Books & Passion Projects

This website is the digital home base for my rough draft thinking, experiments, and passion projects. As such, most of what you see on this site (although not all) represents that which emerges out of the work that I do beyond my primary place of employment. Much of this is a chance for me to refresh and rejuvenate. It is a place to play, explore, dabble, tinker, dream, design, fail, and learn from those failures. It is what helps me to remain fresh, focused, and fully present when it comes to my primary work as a college president. As such, below are some of the past, present, and future results of this experimentation.

In partnership with the Future X Network, this podcast experiment, launched in February of 2020 involves a 40-episode commitment to interviewing world-class scholars, leaders, and innovators about emergent and future innovations and practices in education. You can listen to episodes or subscribe here. “Dr. Bernard Bull, host of Edu Futures, has been helping to co-create the future of education for over twenty years. He is a writer, designer, futurist, professor, educational entrepreneur, and university administrator who has traveled throughout the United States and other parts of the world to speak, consult, research, and explore promising practices and emerging possibilities in education. “

Breathe: A Vision and Framework for Human-Centered Learning Environments (available on Amazon) This 14,000 – 15,000 word book introduces the world to the concepts that inform my 12-year personal strategic plan, focused upon offering a new framework for shifting education away from the priorities and values of industrial thinking to a more hopeful and humane way of thinking, teaching, and learning.

“Much of the modern education system is built upon values like standardization, efficiency, mass production, quantification, mechanization, and technology. These priorities play an important role in modern education and society, yet none are capable of drawing learners into meaning-rich, authentic, engaging, and transformational learning experiences. For that, we must turn to the best of ancient knowledge and modern research. In this book, Dr. Bernard Bull offers a vision and framework for human-centered learning environments that prioritize deeply human phenomena like adventure, agency, compassion, connectedness, experimentation, play, mastery, growth, meaning, purpose, wonder, and mystery.”

Adventures in Self-Directed Learning– In this book I draw from over a decade of research to build a case for the importance of nurturing agency, ownership, and a capacity for self-education in learners. I seek to cast a vision for education in a connected age, offers readers a collection of practical suggestions for how to get started, and also works through common challenges and pitfalls. This is suggested for anyone who believes that education should equip learners to fully embrace the challenges and opportunities of life and learning in the contemporary world.

This book represents one of my efforts to take lessons from the the fully self-directed learning schools with my traditional or legacy schools. The end results is a guide for how any teacher or school and nurture more learner agency and self-direction.

What Really Matters: 10 Critical Issues in Contemporary Education – This book offers insight into my own philosophy of education, suggesting 10 critical issues for our consideration in the modern education system.

” What really matters in education? Amid headlines about standardized test scores, global rankings of students from different countries, technology-enhanced learning, the unreasonable costs of higher education, and preparing the workforce of tomorrow, what really matters? If we want to pursue education reform and improvements that truly benefit the lives of current and future students, where should we focus our efforts? In What Really Matters?, Dr. Bernard Bull draws from over twenty years of research and experience to offer ten issues that truly matter if we are going to create rich, meaningful, rewarding, engaging, and impactful learning organizations that are rooted in the best ideas of the past while preparing people for the challenges and opportunities of the present and future. This is a text for educators, school leaders, community members, parents, students, policymakers, and others who aspire to move from educational buzzwords to some of the most important educational challenges and opportunities of our age. ”

The Pedagogy of Faith – My first attempt at an edited work, this is a gift to the Lutheran education system that was so important in my formative years.

“How do you teach the faith at church and school—not just in religion or confirmation class—but at every opportunity throughout the day? Written by Concordia University professors who equip future church workers, The Pedagogy of Faith is a unique textbook for college and university courses.

Topics include teaching and modeling the faith, keeping Christ crucified as the focus, rightly dividing Law and Gospel in the classroom, justification and sanctification, writing and presenting devotions and lessons, faith acquisition and expression in human development, ministers of religion: ordained and commissioned, congregational life, recruiting/retaining volunteers, encouraging parents as transmitters of the faith, and much more.”

Digitized – Over a decade, I gave over 50 keynote presentations on themes related to the social, ethical, and spiritual implications of technology in society. This book summarizes some of my thoughts and ideas from that time…also a gift to the church body that was so important to me, and the one to which I still belong.

“There is no one untouched by technology in our modern culture. Pastors, teachers, and families are looking for ways to understand how technology influences our relationships, our families, our churches, and our faith lives. Digitized articulates how everyone is affected and what Christians can do in response.

Author Dr. Bernard Bull provides a systematic analysis of 12 characteristics of life in a technological world, 12 challenges that everyone faces, followed by 12 practical next steps for faith and life in this connected and technological world.”

Prep Talks: Tales of Challenges and Opportunities in Christian Education – Another gift to the Lutheran education system and an experiment in using fictional case studies to explore sensitive and critical issues, I co-authored this with two colleagues at Concordia University Wisconsin.

” Inspired by real-world events and experiences – real-world challenges – Prep Talks is a collection of fictional accounts that address critical issues in contemporary education, providing school leaders with studies they can use for professional staff development so educations can better prepare for and address the challenges of being a Christian school in the modern world. Includes discussion questions intended for use in a group setting. ”

Imagine the Possibilities: Conversations on the Future of Christian Education – Drawing from my training in ethnographic research, this co-authored book is a collection of case studies, each chapter telling the story of a distinct type of Christian school, highlighting the myriad of ways in which their shared mission can be pursued and achieved.

“Many Christian schools are struggling to survive and make sense of what it means to be faithful to their unchanging mission while reaching and serving a wide array of young people and families. There are a broad range of models for Christian education – from online schools to community-based homeschooling to classical schools – and looking at different models can inform and inspire fellow Christian educators.

Imagine the Possibilities looks at 11 models of Christian education, giving a brief history of each of the 11 schools, and then diving into the school’s features, struggles, and visions for the future. By looking at these varied models, new and seasoned educators alike will develop a sense of what their own school could look like in the future.”