Purdue Polytechnic High School introduces ‘ePortfolio Defense’ for students

by Allie Wigginton - April 23, 2020

What happens when you hand high school students the opportunity to work with an ePortfolio? CourseNetworking had the chance to find out. Purdue Polytechnic High School (PPHS), a competency-based high school in Indianapolis, IN, has been using CourseNetworking and utilizing ePortfolios for over two years. Recently, the staff and students of PPHS provided outstanding feedback to the CN on how their use of the CN ePortfolio affected the futures, learning outcomes, and overall engagement of their students.

Why ePortfolio?

Lacey Beatty, Coach (Instructor) at PPHS, discussed the school’s focus on ‘Passion Projects,’ where teachers focus on projects that they are passionate about to inspire students and spark innovation. For this type of project-based work, PPHS decided an ePortfolio would be a great fit. In addition, there were a few factors that came into play when the decision to use ePortfolios was made, one major reason, Beatty went on to say, “We learned that there were over 160 universities who would accept a portfolio, as a complement to a college application.”

CN ePortfolio provides the tools for students to showcase their strengths, experiences, and projects in a unique way. Beatty explained, “I really think that CN is a great platform for demonstrating what the students learn. Our tests are good assessments, but they don’t always indicate what a person, individually has learned, their growth, or the skills that they have attained during the course of that project.” Because the ePortfolio is such a great indicator of student learning, growth, and skill, PPHS decided to take it one step further.

The 'ePortfolio Defense'

In February 2020, the Purdue Polytechnic High School downtown location held its very first ePortfolio Defense. The ‘ePortfolio Defense’ concept was derived from the ‘Thesis Defense’ many masters programs require, in the way that PPHS expected their students to defend their ePortfolio in a presentation, in front of coaches, fellow students, and judges. The students presented their ePortfolio in a concise presentation, where they were tasked with showing the ePortfolio on the screen and answering five reflective questions. Students were required to display their showcases to the class as they may do in an interview and pick one to explain to the room. In addition, the students were required to define personal/professional goals, a wide variety of skills, and demonstrate growth from previous projects, discuss struggles along the way and obstacles they had overcome.

The students who participated in the ePortfolio Defense were graded on a rubric, and the winners were awarded gift cards courtesy of the CN Team.

PPHS ePortfolio Defense Presentations PPHS ePortfolio Defense Presentations

The winners were as follows:

1st Place Winner: Jairo (JG470)

2nd Place Winners: Jacy (JT578) and Soneya (ST729)

3rd Place Winners: Kayla (OK98), Wesley (LW398), and Nash (SN554)

The ongoing commitment to ePortfolio adoption and deep integration into the curriculum at PPHS has been inspiring. There is no doubt in the minds of the students or staff that PPHS students will have an advantage to future employers or universities with their comprehensive ePortfolios. At CN, we believe PPHS is a great use case of ePortfolio, and they have inspired other K-12 institutions to follow in their footsteps. If you’re interested in adopting CN ePortfolio at your K-12 school, college, university, or organization, please contact sales@coursenetworking.com.

In addition, we’d like to thank PPHS students, Wesley and Nash, from Low Expectations Studio for producing the following video interviewing Coach Lacey Beatty and their peers about CN ePortfolio. View the video here.

More thoughts from PPHS students

“The CN ePortfolio allows me to input my information in an easily readable way.”
- Jairo Garcia-Cruz, PPHS Junior

“My ePortfolio projects me in a professional and reliable manner. “Through the ePortfolio, I am able to keep all my projects and information in an organized manner.”
- Wesley Lance, PPHS Sophomore

“I have been able to see the growth within me and my school work as I have progressed with my ePortfolio.”
- Jacy Thomas, PPHS Junior