Raghu Pandey’s book Become an iMature Student is the digital citizenship primer every student needs. The book covers a wide variety of topics. Pandey starts with background information, internet basics, an explanation of web 2.0 and content creation/sharing. The definitions and examples in these chapters set the stage for understanding the importance of digital citizenship. The comparison of a website to an apartment building is an especially helpful one. The building has an unique address as does each apartment, just as a website and all it’s pages have unique URLs. The chapter on content creating and sharing covers how to share content to the internet as well as introducing Creative Commons licensing.
The next section of the book discuss social spaces. Pandey makes the distinction between social networking and professional networking. This is an important difference for our students to learn early. The social networking chapter covers creating a useful network of people who share your common interests, netiquette, safety and having a good online reputation. An important section of this chapter also covers respecting other’s online reputation. The very important chapter on professional networking offers important tips about communicating professionally. Pandey also provides guidance for students who wish to reach out to professionals in their area of study. Finally, Pandey discusses how to interact appropriately in online forums and chats.
The third section covers the giving and taking of information. Pandey covers blogging in this section. Students are introduced to a variety of blog posts – text, presentations, videos, photos and e-documents. The next chapter is designed to help students determine reliable sources of information. This section closes with a chapter over online learning. Pandey reviews the distinction between open courseware and online classes.
The fourth section in Become an iMature Student covers online safety. Chapter 11 exposes students to the negative aspects of the internet. They learn about cyberbulling, cyber criminals and real life criminals and how to protect themselves from these negative elements. Chapter 12 covers being a responsible netizen. Plagiarism, illegal content, violating terms of agreement and spamming are discussed.
The final section offers tips to being a balanced 21st Century student. Pandey cautions to students to balance the time they spend online with offline friendships and activities. He also offers 10 skills students will need to be effective 21st Century employees.
Become an iMature Student is an excellent book full of much needed information. It came to me at just the right time as I plan technology lessons for the beginning of the school year. The book is easy to read. The book follows Arjun on his quest to become an iMature student and earn the top award at his school. Each chapter ends with a bullet point review and points to think about. Pandey is an educational consultant in India. The main characters are Indian and there are several references to Indian culture. The references are easy to understand and did not distract me from the message of the book.
I highly recommend this book for Technology Directors, Technology Specialists and Teachers as a quick reference guide to what students need to know to be successful on the internet. Students will also benefit from the book but I think it’s best as a guide for educators to lead students through.