Florida educator rethinks social media as skill for students

A designer, surfer, father, foodie, photographer, sketch artist, lover of technology, and just an all-around geek: Josh Murdock (@professorjosh) sees himself as many different things. However, if you ask any of his students, many of them faculty at his college and more destined to be future educators themselves, they’ll say he’s a teacher of teachers.

Finding ways to change and keep up with new teaching methods, and connecting with students through collaborative learning, is all part and parcel of Josh’s role. It’s been over 20 years since Josh started in higher education and he currently teaches online while working in Orlando, Florida full-time as an IT Manager of Instructional Design Services. Josh, who is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert, spends his time teaching two subjects he enjoys even while outside the classroom: educational technology and social networking.

Josh is challenging his students by having them develop presentations about themselves and screen casting to share their projects. It’s helpful for students to develop modern skills, but it’s all for naught if they can’t use it to find actual jobs, Josh says. And that’s why his Social Networking for Job Search course was started.

“Digital literacy is a part of teaching and social media is an important part of understanding how to connect and educate students using these tools for things beyond cat videos and political rants,” Josh says. “How else can they find jobs, increase their network, or connect with professionals in their fields?”

In the Social Networking for Job Search course, students learn how to improve their LinkedIn accounts and join Facebook groups to connect with companies and those already in the workforce. For their final project, they must do a video interview – this way students will be comfortable conversing using technology in a professional setting.

“Using video both for teaching and live communication will be the norm. Collaborative projects will be the norm with integration of many different types of media. Virtual reality, augmentative reality, and AI have just started for education. As these expand and become more affordable you will see these deeply embedded into education.”

To help them build, develop, and share things more easily, he encourages all of his students to use Office 365, including Microsoft PowerPoint and Mix for building presentations, Microsoft Word for creating webquest content and newsletters, and Microsoft Excel for managing grade books.

For Josh, teaching has always been a passion, and as the internet makes things more and more accessible it becomes easier than ever to use Microsoft Education tools to make knowledge-sharing connections with people from all over the world.

“I love sharing in the community through organizing EdTech Orlando, presenting at EdCamps, or just sharing neat tools on my blog or social media,” Josh says. “You need to keep playing and I love trying new things with my ten-year-old son.”

Josh finds teaching provides a special kind of thrill, and what always seems to bring him back year after year is finding those “Aha!” moments with his students. Seeing someone learning something new for the first time constantly fascinates and motivates Josh, and thanks to the growth of online learning he’s constantly educating people from different backgrounds and from all over the world.

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