Facilitated by mobile devices, blurred boundaries of work/school and home bring opportunities for conversation with our children, don’t they?

My 18 year old, when I ask what she’s doing texting as we head out to dinner, quickly points out as she hands her phone over–voluntarily–that she’s collaborating on her homework. Good thing, too, since her homework is often over my head. That kind of response took one colleague by surprise, when she asked her son why he was doing this at the table at a restaurant. “Sorry, Mom,” he replied, “we’re working on our big chemistry project and I needed to answer a few questions.” Children are nimble learners amidst schedules that adults impose on them for their own good.

While it’s clear that mobile devices can be employed for social activities, often at inappropriate moments, in my home, education activities take precedence. If you have work to do–writing, reading, calculus–then it’s a priority over social gatherings during the “work/school” week. My Dad taught me that lesson. “I’ll wash dishes, son, if you have homework.” What an incentive to focus on learning, what a powerful lesson to send about my role in my children’s lives.

And, I’m starting to see more of this collaborative texting, learning in sync, showing that thinking and learning ARE 24/7 types of activities…you don’t just shut down or flip off the switch. Of course, having written all that, modeling how to “shut down” and tune out the incessant hum of content, lay aside the role of curator, creator and collaborator…that’s essential.

Of course, I did remove the phone from a teen’s hands last night, like I once removed a hard plastic toy from my child’s hands, as she slept curled up, guarded by a fierce teacup poodle. Oh oh…I may get maudlin.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure