Finding Inspiration

By Diane Ross, M.Ed., Realityworks Senior Field Account Manager for NC, SC, VA, WV

I attended the NC WORKS Conference last month and walked away truly inspired.  I work in sales for Realityworks and keeping a pipeline of customers is essential for company survival.  Inspiration comes from seeing students become successful in life as a result of our products.

NC WORKS is not really focused on just finding jobs for people, but that is a GOOD thing.  They are focused on preparing people for well-paying careers and they have a great plan in place.  The pipeline starts with Career and Technical Education Directors looking at middle school, where kids explore careers suited to their intellect, their interest and their lifestyles.  That pipeline extends to high school, where students begin to make career choices, such as healthcare, or welding, or electrical trades, for instance.

Students choose a life career pathway that leads them to a certification, such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  But, the NC WORKS group does not want the student to stop there.  They want the student to get that certification as a step into post-secondary, where the community college might take the student from CNA into an allied health field, such as respiratory therapy.

The goal is to get a student highly skilled so that they can best support themselves (salary) in their communities. That salary amount depends on where they choose to live, such as the higher end for areas like Charlotte and maybe less for more rural areas.

The bottom line here is the planning that goes into making sure we are pointing students toward careers that will allow them to live and prosper, create and support their families and be productive citizens.

The good news is that the products that my company is offering align directly in the pathways laid out by the NC WORKS commission.  Our products allow students to experience workplace skills, such as geriatric nursing, welding or electrical trades in a safe environment and allows a student to find out early if they are well-suited for this line of profession.  That makes me feel good.

This is a big charge to take on especially with and this month’s proposed Presidential Budget.  It is aimed at cutting Career and Technical Education funding by a national average of 15%, this certainly won’t help this initiative.  In North Carolina alone, according to ACTE, the state could lose 28% of federal funding under the President’s proposed budget.

Let’s hope they keep working on that budget and keep education in focus.

6 Reasons to Meet Realityworks at the Association for Career & Technical Education’s CareerTech VISION Conference

Every year, the Realityworks team journeys to the largest annual gathering of Career & Technical Education (CTE) professionals in a single location: The Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE)’s CareerTech VISION Conference. We typically plan for this conference a good year in advance, and this year is no exception. Held in the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 30 – December 2, this year’s conference will be attended by thousands of technology education professionals, educators and industry representatives. From product exhibits and presentations to interactive demonstrations and more, there are countless reasons to meet Realityworks at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference at Booth #529. Here are our top 6!

  1. Preview interactive products and simulators for nursing skills training, including injection training, elderly nursing care and catheterization
  2. Explore the new RealCareer™ Geriatric Sensory Impairment Kit, a set of wearable simulators that mimic hearing impairment, arthritis and hand tremors
  3. See the new Birth Process Kit, which includes six large, lifelike models that depict each stage of the birthing process
  4. Get a SNEAK PEEK at our one-of-a-kind animal science and plant science models, including detailed animal and stomach models and a plant science kit (available in 2017)
  5. Try virtual reality welding with the guideWELD® VR welding simulator
  6. Conduct live welding with the guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system

guideweld

Additional ways you can interact with Realityworks at VISION 2016 include:

  • Attend the “Baby Basics and Best Practices” pre-conference workshop we are co-hosting with the National Association of Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences on November 30
  • Join us at the NATFACS Awards Reception, ACTEBabywhere
    we’ll be raffling off a new
    RealCare Baby 3 infant simulator
  • Attend the “Create Student Engagement Through Experiential Learning Tools” pre-conference workshop we are is co-hosting with the National Association of Agriculture Educators on November 30, where we’ll be raffling off one of our NEW animal science models
  • Attend the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA) Luncheon we are co-hosting with HOSA on December 1, where we’ll be raffling off a RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator and sharing more details on our new experiential learning tools for health sciences
  • Share your selfie for a chance to win! tweet a selfie with your favorite Realityworks product in our booth and tag us @Realityworksinc and the show #VISION16 for your chance to win a Realityworks mug!

You can still register for ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference online by clicking here. We hope to see you there!

3 Reasons to Meet Us in Vegas for RealCare® Baby Basics and Best Practices

Every year, the Realityworks team journeys to the largest annual gathering of Career & Technical Education (CTE) professionals in a single location: the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE)’s CareerTech VISION Conference. In fact, we start planning for this conference a good year in advance! For the first time, we are planning a pre-conference workshop on Wednesday, November 30 all about RealCare Baby. Designed for current and prospective users, this pre-conference session is an opportunity for you to learn from a subject matter expert in person! Why join us in Vegas on November 30?

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1. Get RealCare Baby program best practices. What are the best ways to engage students with RealCare Baby? How can you use this powerful tool to make an even bigger impact on your students? What are seasoned users doing to succeed? We’ll answer these questions and more!

2. Discover career exploration activities. Did you know that RealCare Baby can help your students prepare for careers in education and human services? Join us to get ideas and activities that will help you prepare your students for careers.

3. Get our NEW RealCare™ Preemie Baby. Have you heard? The RealCare™ Preemie Baby is our newest experiential learning tool. It’s modeled after a preterm infant born at 30 weeks and is designed to help students, caregivers and parents-to-be understand the unique challenges and often complicated medical problems that can be associated with preterm birth. By attending our pre-conference workshop, you’ll receive a complimentary Preemie Baby from Realityworks!

preemie-withjanelle

What: RealCare® Baby Basics and Best Practices
When: Wednesday, November 30, from 1-5:00 p.m.
Cost: $150

Ready to register? Visit the conference website here.

Realityworks to Unveil Seven New Products at National Career & Technical Education Conference

By Janelle Krause, Realityworks Public Relations & Events Specialist

EAU CLAIRE, Wis., November 3, 2015 – On November 19, Realityworks, Inc will join over 5,000 educators, education influencers and corporate representatives from across the nation at the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE)’s CareerTech VISION 2015 Conference in New Orleans, LA to demonstrate and display seven new products, present a series of educational sessions and exhibit current programs and products. The experiential learning company has been helping educators teach students with interactive educational products for over 20 years, and these new products will further help educators teach the hands-on career and life skills students need to succeed in college and careers.

“Realityworks is consistently listening to and examining the education market for ways we can assist in educating our youth,” said Timm Boettcher, President & CEO of Realityworks. “Our employees are passionate about bringing educators materials and ideas to improve the human condition, and we are looking forward to hearing feedback on our new product offerings while at the ACTE conference.”

Three of the featured new products will be added to Realityworks’ flagship RealCare® line, which includes RealCare® Baby: the RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator, which helps educators teach topics related to aging and care for the elderly by enabling participants to experience age-related challenges; the RealCare™ Fetal Development Kit, which gives students hands-on understanding of human development stages; and the RealCare™ Pregnancy Torso, which provide an in-depth look at embryo and fetal development.

The RealCare™ Fetal Development Kit

The RealCare™ Fetal Development Kit

Realityworks will also be featuring the RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program, which is designed for use in any Career & Technical Education course to educate students on important soft skills to advance their college- and career-readiness.

The RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program

The RealCareer™ Employability Skills Program

The remaining featured new products will be added to Realityworks’ RealCareer® Welding Solutions line: the RealCareer™ Weld Defects Kit, a hands-on tool that teaches students how to identify and correct common weld defects and discontinuities; the RealCareer™ Bend Tester, a bend test machine with curriculum that can train welders how to evaluate the quality of their welds, qualify a bend-tested weld and determine a welder’s skill level; and the guideWELD® VR welding simulator, which will now feature both GMAW/MIG welding and SMAW/stick welding.

The RealCareer™ Bend Tester

The RealCareer™ Bend Tester

For more information on Realityworks visit us at www.realityworks.com or call 800-262-3806.

About Realityworks, Inc.
Established 20 years ago to better address parenting skills, teen pregnancy prevention, child abuse and neglect through educational products, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students while improving the human condition. Most famous for their RealCare® Baby infant simulator (formerly known as Baby Think it Over® or BTIO®), Realityworks has developed several other programs over the last decade that address career preparation areas like business management, finance and entrepreneurship and most recently, welding. Realityworks’ RealCareer® Welding Solutions line includes the guideWELD® VR welding simulator and guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system. With products 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.

# # #

Media Contact:

Janelle Krause
Realityworks
Public Relations and Event Specialist
Janelle.Krause@realityworks.com
715-858-7121

Realityworks is gearing up for ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2015 Conference

by Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Marketing Automation Specialist

Every year, the Realityworks team journeys to the largest annual gathering of Career & Technical Education (CTE) professionals in a single location: The Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE)’s CareerTech VISION Conference. In fact, we plan for this conference a good year in advance! This year’s VISION 2015 conference will be held in New Orleans November 19 – 22, and our team couldn’t be more excited about the product demonstrations, presentations and exhibits we have planned for attendees this year. Don’t miss your chance to see Realityworks in person at VISION 2015 (Booth #723)!

We’ll be exhibiting our full line of experiential learning tools for Family & Consumer Sciences, Health and Health Occupations:

NewProduct-FetalDevKit-200wide

We will also be displaying our full line of experiential learning tools for Welding Education & Training:

NewProduct-BendTester-233wide

Our online simulations for Business Education will be available to explore:

  • RealCareer® Business Management Simulation
  • RealCareer® Entrepreneurship Simulation
  • RealCareer® Business Finance Simulation

And we’re excited to debut a brand-new product for Soft Skill Development & Career Preparation:

NewProduct-Employability-2332ide

Our subject matter experts are looking forward to presenting at several Idea Labs scheduled throughout the conference:

  • Integrating 21st Century Technology for Special Populations
    Friday, November 20 | 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. | Room 254 | Session Code 2201
  • How Industry-Education Collaboration Can Address Area Workforce Needs
    Presented by Realityworks President & CEO Timm Boettcher | Friday, November 20 | 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Room 264 | Session Code 2196
  • Using Technology to Create Future Welders
    Friday, November 20 | 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. | Room 268 | Session Code 2205
  • Career Exploration Lessons for the FACS Classroom
    Friday, November 20 | 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. | Room 261
  • Integrating Experiential Learning Technology & Game-Like Interfaces into the Classroom
    Saturday, November 21 | 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. | Room 346-347 | Session Code 2198
  • Give Your Students an Advantage Through Soft Skill Development
    Saturday, November 21 | 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Room 350-351
  • Using Gamification to Drive Student Engagement
    Sunday, November 22 | 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. | Room 333 | Session Code 2117

You can download the VISION 2015 program guide here.

Other opportunities to interact with Realityworks:

  • Exhibitor Workshop: Using Technology in the Welding Classroom to Increase Student Knowledge & Engagement
    Friday, November 20 | 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. | Workshop #2 | Exhibit Hall
  • 2015 National Association of Agricultural Educators Convention
    Are you an agricultural educator? Join 600+ of your peers at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, where RealCareer® Product Manager Jamey McIntosh and a seasoned guideWELD® product user will be exhibiting our welding education and training tools. If you’re registered for this event, we’ll see you there!
    Friday, November 20 | 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • NATFACS Awards Brunch
    Are you a FACS teacher? Join RealCare® Product Manager Denise Bodart at the NATFACS Awards Brunch on Saturday, November 21, where we’ll be giving away a RealCare Baby 3. If you’re registered for this event, we’ll see you there!
    Saturday, November 21 | 10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Ernest N. Morial Convention Center | Room 252-253
  • FACS Division Showcase: Best Practices Table
    Join Realityworks Account Manager Eric Bechtel to learn more about our experiential learning tools for FACS and Health educators, get RealCare Baby tips and more. If you’re ready for this event, we’ll see you there!
    Saturday, November 21 | 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Ernest N. Morial Convention Center | Room 262

You can still register for ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2015 Conference online by clicking here. We hope to see you there!

Realityworks President Named to EdNET 2015 Advisory Board

[Eau Claire, WI] – January 12, 2015 – Realityworks, Inc., is proud to announce the selection of company president Timm Boettcher as an EdNET 2015 Advisory Board member. Boettcher’s pulse on the education industry and past work with education-focused organizations will assist him in bringing insightful new ideas to the board as it plans its annual conference.

2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

Realityworks President and CEO Timm Boettcher was recently named to the EdNET 2015 Advisory Board.

“I am excited and honored to become a greater part of an organization that helps to connect educational leaders and spark ideas among them,” said Boettcher. “By having a larger role in this organization, I hope to learn more about the trials that face educators today and assist in alleviating these challenges with innovative solutions.”

Boettcher is passionate about making sure today’s youth receive the best education possible and has worked to inspire collaboration with organizations across the country to reach this goal. In 2011, Boettcher saw the need for business leaders to advocate for Career and Technical Education (CTE) as critical in preparing tomorrow’s workforce for industry needs. With support from the Association for Career and Technical Education, Boettcher founded the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition (IWNC), a group of American business leaders with the common goal of strengthening and raising awareness for CTE in the United States. In addition to supporting CTE’s positive impact on students and the economy, the IWNC advocates for CTE programming, curricula and funding on federal, state and local levels. Boettcher recently supported EdNET by authoring a series of articles posted on EdNET Insight, a news information service for K-12 educators, as well as completing online speaking engagements to the EdNET audience.

As President and CEO of Realityworks, Inc., Boettcher has led the development of new products that provide hands-on experience in career preparation areas such as family and consumer sciences, health education business management, entrepreneurship and welding. Established 19 years ago to better address complex social and community challenges, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students while improving the human condition through educational products. Under Boettcher’s leadership, the company’s products have been adopted by 62 percent of U.S. school districts and located in are in more than 90 countries.

For more information on Realityworks visit www.realityworks.com or call 800-262-3806. For more information on EdNET Advisory Board, click here

About Realityworks, Inc.
Established 19 years ago to better address teen pregnancy prevention, parenting skills, child abuse and neglect, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students while improving the human condition through educational products. Most famous for their RealCare Baby infant simulator (formerly known as Baby Think it Over or BTIO), Realityworks has developed several other programs over the last decade that address career preparation areas like business management, finance and entrepreneurship, and welding with guideWELD, a live welding guidance system. 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.

About EdNET
EdNET is comprised of professionals within the education market who are focused on being informed and staying connected to the industry in order to share ideas about the kindergarten through 12th grade education. They support their members by providing informational newsletters and hosting networking opportunities like EdNET 2015.

# # #

Media Contact:
Janelle Krause
Realityworks Public Relations and Event Specialist
Janelle.Krause@realityworks.com
715-858-7121

Experiential Learning: The Secret to a Successful Classroom

Experiential learning is a term that people outside the field of career and technical education (CTE) may have heard, but not given much consideration to. What is experiential learning, where did it come from and why are so many CTE educators successfully adopting its ideas?

Let’s begin by stating what experiential learning is not. It is not a middle school class memorizing slides about vegetation stages. It is not a high school architecture team watching a movie about bridge construction. It is not a group of child care career students reading a textbook about parenting. It is not sitting on the sidelines and watching.

Experiential learning is getting your hands dirty and engaging with a subject, becoming active and creating meaning from an experience. It is a middle school class growing a garden, a high school architecture team building a bridge out of Popsicle sticks or an early childhood education class interacting with infant simulators to learn parenting and child care career skills.Albert_Einsteinwquote

For a deeper understanding of experiential learning, let’s start at the beginning. The idea originated from American educational theorist David Kolb. With influence from theorists John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Jean Piaget, David published in 1984 a fundamental presentation of holistic learning that accounted for how perception, emotions and environment affected a learner. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory consisted of four stages that can occur once or repeatedly, but are always followed in order:

  • Concrete Experience, where the learner actively experiences a lesson.
  • Reflective Observation, where the learner looks back on that experience.
  • Abstract Hypotheses, where the learner considers the concepts they just observed.
  • Active Testing, where the learner tests their observations.

This experiential learning theory suggests that because learning is a personal act to fulfil one’s potential, the learner must take an active part in their experience. Learning is student-centered and personalized.

Research shows that a more personalized learning experience helps students turn everyday lessons into memorable experiences. In fact, the National Training Laboratories reports that we retain 75 percent of what we learn by doing and only five percent when just listening.

This concept is successfully being used in CTE classrooms, where rigorous academics are combined with hands-on career experience.The average high school graduation rate for CTE students, as reported by the Association for Career and Technical Education, is 90.18 percent, compared to an average national graduation rate of 74.9 percent. The idea and structure of experiential learning first seamlessly into these hands-on classrooms, where teachers are preparing youth for future careers.

ExperientialLearningInfoGraphic-8-2014-FINAL-FACEBOOK

Could experiential learning be the link to this higher graduation? If so, how can we implement it more fully into our classrooms? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Career & Technical Education: Real Impacts on the Real World

By Emily Kuhn

As Realityworks President Timm Boettcher stated in an Education Week article earlier this year, “There isn’t a day that goes by that you could live without the output of CTE programs. The jobs that require CTE are used everywhere: the mechanics, technicians, engineers, welders… the list goes on.”

Career and technical education (CTE) impacts our lives on a daily basis. Every time you enter an office building, drive over a bridge, turn on a light, start your car or ride the elevator up through a high-rise building, you’re doing so because someone learned CTE skills. By combining academics with job-specific training, CTE prepares youth and adults for a wide range of skilled careers that we use every day.

Maurzyce_Spawany_most_na_Słudwi_MZW3295

The Maurzyce Bridge over the Słudwia River in Central Poland is the first entirely welded road bridge and the second welded bridge of any category in the world. It was designed in 1927 by Stefan Bryła, one of the pioneers of welding in civil engineering.

What’s more, CTE is a leader in preparing students for the jobs that our nation will soon need qualified workers to fill. As the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) reports, many of the fastest-growing jobs through 2022 will be in fields like health care, STEM, IT, marketing and the skilled trades – all occupations that CTE prepares students for.

According to ACTE, that preparation is occurring in high schools, community and technical colleges, four-year universities and career centers around the country. In fact, 94 percent of high school students and 13 million post-secondary students are participating in CTE programs today. (https://www.acteonline.org/cte/#.U9-qrPldXMk) Programs are often the result of partnerships between education and industry, like Western Wisconsin’s student-run Cardinal Manufacturing, an in-school business that helps its students discover careers in welding while gaining an understanding of running a business. Read more here. As programs grow, CTE evolves to encompass advancing technology and vigorous academics to ensure its students have the technical and employability skills needed by industry today and in the future.

So when you entrust the care of loved ones to home health aides, listen to weather forecasts created by atmospheric scientists, enter payment details into systems monitored by information security analysts, purchase products promoted by clever marketing managers or buy gas pumped through mile-long pipes secured by certified welders – all jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will grow the fastest in the next decade – you will benefit from the output of CTE programs.

How has career and technical education impacted your life? Share your story in the comments below!

Realityworks President Named 2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

Realityworks is proud to announce the selection of company president Timm Boettcher as the 2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year!

2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

Selected by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and its Board of Directors, the award celebrates the contributions and achievements of an executive from the business community who has demonstrated a solid and sustained commitment to improving career and technical education (CTE).

“Mr. Boettcher lives, breathes and promotes the value of bridging educational leadership with business involvement,” says Scott Jameson, Director of Marketing for Realityworks. “He is a shining example of what can occur when business leaders champion CTE and the value it brings.”

As President and CEO of Realityworks, Inc., Timm Boettcher has led the development of new products that provide hands-on experience in career preparation areas such as family and consumer sciences, health education business management, entrepreneurship, and welding. Established 19 years ago to better address complex social and community challenges through educational products, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students while improving the human condition. Under Boettcher’s leadership, the company’s products have been adopted by 62 percent of U.S. school districts and in more than 90 countries.

In 2011, Boettcher saw the need for business leaders to advocate for CTE as a critical piece in preparing tomorrow’s workforce for industry’s needs. With the support of ACTE, Boettcher founded the Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC), a group of American business leaders who have the common goal of strengthening and raising awareness for CTE in the United States. In addition to supporting CTE’s positive impact on students and the economy, the IWNC advocates for CTE programming, curricula and funding on the federal, state and local levels.

Boettcher has presented workforce development strategies on the national level for Harvard’s Pathways to Prosperity and to the U.S. Department of Labor. He chairs the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, which establishes and leads regional workforce development initiatives, and has established and led the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin as Chair to connect critical C-level talent with growing start-ups and small to mid-sized companies. Boettcher served on the Board for the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation as President and currently provides guidance to the International Business Programs Advisory Council of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

For more information on ACTE and this exciting announcement, click here.

Connecting at CareerTECH

ACTE Booth

It may have been colder than normal in Las Vegas last week, but that did not stop our team from meeting, greeting and connecting with career and technical education professionals at CareerTECH VISION 2013. Our team returned from this ACTE- sponsored conference on Monday, and as we evaluate the success of this year’s conference and prepare for next year, we can’t help reflecting on all the trade shows we have attended in the past 12 months and the connections we have made.

For us, it’s all about connections – connecting educators with revolutionary teaching products, connecting administrators with proven curricula, and even connecting students with real-life learning opportunities so they can – you guessed it – make their own connections and walk away having learned valuable life lessons or gained career-changing skills. That’s what Realityworks is all about, after all. We are dedicated to creating educational simulators that not only provide users with real-life parenting, welding and business experiences, but with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in work and life. We know that hands-on learning opportunities go a long way to ensure that students connect with and remember those lessons in the future, and demonstrating how our welding and infant simulators accomplish that at conferences like this is an exciting part of what we do!