Stanford research reveals Creativity Gap among Palestinian children

Stanford Graduate School of Education doctoral student, Elizabeth Buckner, is working with Stanford Professor Paul Kim on research about creativity among Palestinian school children and ways that mobile technology could be used to cultivate it. She visited the West Bank in Spring 2010 to do research with children at TYO and several other NGOs and schools. This research has led to the fascinating article, Combating the Creativity Gap [NB: this paper is a work in progress and should not be cited without the authors' permission]. The article presents fascinating evidence that some Palestinian students are getting access to the type of learning-through-play and student-centered educational experiences necessary to facilitate twenty-first century skills like problem solving and creativity. However, these opportunities seem to be limited very strictly to children of wealthy families attending private schools.

Authors Buckner and Kim propose mobile technologies that seem to effectively measure and indeed foster complex thinking and in turn, creativity. TYO's child-centered learning programs are also clearly in line with the "inquiry-based methods are a more effective pedagogical approach for getting children to become active agents of their own learning" that the authors condone. This fall, Professor Kim will deliver workshops on ways to apply mobile technology in education in cooperation with Birzeit University's Information Technology Center for Excellence.

Having seen the incredible creative potential of the Palestinian people, we say ahlan wa sahlan, Paul and Elizabeth - help us close this dangerous creativity gap as soon as possible to ensure that ALL members of the next generation are empowered to reach their full potential.