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Technology Influences Instruction: Mr. Bermel & The Semi-Flipped Classroom

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Technology Influences Instruction: Mr. Bermel & The Semi-Flipped Classroom

Tej Shah, Contributing Writer

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With the advent of the digital age came a slew of advancements in the educational field. One of the emerging trends of the past few years has been the use of “flipped” classrooms, in which educational instruction is provided outside of the classroom and further reinforcement is given within. Flipped classroom methodology has been pioneered by people like Salman Khan of Khan Academy and Glenn Pratt. The idea behind this structure is to give students an active role in their education.

With seventeen years of teaching Advanced Placement Calculus, Morris Hills’ Mr. Bermel has been able to build students’ “toolkits,” helping them to develop mathematical insight and solve challenging problems, all while having fun. Mr. Bermel has adopted some parts of this “flipped classroom” methodology by providing students with worked-out solutions, practice problems, and instructional videos for further reinforcement on his website at mrbermel.com. He also uses traditional classroom time for in-person instruction.

Mr. Bermel said that the reason he started his own website was to serve as a “central hub to organize, store, and share class documents. I find it easier to use my website rather than those provided by Google as I have more control over the presentation of information. I created lecture videos for all my lessons so that absent students would not fall behind. Students miss class due to illness, snow days, and field trips. Now, they can work independently and stay on track. This helps reduce both student and teacher anxiety.” Mr. Bermel believes that his website and videos have improved his class’s performance. He said “I found that students sometimes choose to watch the video lessons before class. This way they can focus on nuisances without struggling to keep up with the fast pace of the notes. Other students watch the videos after the live lecture to clarify points of confusion.” As junior Shrey Dave said, “Having lessons online, along with notes is extremely helpful. It is very convenient to have many of my questions answered in the videos. These online resources are great and I’m very thankful that Mr. Bermel took the time to develop them.”

Mr. Bermel’s teaching style and accompanying online resources account for his classes’ average score on the AP Calculus exam to be greater than a 4 each year (typically, scores of 4 or 5 on AP Examinations are sufficient to provide students with college credit). Students in his classes this year feel strongly that they are prepared for the 2019 AP Calculus examinations and hope to achieve the same success as the students in previous years.

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Technology Influences Instruction: Mr. Bermel & The Semi-Flipped Classroom