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Using GBL As A Key To Keeping Students Engaged: Dr. Jennifer Berry
Dr. Jennifer BerryAKA "JenniFire Furystone"
We went behind the screens with Metro Nashville Public School’s Dr. Jennifer Berry, also known as JenniFire Furystone. This Legendary Partner serves as the Director of STEAM and Science and made the decision to venture into game-based learning with Legends of Learning a few years back. “Really when you think about the future with students and their interests, they are all about games. You want to meet students where they are.” Dr. Berry has found this to be the key to keeping students engaged.
With the onset of school closures nationwide this past March, Dr. Berry swiftly collaborated with Legends of Learning to expand access across the district, ensuring all MNPS students were able to continue math and science learning while home. “It’s all about the communication and execution at the start.” Dr. Berry reports the key for a strong implementation is to get everyone on board with clear, concise communication. “Teachers need to know the purpose and be supported along the way. When you share the data and successes, that will speak for itself!”
On a recent Zoom call, we asked Dr. Berry to recall her favorite Legends moment, and she smiled ear-to-ear: “The moment when I open up the monthly data and see the increases. I love seeing each month the number of hours, playlists, and games increase. This means we are meeting the needs of our students and teachers!”
With game-based learning in-mind, have things changed for MNPS with the coronavirus reality? ”Yes! Thank you to the Legends team. This has truly been a partnership with Legends of Learning and Metro Nashville Public Schools.” When MNPS closed, “Legends stepped up and said we want to allow all of your students to have access to game-based learning from home. Professional development was given, and our numbers went up. To guarantee student engagement, a worksheet will not work; we must do what students want, they want to have fun. Legends allows our students to enjoy learning. Since coronavirus, more and more MNPS students are engaged with game-based learning.”
Oh, are you wondering how Jennifer earned her superhero name, JenniFire Furystone? Sources say, you will have to ask her husband.