment here (or find it in Unit One, Lesson One of your Healthy Choices: Relationship, Sexuality and Family Planning curriculum). Again, pre- and post-summative assessments are included in each RealCare curriculum.

Want to dig further into the research? We’ve made available a variety of individual research studies and their results here. You can also read our evidence of efficacy whitepaper here.

Our Response to a Recent Study

We were dismayed to learn last week that The Lancet, a prominent British medical journal, published a deeply flawed study of an infant simulator-based program that the authors inaccurately associated with RealityworksRealCare Program. The study had nothing to do with us, our curriculum or our RealCare Baby® infant simulators, nor are its conclusions about us credible.

The study has enormous flaws:

1) Our RealCare curriculum spans 14 hours of teaching time, whereas the curriculum used in The Lancet study, without consulting us, is two hours and 20 minutes. That’s not even a Cliff’s Notes version of ours. The curriculum and the infant simulators are an integrated product, just like a computer and software. The RealCare Program involves multiple learning activities, discussion and prolonged take-home simulator experience. You can’t gut the curriculum the way these authors did and expect good performance, or draw any inferences whatsoever about our program. At its most basic, science is supposed to be about comparing apples to apples.

2) The authors somehow failed to mention a key variable that occurred early in the course of the longitudinal study: In 2004, the Australian government introduced its controversial Maternity Payment Program, or “Baby Bonus,” to increase family size.

The program paid a lump sum of $3000 (eventually rising to $5000) to families earning below $75,000 following the birth of a child. Not surprisingly, overall teen pregnancy rates for women from 15-19 years – the same age as those being followed in The Lancet study – rose significantly after years of decline. Before the Baby Bonus was launched in 2004, birth rates for these women were declining steeply, at an average of 4.5% per year. Following the program’s launch, the birth rate for this age group increased 7.7% in 2005 and 13.5% in 2006. Why would one assume the girls in their study group, whose schools were poorer on average than the control group that did not utilize infant simulators, wouldn’t be incentivized by such a sum?

That, to us, is the proverbial hole big enough to accommodate a Mack Truck. Yet the study never mentions the Baby Bonus program or its potential impact on pregnancy rates. That’s astonishing.

3) Magnifying the effect of the above statement, the study groups were not matched. The group who received the infant simulators came from a significantly poorer socioeconomic group than the control group.

What distresses us most about this study, apart from the obvious flaws, is that it confuses a vital public health issue. Our RealCare Program, now used by two-thirds of U.S. school districts, has been adopted in educational institutions since 1995. In that same time frame, teen pregnancy has also declined. There are doubtless many reasons for this, and we believe one is the marked change in attitude toward teen pregnancy and parenting found in RealCare Program participants.

We encourage you to share your experience with the RealCare Program in the comments below.

10 Tips for Engaging Youth in Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Parenting Education [Infographic]

By Emily Kuhn

RealCare Baby® and our other experiential learning tools have been used in community education settings for over two decades to help young people make healthy choices about teen pregnancy, relationships, life skills and more. That means we’ve had over 20 years of conversations with maternal and child health educators about program ideas, tips and best practices!

These seasoned users are doing some exciting things to engage program participants, like inviting police officers and emergency technicians to present information in person about the dangers of leaving infants unattended in hot cars, and having program participants visit big-box stores to calculate the price of diapers, formula and other infant necessities so they better understand the cost of having a baby.

Check out the infographic below for 10 ways to engage young people in teen pregnancy prevention and parenting education programs.

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What unique ideas are you implementing in your program to engage young people? Share them with other readers in the comments below!

3 Reasons to Recognize National Birth Defects Prevention Month in Your Program

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Did you know that a baby is born with a major birth defect in the United States every four-and-a-half minutes? January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, which means now is a great time to promote the education of students, caregivers and parents-to-be on healthy choices during pregnancy and childbirth.

Why recognize National Birth Defects Prevention Month in your classroom or program?

  1. Birth defects are costly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hospitalization for birth defects costs the United States over $2.6 billion annually. Often, babies born with birth defects need special treatments or services to thrive, adding to the costs of their care. Families, communities, and the government share these costs.
  2. Birth defects are critical. As the CDC states, birth defects are critical conditions, meaning they can be very serious, even life-threatening. In fact, about 1 in every 5 infant deaths each year is caused by a birth defect in the United States.
  3. Birth defects occur more often than you might think. We’ve already shared the startling statistic that a baby is born with a major birth defect every four-and-a-half minutes. That means nearly 120,000 babies are affected by birth defects each year.

Fortunately, there are many steps women can take to improve their chances of having a baby born with a birth defect, like taking a vitamin in with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day and avoiding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs – and it starts with education.

Educating students, caregivers and parents-to-be on pregnancy, childbirth and infant care has been a part of our mission at Realityworks since the beginning. The CDC and the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) are both great resources for classroom materials on birth defects and birth defect prevention.

Additionally, Realityworks takes pride in the experiential learning products we have that help educate expectant mothers to make better decisions during pregnancy. The RealCare™ Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby and RealCare™ Drug-Affected Baby are both hands-on demonstrators that show the potential impacts of drug use or alcohol exposure while pregnant. Both of these simulators come with curriculum that help users understand just how preventable many birth defects can be.

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Being pregnant with a baby who has certain birth defects is a risk factor for premature birth. In addition to our fetal alcohol and drug-affected infant simulators, we are excited to announce the pending availability of a brand-new part of the RealCare family, the RealCare™ Preemie Baby. Due in spring of this year, this infant simulator will promote awareness and education of premature births and the best ways to care for preemie babies.

The theme for National Birth Defects Prevention Month this year is “Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects – Make a PACT for Prevention.” You can find additional resources and information on the NBDPN website.

How are you recognizing National Birth Defects Prevention Month in your classroom or program? Share your story in the comments below!

The Importance of Making Healthy Choices

By Denise Bodart, RealCare Product Manager

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” “Stop while you’re ahead.” You’ve undoubtedly heard these familiar phrases used to communicate the importance of making healthy choices. As teachers, we want our students to learn from their mistakes – or better yet, we want to provide a strong foundation of knowledge to help them make well-educated decisions, thereby avoiding the potential negative consequences of poor choices.

A study recently published by the University of Texas at Austin, “Substance Use And Teen Pregnancy In the United States,” shares some disturbing trends among pregnant teens who are not making good choices.

The study takes a closer look at the relationship between teen pregnancy and substance abuse between the ages of 12 and 17. Becoming pregnant as a teen 12-17 is a huge challenge. The study found that this is compounded by the fact that “59% of the pregnant teens admitting to using drugs or alcohol in the previous 12 months, a rate that researchers say is nearly two times as great as non-pregnant teens.”

The choices these teens are making could have a dramatic negative impact on their future health and well-being. But these consequences are not limited to the pregnant teen involved. It can also have a devastating impact on the future of their child. Prenatal exposure to substances including drugs, alcohol and tobacco can lead to a host of physical and cognitive disabilities for the infant.

We are proud to offer a variety of products and information that help teachers provide students with the information they need to avoid the above scenario. The RealCare Drug-Affected Baby shows the possible effects of prenatal drug exposure by demonstrating withdrawal tremors and emitting the cries of a drug-addicted infant. Students learn how drugs reach the fetus and what they can do to ensure this doesn’t happen!

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With its small head circumference, narrow eye openings, flat midface and other physical abnormalities, the RealCare Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby is a simple yet powerful way to show the possible effects of prenatal alcohol use. The curriculum shares the message that there is no safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy.

By communicating the importance of making healthy choices and using tools like these simulators to get this type of information into the hands of your middle school and high school students, we can help prevent these tragic consequences. We can be part of the solution and put an end to these startling statistics.

For more information about our Drug-Affected Baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby and other infant simulators, visit our website.

How are you communicating the importance of making healthy choices to your students? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Why Parents Support the RealCare® Program: A Personal Letter

When we work with educators, social service directors, counselors and other instructors about the use of our RealCare® Total Parenting Experience product line for parenting, child care and teen pregnancy prevention programs, we often hear the honest, heartfelt reactions that students have to our experiential learning tools. From wearing the RealCare Pregnancy Profile between classes and caring for RealCare Baby over the weekend to seeing the RealCare Shaken Baby Simulator demonstrated in person and hearing the cry of our RealCare Drug-Affected Baby, these reactions range from silly to serious and most of all, memorable.

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Reactions from the parents and guardians of these students are a little harder to come by, but just as important. Our research shows that when a student brings RealCare Baby home, communication between guardian/parents and child opens immensely. Having the Baby in the household can bring up difficult yet critical conversations that need to be had with youth. When our customers take the time to share those reactions with us, we are reminded why we do what we do. Our mission is to enhance the lives of our customers, community and employees by impacting them in positive ways, and these reactions affirm that, with the help of educators and instructors across the country, we are doing just that.

Below is a letter that a Missouri Family & Consumer Sciences teacher recently shared with us. It was written by the parent of one of her students, who had just spent the weekend caring for RealCare Baby. This handwritten, three-page letter is a great reminder of just how supportive parents can be for the realistic, hands-on parenting experience provided by RealCare Baby and our Total Parenting Experience product line.

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Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

RealCare Program users, what is the most memorable reaction you’ve ever gotten to your own program? Share your story in the comments below!

Are you thinking of starting your own RealCare Program or refreshing an existing one? Check out our RealCare Summer Promo Packages for ways to save: http://realityworks.com/promo

Customer success story: RealCare® Baby provides MO FACS students with authentic learning experiences

AmandaKlenke-HeadshotSince September 2013, Battle High School Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher Amanda Klenke has used Realityworks’ RealCare® Baby infant simulators to provide her Child Development 1 & 2 students with authentic, hands-on learning experiences as they discuss human development. As a result, Klenke’s 14- to 18-year-old students leave the classroom more prepared for children in the future and  or careers related to child care.

“The Babies have become so much more than just a project for these students,” said Klenke, who has 11 RealCare Baby 3 infant simulators and one RealCare™  Pregnancy Profile Simulator. “They have really become a great discussion piece for choosing to parent or building their resumes for jobs.”

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Battle High School students experience RealCare® Baby infant simulators during weekend simulations and in-class “Baby Bootcamp” sessions.

 

The electronic infant simulators cry for care throughout the day and night and require regular changing, feeding, burping and rocking. They also monitor surrounding
temperatures, track how long they sit unattended in car seats and how often their clothing is changed. All of this data is wirelessly tracked and used to generate caregiver reports. The Pregnancy Profile simulates the final trimester of pregnancy, allowing users  to feel what it is like to be 9 months pregnant. Klenke acquired the Babies, car seats,  accessories and program materials in June 2013, and started getting to know her new additions right away. As Klenke recalls, understanding the best way to use these powerful imulators required time, but was the process was made easier thanks to support provided  by Realityworks.

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Battle High School students are required to complete follow-up writing assignments following their weekend simulation experiences with RealCare® Baby.

 

“I spent lots of time on the Realityworks website and with the help line,” recalls Klenke. “The more I used them, the more comfortable I became with their needs and knowing what to expect.”

Click here to download Klenke’s full testimonial and learn how she uses these experiential learning products to provide her high school students with hands-on child development education.