What’s more American than baseball? What’s more Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) than a quickfire? Here in the world of MAET, we love ideating, creating, and polishing our work to perfection (or as close as we can), but we also love to brainstorm challenges and create the best solution possible under certain constraints. Thus enter the MAET Quickfire Challenge.
Here’s a quick history of quickfires within MAET:
- Originating from a creative twist on the TV show, Top Chef, former MAET Director, Leigh Graves Wolf developed this playful and purposeful approach while directing the MAET Overseas experience.
- The Quickfire idea was brought to the MAET Hybrid, and eventually online, experience.
- In 2014, MAET launched the MSU-WIPRO STEM and Leadership Teaching Fellowship with Chicago Public Schools and the pedagogical approach of quickfires evolved as a pivotal component of the fellowship experience.
- Leigh Graves Wolf has continued to do research on quickfires. We look forward to her publication about them soon!
Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect in an MAET quickfire:
- Constraints! You might not have enough time, information, materials, or resources. By constraining one (or more) factors, our goal is to push learners to think differently or more creatively in ways they may not expect.
- Variety! No two quickfires are the same and no two results are the same. Because of the creative tasks which we design to be context- or course-dependent, we always expect (and receive) different results.
- Rapid ideation. Quickfires are quick and require learners to rely on work and ideas that aren’t fully polished and fleshed out.
- Risk taking. With quick and constrained comes risks. The results won’t be perfect, but they help learners practice tasking small risks and building up their academic risk-taking tolerance.
MAET students can and will experience quickfires in
- CEP 800 as they produce their vision of what learning is
- CEP 805 as they consider what pedagogical strategies could align with a particular mathematics lessons
- CEP 810 as they “cook with TPACK” to experience the TPACK Framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) in the kitchen
- CEP 812 as they explore questions and wicked problems
- CEP 818 as they define creativity
- CEP 833 as they experience various pedagogical approaches and platforms for teaching K-12 Computer Science concepts
And now, to bring this full-circle, what you are reading is a result of a quickfire!
MAET Program staff – Candace Robertson, Liz Owens Boltz, and Brittany Dillman – have been leveraging the quickfire mentality to write this blog post (and all others from 2021). Like many of you, we’ve found it difficult to devote dedicated chunks of time to our work and we were wanting to blog more frequently. So, here’s what we do to write blog posts in fun quick ways:
- Create and open a Google Doc that we all have access to
- Come up with 3 topics of blog posts
- Each writer takes 1 blog post topic to start and we write for 10 minutes
- We rotate and continue to write (and edit and revise) the second blog post for 7 minutes
- We rotate and continue to write (and edit and revise) the third blog post for 5 minutes
- We rotate and polish up the original post we drafted for 3 minutes.
This leaves us with well-written (not perfect) blog posts to share with you. We sometimes have more rounds (if we have time) or less time per round (if we don’t).
Quickfire Challenges are carefully crafted to impose time constraints, give specific, yet vague directions, embed tangible outcomes, all the while keeping learning at the core. By experiencing failure (and success) in this format, participants begin to rediscover the joy and creativity necessary to spark engagement in curriculum development and delivery. (Robertson, 2018)
So, to bring you this blog post (and others), we constrained time, employed variety, ideated rapidly, and took risks. How could you use a quickfire with your colleagues or learners this week? Share quickfire ideas with us on Twitter @MAET or #MAET.
Graves Wolf, L. (2009, August 19). Quickfires explained [Blog Post]. LeighGravesWolf.com. http://www.leighgraveswolf.com/2009/08/19/quickfires-explained/
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.
Robertson, C. (2018, March 27). SITE 2018 Recap — The quickfire challenge roundtable: How to fail fast & learn while having fun [Blog Post]. CanRobertson.com.