AWS Public Sector Blog

EdTechs address mental wellbeing to improve student achievement with the cloud

According to EdTech Magazine, at the height of the pandemic, 94 percent of educators agreed that students will need increased social and emotional support throughout the school year. While the 2020-2021 school year is over, the impact of the pandemic on students is not. There’s a renewed focus on social-emotional learning (SEL) support in the classroom, with educators looking for additional ways to help students be healthy and engaged in class. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, mentally healthy children are more successful in school and life, with research showing students who receive social-emotional support achieve better academically. Educators around the world are looking for solutions to support students with their health and wellbeing. Four AWS EdStart Members are addressing different aspects of SEL and helping to positively impact the student experience.

Administrators can measure SEL to enhance the classroom experience

EdTech Indigo Education Company provides a suite of tools enabling educators to differentiate instruction and personalize learning. Indigo’s program supports success, retention, and social-emotional health for students in middle school through college. To help students improve their wellbeing, they created the Indigo Assessment to measure behaviors, motivators, and SEL perceptions. Clara Quinlan, assistant principal at Peak to Peak High School, uses Indigo for a range of activities, including the development of behavioral seating charts to differentiate classroom assignments and identify groups of students who would benefit from further SEL support. Her high school staff uses the Indigo dashboard to meet each individual student where they are and empower them by maximizing their strengths, motivations, and skillsets. Using Indigo, administrators such as Clara have helped over 123,000 students across 28 states increase their self-confidence and self-awareness. Indigo uses Amazon CloudFront to deliver online courses and tutorial content to Vietnam, Colombia, China and the United States, while using Amazon Polly, Amazon Transcribe, and Amazon Translate to localize content for students. To help share data and learning outcomes with teachers and students, they use Amazon SageMaker to interpret the data that they collect. To help scale their business, Indigo joined the AWS EdStart program.

“Since joining the AWS EdStart program, we have migrated our production applications to Amazon Web Services (AWS), and built a new online course already used by over 3,000 students. We were able to launch a new product and try new services such as Amazon Translate to help us localize our online content into five additional languages, making our content more accessible to a broader range of students,” said Sheri Smith, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Indigo.

Students can use mobile apps to build habits that improve mental health

UniWellBeing digital platform brings together student engagement strategies, behavioral science, and evidence-based mental health methods to provide early intervention and promote action in students across the US, United Kingdom (UK), and Australia. UniWellBeing makes building healthy habits fun, combining social activities with resources to build coping skills and resilience, which results in healthier and more productive students. The platform delivers content in bite sized chunks through interactive tools, videos, and podcasts that enhance relaxation, focus, energy, mood, and productivity. Ninety-one percent of their students say UniWellBeing has helped them feel more informed about their wellbeing, with 80 percent of their students saying as a result of using UniWellBeing, they have taken positive steps to look after their wellbeing.

Data privacy for student health is critical and UniWelllBeing wanted to improve their security and infrastructure to meet the local data privacy laws in Australia, the UK, and the US. The team decided to migrate to AWS, and began using the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2),and the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), to help them achieve an ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation and begin adding additional features to their product.

“There was only one company that provided the necessary coverage and security, and that was AWS. As an AWS EdStart Member, the AWS EdStart team reviewed our existing infrastructure and enabled us to migrate quickly to AWS. Data security is critical, even more so when storing sensitive student data. Hosting on AWS has also helped us achieve ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation and win customers in new territories,” said Hugh Griffiths, founder and CEO of UniWellBeing

Parents can monitor the emotional wellbeing of their children

Code Shastra works with EdTechs to develop products based on the SEL needs of students. In 2019, the company began hosting educational workshops for students. Even though successful, the Code Shastra team wanted a scalable model to connect with the students on an emotional level while providing relevant trainings to children. As a result, the idea of Chalexa was born using Amazon Alexa. Chalexa is an intelligent-emotional chatbot for kids that interacts in a friendly way, providing guidance and mentorship. Students of all ages can access personalized support via their mobile devices. Using an artificial-intelligence (AI)-based engine, Chalexa measures mental and emotional wellbeing over time and alerts care providers to sudden changes in mood. Chalexa also helps with emotional adaptability and provides students a personalized curriculum.

Due to the availability, scalability, and wide variety of services available to develop their product, the Code Shastra team chose to build Chalexa on AWS.

“AWS has provided the necessary support, infrastructure, and platform for Code Shastra to achieve speed, scalability, and connections for our business. We’ve developed our entire app on AWS, and it’s our top platform choice. AWS provides us with the necessary on-demand availability, scalability, and robustness that we require. As AWS EdStart Members, apart from receiving AWS Promotional Credit to help with our initial costs, the program has enabled us to connect with other founders and enthusiasts alike,” said Abhay Dubey, founder of CodeShastra.

Academic researchers can implement no-code mental health app solutions

Cogniss is a no-code app builder used to create digital solutions to drive learning and behavior change. Cogniss has productized neuropsychological concepts and user experience (UX) best practices to enable anyone to build impactful apps without learning coding, UX design skills, or have formal training in behavioral sciences. Apart from making personalized, social and responsive solutions, Cogniss drastically reduces the time and cost required to develop an app, enabling education researchers to build powerful apps on limited and often grant driven budgets. Recently, Haley M. LaMonica, senior research fellow at the Brain and Mind Center at the University of Sydney, used Cogniss to build an app to asses cognitive functioning in adults. After working with Cogniss to determine that her end product aligned with her research objectives, she was able to successfully launch her app and work with her target audience. According to LaMonica, “Cogniss is a user friendly and cost-effective product that enabled me to develop an app to assess cognitive functioning in older adults with mild cognitive impairment in a fun and engaging manner. The Cogniss team is dedicated to improving health outcomes by supporting researchers to develop sophisticated and effective digital tools to solve real-world problems.”

 With personal health data being a core part of their product offering, Leon Young, founder and CEO of Cogniss, determined that trust was critical in determining a cloud provider and decided to build Cogniss on AWS and join the AWS EdStart program. AWS EdStart helped Young use AWS services to build the Cogniss Application Platform as a Service infrastructure and develop the skills needed to meet government, higher education, and corporate security and privacy requirements in multiple countries. According to Young, “AWS has allowed us to build a robust, scalable platform that can be rolled out securely in data centers across the globe. Being able to provision and manage our platform in those private clouds has allowed us to win government and university contracts.”

AWS EdStart helps entrepreneurs build the next generation of online learning, analytics, and campus management solutions in the AWS Cloud. Learn more about seven trends, including social emotional learning (SEL) in the newly published EdTech Startup Guide.

And if you’re a teacher, check out tips and tricks to gamify your classroom.

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