In 2013, Burke's took our ongoing work with cutting-edge education and created two dedicated maker spaces on campus — together, they're known collectively as the Makery. Each space is home to numerous supplies and technologies — including 3-D printers, laser cutters, and much more — perfect for the exact kind of tinkering and brainstorming that 21st-century learners need to master in order to solve the kinds of problems plaguing our society. After all, with all of the knowledge contained in all of the world's libraries accessible in the palm of your hand, students need to go further than rote memorization of facts. What are they going to do with that information?
And in the last four years, we've noticed something incredible: The spirit of the Makery has permeated through all grade levels and subject areas, broken out of its physical space and reached the far edges of the Burke's campus. Our students — and their teachers — feel free to try out their ideas and make mistakes, collaborate and work together, and be as creative as they can be, no matter what they happen to be studying at the time.
We call this effect the Makery Mindset.
The Makery Mindset has no fear. It begets projects that are culturally rich and customizable to reach any student, no matter her learning style. It brings students from different grades together to work on subjects they're all studying at the same time. It works on the floor, or outside, or inside a classroom with walls that come down at the snap of a finger.
This approach has caught the attention of thought leaders in education worldwide. Burke's has hosted educators from Singapore, Taiwan, and across the United States on campus, as they were looking to establish maker spaces of their own. Burke's teachers have presented at conferences such as #SXSWedu, the International Society for Technology in Education, and the National Association of Independent Schools. We have also caught the attention of media outlets near and far, including this video
by The Economist
, which chose Burke's Week of Code as the setting for its piece on CODE.org founder Hadi Partovi.
So while you can examine our curriculum strictly by grade level and subject area, that's not what we would recommend. Because at Burke's, there's no one set path from kindergarten through eighth grade. Students learn to be nimble and independent, and they graduate ready to take on whatever awaits them next.