Bertram C. Bruce is  currently a Professor Emeritus in Information Science at the University of Illinois. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Biology from Rice University.

His work contributes to a tradition of democratic education. It asks “How can we guide the educational enterprise by an ethical vision, not simply a technocratic one of transmitting isolated facts and skills?”

Recent  books include Education’s Ecosystems: Learning through Life (2020), Démocratie et éthique sociale (2019), Progressive Education in Nepal: The Community is the Curriculum (2018), International Handbook of Progressive Education (2015), and Youth community inquiry: New media for community and personal growth (2014). See recent books.


My early research was on artificial intelligence, especially computer natural language understanding. I later began applying computers in education, for example, Quill, for teaching reading and writing, and helped implement that in village schools in Alaska. My three trips there were very significant for me and led to one of my books.

I began to broaden my work to include literacy, math and science education, and especially to promote democratic, or progressive education. This drew inspiration from the work of progressive educators and philosophers such as John Dewey and Jane Addams, as well as international work not so well known in the US, such as Célestin Freinet in France.

I retired in 2010, but continue to teach, write, and work with community-based projects. My work has led me to collaborate on extended projects in China, Australia, Haiti, Turkey, France, Germany, Ireland, Romania, Finland, Sweden, and many other places.


Much of my work has been in marginalized communities, especially with teenagers. My projects helped them use new digital technologies to address problems they identified in their own communities. One example was in an African American community, where middle-and high school aged youth would create online maps containing oral histories they had done with older community members.

In this effort, I’ve written many books and articles, and created curricula, software, and learning environments in which learners collaborate on both the ends and means of their learning. The research includes the study of technology-enhanced learning, inquiry-based learning, teacher learning, and collaborative community-based projects.


Over the last few years, I’ve helped to set up the Progressive Educators Network of Nepal, which brings together students, teachers, engineers, development workers, policy makers, and others who see learning as part of full participation in society and the natural world, rather than as individualized learning removed from the daily life.

This has been carried out through multi-month trips to Nepal in Fall 2016, Spring 2018, and Winter 2019. My latest project there was supported by a Fulbright Specialist grant to assist King’s College in becoming a progressive education university. See Progressive Education in Nepal.

See also

11 thoughts on “About

  1. I’m glad that the post was useful. Unfortunately, I don’t any sort of bibliography, other than what you can find easily in a web search. But please let me know what you discover.


  2. Good afternoon Dr. Bruce – I found your blog through a 2015 post about Desmond X. Holdridge. I recently read his [wonderful] book about living in the Caribbean in the 30s, “Escape to the Tropics.” I am tracking down all he wrote in his short life – did you compile your own bibliography of his work, and if so can I beg a copy? Thank you for your post, it gave me more things to look for. All the best, Larry Helm lhelm1968@gmail.com


  3. Hi, Chip! Just thinking of you (and stalking you online a bit) after ragging Kevin Leander on his 59th birthday. Wonderful posting about Nepal, and great that you have continued work on progressive education internationally. I’m retired now, most recently from UC San Diego (after U of Michigan and CUNY). — JAY.


  4. Pingback: Las Misiones Pedagógicas

  5. Pingback: Electronic Quills: A situated evaluation of using computers for writing in classrooms – Chip's journey

  6. Pingback: PAR as a means to encourage democratic education | Michael Scott

  7. Pingback: Community-Engaged Research and Open Scholarship | Michael Scott

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