Ready, Set, Create!


This single word has a powerful impact on one’s emotions.  Quickfires have been known to make me anxious, excited, frustrated, accomplished, and joyful.  A quickfire is:

A challenge + constraints + a time limit

Throughout the MAET program, we have completed multiple quickfires.  During a quickfire we are challenged to create something within a specific amount of time.  Usually we have a choice of tool or technology that we can use, however you have to choose quickly.  We are encouraged to try something new and push ourselves since we may have already used some of the tools listed.  These quickfire challenges have ranged from creating presentations to introduce ourselves, visuals of our PLNs, paper circuits, 3D classroom redesigns, word clouds, “Keep Calm and..” posters, screencasts, and more!

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My First Quickfire

I will never forget my first quickfire challenge on the first day of class.  We needed to create a five slide presentation through Haiku Deck to introduce ourselves using only 30 minutes, ready? Go!

In my head, I was already freaking out.  What is Haiku Deck? It has haiku in it. Please don’t tell me I have to write a poem about myself…How can I do this in 30 minutes?

My anxiety continued to increase as my laptop was not connecting to the MSU internet… perfect.  As I looked around the room, I saw everyone else already typing away.  I switched over to my new Galaxy tablet and finally reached the Haiku Deck homepage after about ten minutes.

haikudeckMore issues I faced:

  • My options were limited and I couldn’t change text colors.
  • I couldn’t view the full screen of the website so as I typed, words would disappeared into no-man’s land.

Even though I was proud that I had a finished product, it was not everything I wanted it to be.  Besides breaking a sweat in the first 30 minutes of class, I learned.  I learned how to navigate Haiku Deck, push myself, and to be okay with not being perfect.  This quickfire even inspired one of the activities in my lenses lesson plan.

Failure Leads to Success

Flash forward six weeks and I became a little bit more comfortable.  I would still feel myself stressing initially, but then I would start and get in the zone of creating.

There is no time to dilly-dally or overthink during a quickfire.  A quickfire demands split second decisions and immediate action.

Although I would say that all quickfires were a challenge (especially on my six year old laptop), the most challenging quickfire I completed was the classroom redesign.  I needed to use SketchUp to create a 3D classroom.  After downloading it on my computer, I had to switch because it kept freezing and moving super slow.

My Classroom View 1

The next two hours felt like an eternity.  I easily created walls and inserted furniture from the 3D Warehouse.  The big issues I faced were in “painting” pieces and rotating the furniture.  Rotations were impossible!  Right when I thought my whiteboard was on the wall I would switch my view of the room and it would be floating in the air.  During this quickfire I was frustrated, struggled, failed forward, and eventually found success.  My final product= Victory!

In the book, A More Beautiful Question, Berger states that every failure provides opportunity, “How do I learn from failure? The answer is, through questioning” (Berger, 2014).  We cannot be fearful of failure and run in the opposite direction.  We should be asking ourselves, “Why did the idea or effort fail?” (Berger, 2014).  We do not need perfection to be successful and quickfires are a great way to promote this.  The process of persevering through failure and mistakes is the path towards success.  Failure is just a stepping stone.  Reflect on your mistake, question, and move forward.

Even though I have a love-hate relationship with quickfires, I am a proud supporter.  As “there is no universal best teaching practice” (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000).  I encourage educators to bring quickfire challenges into their classrooms.

  1. There is no right answer: Quickfires are not about the finished product, but the knowledge learned and experience along the way.
  2. Failing forward moves you towards success: This helps build confidence.
  3. It is okay to not be perfect: Accepting this is important for many people to learn.
  4. Promotes risk taking: “Fear is the enemy of curiosity” (Berger, 2014).


Berger, W. (2014). A More Beautiful Question. New York: Bloomsbury.

Bransford, J., Brown, A.L. & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Retrieved from

All images are credited to Kelsey Masserant.


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