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Gamifying math education: How Prodigy uses AWS to scale and process 20 million questions daily

Prodigy Game (Prodigy) has a mission to help every child in the world love learning and make education freely available to students globally. Prodigy’s math game – geared toward learners in the first to eighth grade – allows students to hone their math skills with questions delivered according to their individual needs. Teachers are able to see and track students’ progress and measure their performance over time. Educators also have the ability to tailor in-game content for their students to reinforce concepts, help students study for tests, and provide supplemental education resources. The game is free to students, educators, and parents, but parents can opt to purchase a membership to enhance their child’s gaming experience.

Prodigy has over two million daily active users, with a total user base of over 700,000 teachers and 50 million students. During an active school day, the EdTech can expect anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 concurrent users accessing the platform, processing upwards of 20 million answers a day. With a growing global user base, Prodigy relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to elastically scale to meet its spikes in demand.

How AWS helps Prodigy to scale and innovate

Adam Delyea, operations lead at Prodigy, says the EdTech was previously using Microsoft Azure. As their user base grew, so did the strain on their ability to handle the increasing demands. Delyea recounts, “We had been using a custom built event system that would track all of the answers we received, but this method had reached its limitations. We decided to transition to Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose and Amazon API Gateway to collect our data. Implementing this instantly fixed our scaling problems. Using AWS, we are now able to process upwards of 20 million answers a day. We wouldn’t be able to do that with our own custom system.”

Since migrating to AWS, Delyea says, “We no longer have to worry about recreating the wheel. Two years ago, we were running into bottlenecks in collecting and processing all of the answers we received. At that time, we processed about one to two million answers each day.”

Prodigy currently uses more than 30 AWS products and services, including but not limited to: Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, and Amazon GuardDuty. Delyea says using AWS helps Prodigy better deliver on its core mission, “AWS takes away the complexities for our team so that we can operate lean and focus on what we do best. We don’t have to spend time worrying about the infrastructure. This takes a lot of the day-to-day stress away for us, and let’s us focus on our mission.” Switching to AWS has helped Prodigy attract top talent. Delyea notes, “Many DevOps and operations candidates are familiar with AWS. That makes hiring and training a lot easier and less time consuming for us.”

In the future, Prodigy has plans to expand its educational platform beyond the world of math into other subjects.

Read more stories about EdTechs powered by AWS.