Palestine

In 2009, I traveled to Israel and Palestine with Paul Kim and Seeds of Empowerment. While there, we conducted two studies — one on storytelling and one on executive functions, using mobile devices.

The visit was a wonderful and eye-opening experience, both because we had a chance to visit with Israeli university professors and peace activists, as well as a number of non-profit organizations in Ramallah and Nablus.

Pictures from Palestine: 

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Click the link below to read the final report from Palestine Visit:

Final Israel Palestine Report March 2010

Research:

In addition to conducting stories from many children in Palestine, we also conducted a study on how mobile devices can be used to help meet the needs of children growing up in active and post-conflict environments.

We published our findings in a 2012 article in Educational Technology Research and Development (ETRD). The abstract from the article is below:

Prior research suggests that exposure to conflict can negatively impact the development of executive functioning, which in turn can affect academic performance. Recognizing the need to better understand the potentially widespread executive function deficiencies among Palestinian students and to help develop educational resources targeted to youth in conflict-affected areas, we utilize mobile devices to assess correlates of executive functions among Palestinian youth from varied socioeconomic backgrounds. We developed and examined two types of executive functioning tasks with a sample of 185 Palestinian youth, aged 6–16. Our findings confirm that students in schools that are more exposed to the effects of the political conflict have lower levels of executive functioning. We also found that the advantages of being in an urban environment are strong predictors of performance on executive function exercises, but that a high exposure-risk to political violence negatively detracts from planning-related executive functioning. Lastly, we found that living in urban environment is positively correlated with better mental planning performance (i.e., planning before taking actions) whereas being in a private school is a stronger predictor of mental flexibility (i.e., dynamically adapting to changing rules of the game). We also suggest a few strategies for future research.

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