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FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY FACEBOOK AND EDMODO AS SUPPLEMENTARY TOOLS IN AIDING THE ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AMONG

CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

Milanez, Harriett Daniellle S. Tarnate, Clariza Mae G. Ver, Bernadette Victoria M. FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY

ABSTRACT The researchers were able to determine the different teaching strategies and classroom management practices that the teacher used inside the classroom before incorporating the virtual classrooms in the classroom. The teacher used explicit instruction in teaching the students. She used this kind of strategy for children to fully understand the concept. She also used the traditional paper-and-pencil in giving tests. She also used the traditional assignment notebook in reminding the parents the tasks the students need to accomplish. In classroom management, the teacher always made sure that she is consistent with her rules. She also focuses directly with each of her students. They used checklists and interview method in extracting data. Though not shown in the statistics, the researchers were able to observe improvements and changes in the performance of the respondents. They became more motivated and started to interact more with the researchers, as well as with each other. The researchers conclude that facebook and edmodo are effective supplementary tools to their respondents. It increased the interaction and motivation of the respondents. Also, even though they were only able to do the study for a short period of time, they saw improvements in the performance of the respondents.

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY INTRODUCTION The rapid development of information and communication technologies has sparked the creative incorporation of social media into current pedagogical applications and processes. Social media includes a variety of web-based tools and services that are designed to promote community development through collaboration and information sharing (Arnold & Paulus, 2010; Junco, Helbergert, &Loken, 2011). These tools provide opportunities for individual expression as well as interaction with other users (Arnold & Paulus, 2010). Social media can be in forms of blogs, status updates, sharing tools, and network platforms. Among these network platforms are Facebook and Edmodo. In fact, online instruction is rapidly gaining acceptance as an alternative and a supplement to traditional classroom instruction (Arbaugh, 2000a). Current research has indicated that using social media as an educational tool can lead to increased student engagement (Annetta, Minogue, Holmes, & Cheng, 2009; Chen, Lambert, & Guidry, 2010; Junco, 2012a; Junco et al., 2011; Patera, Draper, &Naef, 2008). By encouraging engagement with social media, students develop connections with peers, establish a virtual community of learners and ultimately increase their overall learning (Fewkes& McCabe, 2012). Moreover, Greenhow (2011) also presented concrete examples on how Social networking sites, such as Facebook, might be re-envisioned as support for revised student learning outcomes: (1) Social networking sites can support learning, providing social learning functions such as peer support to manage the ups and downs of high school or college life, or helping with school-related tasks; (2) Social networking sites can stimulate

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY social and civic benefits, online and offline, which can have implications for education, such as persistence in educational settings that may increase when learners feel a strong sense of connectedness and belonging. Furthermore, this research paper will explore the dimensions of student engagement through Facebook and Edmodo as means of supplementing classroom methodologies to increase academic and social development in students. Student engagement represents both the time and energy students invest in interactions with others through educationally purposeful activities (Kuh, 2001). Nelson Laird and Kuh (2005) reported that students who use information technology for academics also have a higher likelihood of contributing and participating in active, academic collaboration with other students. This collaboration indicates that as engagement with technology increases, engagement with academics also increases, promoting a deeper connection between the students, educators, and course content (Mehdinezhad, 2011).

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY For the last decade, studies on the use of virtual classrooms, such as social media, have shown that this medium is an effective tool for teaching and learning. The primary users include elementary, secondary and tertiary students. In this study, the researchers wanted to know more if this kind of learning style could be applicable to individuals with special needs, specifically children with autism. Social media have now emerged as a promising tool in education as it may provide many benefits to its users. As the span of technology grows wider and wider, so have the

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY ways on accessing it. These platforms provide many possibilities in ones learning and may help improve their academic performance. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein defined social media as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated

content." Furthermore, social media depend on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, cocreate, discuss, and modify user-generated content. This technology has been effective in the field of education. It includes different forms of educational technology that aid methodologies in teaching and learning. Some activities and interactions take place in the virtual realm instead of face to face. In this study, the researchers defined social media as online communication channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration, with focus on Facebook and Edmodo. These types of social media can be used as resources for classroom announcements, activities, assignments and activities. It will act as the reminder notebook of the students. It will also serve as a link between the teacher and the students, as well as student to student interaction in the comfort of their homes. It will not purely serve as a classroom but only a tool to aid and supplement current classroom methodologies. Social networks are social-tie structures which support participation, interaction, resource sharing, and socialization of common interest groups (Griffith and Liyanage,

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY 2008; Newman and Park 2003; (Koak-Usluel and Mazman, 2009). The social media or social networking sites used in this study were Facebook and Edmodo. Edmodo is a private social platform which provides a secure space for teachers and students to connect and to collaborate (Duncan and Chandler, 2011; Halm et al. 2012). It is easy to apply to classrooms since its appearance is similar to Facebook, that many students are already familiar with (Haefner and Hanor, 2012; Holland and Muilenburg, 2011). Edmodo can be incorporated into classrooms through a variety of applications including posting assignments, learning groups, posting a quiz for students to take, and creating a calendar of events and assignments. Teachers can annotate the assignments directly in Edmodo to provide instant feedback. Parents can also view their childs account allowing them to see and monitor their childs assignments and grades. Teachers, subject to creating and maintaining parental records, could send alerts to parents about school events, missed assignments, and other important messages. Edmodo, as with any social network, can be used as a place to post and critique work, facilitate collaboration, and post creative writing for an audience. In Facebook, students are able to create groups that will serve as their online classroom. In the groups, they will be able to share lectures and notes, assignments, events and activities. Facebook is easier to use because many children are already familiar in using this website. One of the aims of this study is to explore the advantages or disadvantages of virtual classrooms in the academic and social development of children with autism. The

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY advantages include accessibility; no barrier with any disability; it has been affirmed time independent and one can join in anywhere and anytime. Though of course, it has its own disadvantages, such as not all schools have the technology; fortunately, this is rapidly changing. Teachers need additional training for instructional and learning methods. Honesty of students is at risk as teachers will not always be able to monitor students access. There are many reasons why the researchers chose this topic. As future special education teachers, they are committed to exploring more effective ways in ensuring continuous and efficient learning in the classroom. Furthermore, the Internet has proven to stimulate interest amongst students, so using it in the classroom to aid in teaching methodologies do hold a lot of promise. They wanted to apply these technologies to help improve the academic performance and well as encourage social skills of children with autism. The researchers wanted to further know if the students will progress, retain or regress with this kind of learning strategy.

SYNTHESIS The collected data from the mentioned studies show virtual classrooms as effective supplementary aid for learning. The researchers showed that interaction and socialization in virtual classrooms like Facebook and Edmodo are possible. Also, many students who use virtual classrooms showed progress and improvement in learning styles.

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY The studies shown that the virtual classrooms have positive effects on the academic and social development of students. Interaction, socialization and communication are being developed through the tools used. Such skills will help the students in developing better performance in academic and social domains. The studies showed the effects, advantages, and disadvantages of the tools in the performance of the students. The tools are convenient and easy to use which allow the students to become better and improve in their skills. The tools are also proven to be interesting learning network which shows a high level of acceptance among the students and teachers. Social networks also enable numerous opportunities for creating an environment of cooperative and collaborative learning. In short, the tools can be used as resource/teaching tool important to encourage greater participation, interaction and collaboration in the educational process. The different studies proved that collaborative learning is possible in social media. It is also shown that the tools are effective learning that enhances the interest and capabilities of students. It is clear enough that the students are having good academic and social development feedback. Also, confidence had been developed in using the tools. This research is similar to all the researches above in terms of the goal of the study. They all wanted to know if there are positive outcomes in the development of the respondents. While this research differs from the previous studies with their respondents. The current researchers had children with autism for their participants which is harder and more challenging. Previous researches focused on the regular set up specifically from the higher education on college students.

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY Social media is indeed a promising tool for the development of social skills. As evidenced in the related studies, it can also be used as an effective tool in improving academic performance. Technology provides an effective medium for improving academic and social development in students, which this study hopes will also be an advantage for children with autism.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS 1. What techniques do the teacher-respondent employ in the classroom in terms of:
a. teaching strategies, and b. classroom management?

TEACHING STRATEGIES In this study, the researchers were able to know the different teaching strategies the teacher employs inside the classroom. These strategies are important in addressing the childrens unique needs. The researchers came to know that she uses explicit instruction as her technique in teaching the children. Explicit instruction is systematic, direct, engaging, and success oriented and has been shown to promote achievement for all students. This highly practical and accessible resource gives special and general education teachers the tools to implement explicit instruction in any grade level or content area (Archer and Hughes). It involves direct student attention toward specific learning in a highly structured environment. Explicit instruction also involves modeling skills and behaviors.

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY The teacher of the respondents used this kind of teaching strategy for children to effectively understand the concept. According to her, a single concept needs to be presented through a variety of activities for students to attain understanding. For her to be successful in using this strategy, she follows these steps in implementing it:
Setting the objective for the days lesson Telling students what to do Showing them exactly how to do it Guiding their hands-on application of the new learning.

Furthermore, she added that this kind of strategy may not give you an immediate feedback because it may take a year to get the feedback you needed, it enhances the childs ability and lead to the outcome and development one may intend to have. Also, before implementing the experiment, she used the traditional pen and paper in giving tests. She also lets the students make art projects like mosaic, collage and drawings. She uses the traditional assignment notebook in reminding the parents and students of the tasks they need to accomplish. CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT Classroom management is the term educators use to describe methods of preventing misbehavior and dealing with it if it arises. In other words, it is the techniques teachers use to maintain control in the classroom. The educator uses set of techniques and skills that allows him or her to control students effectively; in order to create a positive learning environment for students (Sternberg and Williams).

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY The teacher of the respondents uses classroom management especially in behavior management. She always makes sure that she is consistent with her rules and implements it as soon as the undesirable behavior is manifested. She focuses directly on the student when calling their attention. To catch the students attention during the start of their session, they have this activity called circle time which consists of praying, singing, in troducing their selves, and greeting everybody. After this activity, the students are more attentive and focused on the tasks of the day.
2. To what extent do virtual classrooms, specifically Facebook and Edmodo, supplement the following aspects of development among children with autism? a. academic domain b. social domain

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ACADEMIC DOMAIN The researchers were able to find out the individual mean scores of the total answers in the checklist of each respondent. Based on the checklist, results of students A, B, and C remained and there are no evident changes in their performance. While Student D had improvements in his performance. His changes were that he started to acquire good work habits and come to school prepared. But in the observation of the researchers, even though it is not evident on the statistics above, the respondents worked faster and became more motivated after using the virtual classrooms. They started to become more focus on their work and finish the activities faster than they have done before.

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY The researchers were also able to find out the mean scores of the total answers on the respondents academic skills checklist showing the difference between the pretest and post-test. It showed that there are slight improvements in the academic development of the children after the introduction of the use of virtual classrooms. In their academic skills, their TOTAL ANSWERS fall under the column of Often (3) and Sometimes (2). This means that most of the respondents demonstrate the behavior listed on the checklist often and sometimes.

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SOCIAL DOMAIN

They were also able to accumulate the results of the individual mean scores from the respondents social skills checklist. The numbers serve as the mean scores the researchers have interpreted to see if there are possible developments in the social skills of the respondents. Based on the checklist, Students A, B, and C displayed no evident changes in their performance, while Student D had some slight changes in his performance. Some of the changes in his social skills were that he started to allow peers to join him and politely asks others to move out of his way. Also, the mean scores of the total answers on the social skills checklist of the respondents showing the difference between the pre-checklist and post-checklist. It indicates that there are also slight improvements in the social skills of the respondents after the experiment was conducted. But based on the observation of the researchers, social interaction between them and the respondents became more active. While

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY conducting the experiment, the students socialized more than prior to the introduction of virtual classrooms. In their social skills, their TOTAL ANSWERS fall under the column of Sometimes (2). This means that most of the respondents display the behavior listed on the checklist sometimes. They perform the tasks with minimal reminder from the teacher.
3. How can the use of virtual classrooms contribute to a purposeful intervention leading to the respondents development?

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The researchers presented the time period wherein the respondents took their pretests and their post-tests. Pre-tests were taken before conducting the experiment using Facebook and Edmodo as supplementary tools. While the post-tests were taken after the respondents used the virtual classrooms. Both tests were taken using the traditional pencil-and-paper tests. It is evident that there is development on the amount of time that it took them to complete examination and activities. When using the virtual classrooms, though there is no evident development in their academic and social skills, they showed better motivation and interest. They became more focused on their tasks. The gadgets and activities provided stimulation for the respondents to stay focused and encourage interest.
4. What intervention program can be proposed to facilitate the academic and social development of children?

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY The use of Facebook and Edmodo has become an effective supplementary tool for the students because they responded positively to the activities given to them. The virtual classroom has served to stimulate their interest and in turn be motivated to work and complete their tasks. It may also serve to expand the parents roles in providing support and monitoring their progress. Conclusions The mean scores of the individual and total answers of the students checklists showed the possible effects of Facebook and Edmodo in the academic and social development of the respondents. It revealed that social media can increase the interest of the students and help them become more cooperative and participative. Students also started to become interactive and motivated. They started to mingle with the researchers while the experiment was on the process. The study also found out that after implementing the tools, the students finished their work faster than on how they answered their tests before implementing the tools. With the data results, the researchers conclude that facebook and edmodo are effective supplementary tools to their respondents. It increased the interaction and motivation of the respondents. Also, even though they were only able to do the study for a short period of time, they saw improvements in the performance of the respondents. Recommendations
1. The researchers recommend the use of other media tools like projector, etc. to facilitate the learning of the students.

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2. The researchers recommend that future researchers conduct the study for a longer period of time. 3. The researchers recommend the use of other virtual classrooms such as Moodle, MySpace, Ning, and many more. 4. The researchers recommend that these children with special needs be exposed to different kinds of technologies.

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In addition, the researchers recommend the implementation of seminars for teachers and administrators so that the teachers will be given enough knowledge about other virtual classrooms and technologies that could be incorporated inside the classroom.