Trying to find some loot

September 23, 2013

Lloyd, School

Dear ******,

It was nice to speak with you during last week’s Tech Crawl. I was the teacher working on gamifying his high school programming class. I was also the guy who handed out the flyer full of typos. How embarrassing.

My students are starting to get into the spirit of gamification and it’s interesting to see that there’s not just one thing that’s motivating them. Some of them are interested in being near the top of the leaderboards. Some of them are interested in leveling up and getting to pick perks from the “perk tree.” Some of them are interested in the idea of getting loot when they level up, and some of them just seem to like the idea that programming class is going to be different from the rest of their day.

As you might recall, my mission was to find Nebraska tech companies who were interested in promoting the creation of more home grown Nebraska programmers. At the university level they are telling us that they don’t have as many students applying to the Computer Science program. My goal is to encourage high school programming students to excel at programming by gamifying our programming class.

One part of this gamification process is to provide loot to students as they “Level Up.” Would ****** like to provide some loot? Loot could take many forms. Here are some ideas that occurred to me, but I’m more interested in ideas that you have:

  1. Any sort of swag (um, I mean promotional materials): t-shirts, hats, mugs, flashlights,  usb drives… it doesn’t really matter. High schoolers like to get things.
  2. Stuff you have lying around. What do you do with your old (but still reasonable) computer equipment? We’re a 501c and we’d be happy to give you a donation receipt. (This actually applies to the rest of these ideas as well.)
  3. If you want to provide some non-swag things, gift cards are nice. Fast food, iTunes, anything really. Tickets to a game or show?  They are kids who were geeky enough to pick a programming class, so anything technology related would be good and fit the theme.
  4. Something less tangible maybe?  A personal tour of ****** and lunch with the boss? The chance at a summer intern position for someone who reaches the highest level? You wouldn’t want to offer that to everyone who reaches level 5, but we can talk about that.

Again, just some ideas. I’m open to anything.

How much do we need? I have 20 students (that’s 10% of our student body), so if there is something you want every student to have we would need 20 of it, and we would offer it as loot at a relatively low level. Anything in smaller quantities -and smaller quantities are fine- we would offer at higher levels. I would be happy to pick things up if that makes it easier on your end.

Thanks for anything you care to do to help encourage students to excel at programming, and if you have any questions or suggestions, I would love to hear them.

If you want to check up on our class, you can find us at:

At this point there are new leaderboards, achievement, perks and so on being added every week. There’s also a blog if you’re interested in how things are turning out.

You actually have two of my former programming students working for you now: Derek Guenther and Rees Klintworth.

Lloyd Sommerer
teacher/technology coordinator
Lincoln Lutheran High School

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About Lloyd

Lloyd Sommerer is a middle/high school teacher who likes to build websites, read books, grow beards, make fun of Lauren’s prototypes and eat the sauce of the picante.

View all posts by Lloyd


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9 Responses to “Trying to find some loot”

  1. CousinSam Said on:

    I have a bunch of *******shelving leaning against the garage. Nice letter.


  2. Lauren Said on:

    Bring me home some loot.


  3. Peggy Said on:

    Great letter Lloyd! My bet is on ***** sending you the loot you’ve requested. Keep us posted!

    And hehe….you funny Cousin Sam!


    • Lloyd Said on:

      I sent it to the 6 local companies I talked to. I’m not sure anything will come of it, but I already had a high school student say, “Even if we don’t get anything, it was cool that you tried.”


  4. Kristi Said on:

    Did you know that there is a game called LOOT? We own it, and we love it.

    I bet you’re going to get a lot of loot out of the deal.


  5. Brad Said on:

    If you sent this letter on September 19, you could have called it “booty” instead of “loot”. Ha! I mean, Arr!


  6. Jane Sommerer Said on:

    Loved it!


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