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Krista Sweckard wins state technology educator award

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Krista Sweckard points to the robot as she watches the code put together by second graders

Krista Sweckard points to the robot as she watches the code put together by second graders (from left) Jasmine Sta. Maria, Sienna Ramirez and Aria Beecher on Thursday. Sweckard teaches technology in both the high school and in Meadowlark. She got into teaching technology because of her daughter, who is now a computer science major in college. Her daughter got super interested in technology and so Krista “just had to learn how to do some of it” to support her daughters growing interest.

Krista Sweckard splits her time teaching technology in Buffalo High School and Meadowlark Elementary School. Recently, Sweckard was recently named Educator of the Year in the K-12 Digital Learning Awards by the Wyoming Department of Education. 

Despite the age range, Sweckard is able to work with students with the end goal of helping them fall in love with technology. With high school students, we works on coding and building robots. With elementary students, she works on problem solving and simplified coding to operate a different kind of robot.

Sweckard’s daughter, now a computer science major in college, is the reason Sweckard is here now. After her daughter grew more and more interested in computers and technology, Sweckard said she had to find a way to help her learn and get involved - and now she helps entire classrooms full of kids learn. 

Krista Sweckard spends her mornings working in the high school and her afternoons at the elementary school

Technology teacher Krista Sweckard spends her mornings working in the high school and her afternoons at the elementary school. After letting the kids play around with their robots, Sweckard asked the kids to show off the different things they made their robots do during class on Thursday.

Krista Sweckard works with Griffin Ruby, center, and Sawyer Kolb on their robot pattern

Technology teacher Krista Sweckard works with Griffin Ruby, center, and Sawyer Kolb on their robot pattern on Thursday. Sweckard was recently named Educator of the Year in the K-12 Digital Learning Awards by the Wyoming Department of Education.

Finn Johnson lays down after arranging the code for his robot’s movement

Finn Johnson lays down after arranging the code for his robot’s movement on Thursday. The kids coded their robots to move, sound and light up in specific ways.

Krista Sweckard wipes down all of the devices to prevent the spread of germs between classes

Between each group of kids, Krista Sweckard wipes down all of the devices to prevent the spread of germs between classes. They use a variety of different devices on different days in technology class, all of which Sweckard hopes will help them utilize the things they learn in other classes like math and problem solving in non-obvious ways.

Technology teacher Krista Sweckard points to a button on the side of the smart board

Technology teacher Krista Sweckard points to a button on the side of the smart board in her classroom. The kids followed along on their iPads as Sweckard walked them through the setup before driving the robots.

Krisa Sweckard helps a group of kids fix a mishap on their iPad

Krisa Sweckard helps a group of kids fix a mishap on their iPad before they begin their robot race on Thursday. Sweckard works with the second graders for roughly one half hour one day each week. Her biggest goal is just to get all the kids excited about technology and what they can do with it.

Two neighboring classmates help fix a coding issue on the iPad

Two neighboring classmates help fix a coding issue on the iPad before the next robot race during technology class on Thursday. The kids worked in groups of either two or three but helped each other when they could.

Jase Matthews points to his teams robot as it crosses the finish line next to Cody Behrend and Luis Burgos

Jase Matthews points to his teams robot as it crosses the finish line next to Cody Behrend, center, and Luis Burgos on Thursday. This class lined their robots up for a robot race, and Matthews was hopeful that his teams robot made it back home fastest.

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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