Drawing metaphorically upon concepts from biology, computer scientist and educator Bruce (emer., Univ. of Illinois) offers an accessible analysis of the possibilities for effective teaching and learning in the modern era. The text argues for the necessity of rethinking contemporary teaching and learning strategies by identifying evidence-driven inequities in current educational outcomes, referring to the resulting impoverishments and marginalizations as disasters. On this foundation, Bruce develops an explanation of the "Ecosystems Learning Framework" as an alternative to existing approaches. The Ecosystems Learning Framework establishes an inclusive approach by reconsidering platforms, modalities, work settings, and "teachers" to expand readers' imaginary of education. Bruce skillfully demonstrates the potential of the Ecosystems Learning Framework by illustrating its components and philosophy through case studies, provided in the form of storytelling, with examples of ecosystems learning from Colombia, India, France, Ireland, and Spain (to name a few). Through these stories of successful collaborations from around the world, readers are equipped with a useful guide to implementing the Ecosystems Learning Framework. Especially provocative is Bruce's use of the evolutionary concept of ecological niche to reconceptualize learning. The chapter devoted to redefining terms such as teaching and learning alone establishes the value of the book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students. Faculty. General readers.— Choice Reviews
In Education's Ecosystems, Bertram Bruce brings to life the idea of learning ecoystems to serve as a metaphor for viewing teaching and learning.... Bruce asks readers to consider both constructive and destructive means in which ecosystems shape and affect learning, such as how poverty or affluence can affect components of school quality and enrichment opportunities.— Schools: Studies in Education
With this publication, the philosophy of education has finally evolved to fit its contemporary ecosystem, in which life, social structures and technological artifacts constantly reconfigure the nature of knowledge, learning and understanding. Bruce’s conceptualization of education—inspired by the ecological model—provides the kind of liberating approach needed to shake off the ossified assumptions and practices of the past. This is a lively, accessible, grounded, comprehensive and inspiring stroll through a new educational environment, richly illustrated with insightful stories from the author’s exemplary lifelong learning adventures. Sure to stimulate any student of education to envision innovative escapes from schooling’s quagmire.— Gerry Stahl, Professor Emeritus of Information Science, Drexel University, and founding editor of the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning
To many students, school lacks meaning, but it does not have to be that way. Bruce shows what education would be like if Dewey were updated for the postmodern world. When schooling becomes an ecological environment, students can grapple with complex networks of interconnected tasks and joining ideas that matters to deep engagement in learning activities. Linking things children care about with real-world experiences educates children for life.
Is student a living thing in the community and society or an object to receive lecture and produce grades? On this essential stance of schooling and education, Bruce compels us to examine this obvious yet often avoided question, using prolific descriptions, thought-provoking arguments, and lived examples from diverse cultures. Drawing from the concept of ecosystem, he paints education as interconnections of people and things, of formal and informal learning, where students are alive and thrive.
— Shihkuan Hsu, Center for Teacher Education, National Taiwan University
Bruce argues for a conception of school as embedded within, and an integral component of, the communities in which we live.
Bruce suggests “If learning is truly open to the world, the teacher doesn't have to, cannot, know it all. Instead, she or he becomes a fellow explorer, possibly a knowledgeable guide, but not the final answer to anything.”
Bruce is an artful questioner and Education’s Ecosystem: Learning Through Life tackles many questionable assumptions on education. It could easily be titled ‘questions for educators - other ways of thinking about school and community’.
Bruce argues consistently that education happens in the community. He takes us beyond the near and the obvious. We are presented, quite literally, with a global perspective, an ecosystem of education that may be embraced and nurtured for learning about the world.
— Leo Casey, Director, Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching, National College of Ireland