Episode 12 – Gaming in Education

Episode 12 – Gaming in Education

Disclaimer: we talk a lot about killing orcs. No orcs were harmed in the making of this podcast. 

In this episode, we talk with Don Bacon and Greg Korchnak, teachers in Louisville who use gaming in education to connect with students. Don is a Social Studies teacher at Iroquois High School that runs a gaming club for 15-20 students that play Dungeons & Dragons every other Friday. Greg is a science teacher at Kentucky Country Day that runs a gaming club of 3-9 students that mostly play card and board games on Tuesdays. Greg also has begun to bring games into the classroom, integrating games like Power Grid into his lesson plans.


  • Introductions: Don Bacon & Greg Korchnak
  • Bacon’s After-School Club playing Dungeons & Dragons 5E
  • Started with 4-5 students (14-18 years old); 15-20 now with characters now
  • Schmoozing the office ladies with baked goods or other methods
  • Parental Consent for semi-violent content
  • Greg’s After-School Club, mostly playing various card and board games
  • A student’s D&D adventure where the teachers were the monster-villains
  • Nick wants to play this adventure at home
  • Students teaching each other math during the game; Don takes credit from Math teacher
  • Games as teaching & learning tools; vocabulary, rules, math, etc.
  • How students change based on their role in a game; social interactions within the game
  • Cooperation and working together to accomplish a goal; students as social ambassadors
  • Games forcing different behaviors for the students
  • Creating games out of science experiments & making students make hard choices
  • Using games to teach students how to deal with authority and challenges in the fictional world that mirror real life confrontations; social contracts and interaction
  • Rules as a mechanism to constrain interactions
  • Gaming Clubs as a positive experience that connects students to the school – “Kids want to show up to school so they can play D&D,” Don said.
  • Financial resources for gaming at school
  • Designing lessons around boardgames; Power Grid – a game Greg will use in an upcoming lesson
  • A bunch of teacher nerdisms I have no idea about…
  • Positive experiences mattering to kids and having a ripple effect
  • Writing game reviews instead of book reviews
  • Video games in the classroom
  • “It makes learning fun,” Greg said.
  • Parental feedback – doing games instead of doing drugs
  • Classroom management using game rules

Also, check out our article on Louisville Educators using Games for Learning.

The Crew:

  • Mike Pfaff
  • Nick Sturtzel as Nobody (cameo)

Intro / Outro music is The White of Noon by STRFKR, graciously provided with permission by Polyvinyl Records.

Mike Pfaff

Mike is the co-founder of Nerd Louisville and still volunteers from time-to-time. He's been a nerd since he was first introduced to Dungeons & Dragons when he was a wee lad and continues playing to this day. You can play games with him at Slur Your Role or other Nerd Louisville events.