Quickfires Explained

What is a Quick Fire Challenge?

Through the Window

The Quickfire Challenge is something that has been developing over the past 3 summers during my teaching with the overseas Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at MSU.  For the past 3 summers I have co-taught “year 3”: CEP 807, CEP 817 and CEP 818.

The idea is not original, it was inspired by the reality competition show, Top Chef. (As you may be able to tell by some of the posts on my blog, I’m very interested in the Culinary Arts.)  In a nutshell, in each episode, the chefs are challenged to cook a dish with certain constraints (i.e. ingredients, themes) within a tight time frame.  As I watched the show, I thought, mmmm, I should remix/co-opt this for my teaching!

A few people have asked me for examples — here are a few quick ones:

“Living Words”
(Individual Quickfire)
(goal: think beyond the tool)
In 30 minutes

You will be given a word – use FONTS ONLY to create an image conveys the idea of that word (use any image editor you are comfortable using.)

Post to our Flickr group

“you light up my life”
(Group Quickfire)
(goal: understanding lighting & your video camera)
In 1 1/2 hours:

Using your video/flip camera artistically shoot an object in:
fluorescent light
window light
low light

experimental light

I’m always looking for new ideas for the Quickfires — before heading off to teach this summer, I was inspired by the “Jing Speed Series.” I thought — we can do this! Wouldn’t it be great to use a new technology (jing) and practice a skill (screencasting) in the Quickfire format?  The result exceeded my expectations…we were featured on the JingProject and TechSmith Education blogs.  (Click through to see their work!) My students saw the potential of their work extending way beyond the classroom…it was extremely exciting for me as this embodied many of the social and collaborative ideas we were exploring.

Haiku Stop Motion

Students were given a haiku and asked to interpret the haiku through a 30 second stop motion video.  They had 2 hours (plus a little time at lunch) to produce the video. Here is one example:

I am very touched that one of our recent graduates liked the Quickfire idea so much, that he created the MAET Challenge Ning to allow anyone to participate in a challenge –  – What a great opportunity to join a PLN (Personal Learning Network.)
As I have improved the Quickfire challenges (with the assistance of my teaching partners and the students) it has become a great tool for introducing intimidating topics, reducing inhibition and inspiring creativity. This has inspired me to do more (pedagogical) thinking around the Quickfire Challenges — stay tuned for more!

With this teaser…do you think you could use Quickfires in your teaching? Give me some examples!

p.s. The picture at the top of the page was our last Quickfire Challenge of the summer inspired by the Instax Windows Pool on Flickr — Check out some of our #maet examples here.