An avid fan of “Minecraft,” Trevor Johnson remembers the first time he created a code to advance in the game.

“I got all these tools that you usually have to (earn), but I just coded it,” said Johnson, a Smith Middle School sixth-grader. “It was pretty exciting once you first code it and it turns to something else. ... The fact that I can make something without having to built it, just by typing (a code), is incredible to me.”

Johnson and his peers were excited to participate in Teen Tech Week events in the school’s library between March 17 and 21. Other activities included browsing through a retro tech museum featuring rotary phones, eight-track tapes, clunky computer screens and record players. Students also created their own podcasts and digital summaries of their favorite books and up-cycled old technology through do-it-yourself crafts.

Librarian Stacie Maples said hosting the events in the library was a great way to show students everything libraries offer.

“There’s always that misconception of a library that you just come in here and read a book, but there’s more to libraries than just print materials. There’s digital materials,” she said. “(It’s) giving them access to those kinds of things and showing them what they can do through the libraries and technology.”

Marissa Ocampo, campus technology support specialist, said she also wanted to teach students about digital citizenship and advise them against illegally downloading materials and plagiarizing online material.

“Our kids are digital natives, but another reason we wanted to do tech week is because they don’t know how to use it correctly,” she said. “We really want to show them how to use it effectively.”

Johnson, who is interested in a career in computer engineering, said he’s glad the school hosted a week of events to engage more students in the technology field.

“I think it’s great, really” he said. “You’re trying to get more people to join something that’s going to be the future.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7553. Follow her on Twitter at SarahRafique.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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