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Edmodo Scaled 1,500% to Meet Student Needs Globally on AWS

2021

Edmodo scaled to meet a 1,500 percent increase in the number of users and developed its largest software-as-a-service offering in just 5 months on AWS. In spring 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global education technology company had to scale rapidly but didn’t have enough internal resources to meet demands, which included a request from the Egyptian Ministry of Education to provide remote learning options for 20 million users. By using AWS Professional Services, Amazon CloudFront, and Amazon EC2, Edmodo was able to meet demand on a tight schedule, continuing to deliver high-quality learning services to 140 million users worldwide.

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The support of the AWS SDK team and the innovative work of the AWS Professional Services team enabled us to find a solution to meet the project deadline without changing any code."

Darian Patchin
Vice President of Marketing, Edmodo

Edmodo, a global online education technology company, saw a 1,500 percent increase in the number of users over just a few weeks in spring 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Soon various ministries of education were reaching out to Edmodo, including the Egyptian Ministry of Education, which engaged Edmodo to provide remote learning solutions to its 20 million students, parents, and teachers. To meet demand, Edmodo had to scale rapidly.

The company had already gone all in on Amazon Web Services (AWS), so Edmodo turned to AWS Professional Services, which helps businesses achieve desired outcomes on AWS and delivers focused guidance. Using the technical support of AWS Professional Services and the ability to deploy services quickly on AWS, Edmodo was able to launch a solution for Egypt from the AWS Middle East (Bahrain) Region in only 5 months. In addition to the Egypt project, Edmodo used AWS to handle the exponential growth in user numbers globally.

Transitioning for Global Growth

Founded in 2008, Edmodo offers an online learning management system that serves over 140 million students, teachers, and parents, helping users connect with the people and resources they need to succeed. “Teachers can chat with their students, leave messages, and post assignments. Students can upload their homework, take quizzes, and more,” says Darian Patchin, vice president of marketing for Edmodo. “It’s also a community where teachers can communicate with other teachers through a variety of groups. In some ways, it’s almost a social network with learning management system capabilities.”

In 2020, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommended Edmodo as a preferred digital learning management system. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we saw a tremendous increase in the usage of Edmodo globally,” says Patchin. “More than that, several ministries of education reached out asking Edmodo to provide countrywide solutions to support rapid expansion of virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for the return to learning in September.” The most significant request came from Egypt, which was seeking remote learning options for its entire student body. This request prompted Edmodo to work toward quickly scaling up a solution in a nearby AWS data center in Bahrain.

Edmodo has counted on AWS from its beginning, using cloud-based architecture and services such as Amazon CloudFront, a fast content delivery network service, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service providing secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Because of this, Edmodo already had much of the needed infrastructure in place to handle a spike in usage as its current customers transitioned to learning fully online. “Using Amazon EC2 instances, we’ve been able to quickly increase site capacity by 15 times to continue to provide teachers and students with uninterrupted access to our solutions for their distance learning needs,” says Patchin. “Having AWS always at our fingertips gives us elastic and robust compute capacity to scale rapidly.” However, the Edmodo team was already providing support to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the added scope of the new project with the Egyptian Ministry of Education was more than the team could handle alone. So the Edmodo leadership team asked AWS Professional Services to help Edmodo support current customers and deliver these new projects simultaneously and without compromising service delivery and performance.

Overcoming Challenges Using AWS Professional Services

By consulting the AWS Professional Services team, Edmodo was able to overcome obstacles during the project. At one point, the Edmodo team discovered that it was using an outdated software development kit (SDK) that wasn’t compatible with the Bahrain site. Without delay, the AWS Professional Services team opened three high-priority tickets to the AWS SDK team, which quickly found a solution. “The support of the AWS SDK team and the innovative work of the AWS Professional Services team enabled us to find a solution to meet the project deadline without changing any code,” says Patchin.

During the launch, Edmodo also experienced a challenge of replicating application data. Though it was outside the scope of the project, the AWS team recommended a solution, thus enabling Edmodo to proceed with the project. “The AWS team members rolled up their sleeves and came up with a solution quickly,” Patchin says. In the end, the Edmodo team completed the project for the Egyptian Ministry of Education in just 5 months, and it was ready to go by the time students returned to school in September.

AWS continues to play a critical role in keeping Edmodo up and running. “Our whole environment, from development to quality assurance to production, is built on AWS,” says Patchin. “It enables us to have a cross-region operation and is essential to supporting our business as we see opportunities to expand globally.” Using AWS also enabled Edmodo to accelerate certain product features so that the company could launch the site on time and remain within budget. “AWS maintained full transparency when it came to implementation and design while also providing effective solutions,” Patchin says, adding that it felt like the AWS team was a natural extension of his own team.

Using AWS enables Edmodo to continue providing high-quality learning services worldwide, no matter the circumstances. “The proximity of the AWS data center in Bahrain to our users in Egypt is going to improve the user experience,” says Patchin. “It will give us more capability to provide new features and products to our users in the Middle East and Asia. It offers us the ability to support future expansion to support teaching and learning globally.”

Opening the Door to New Opportunities

As a result of the Bahrain site and Edmodo’s work in Egypt in 2020, the ministries of education in several countries have approached Edmodo regarding new projects. “We are talking with more customers in that region because of that site,” says Patchin. “It’s opened up tons of new opportunities for us.”

AWS solutions and the AWS Professional Services team made it possible for Edmodo to rapidly scale, meeting a 1,500 percent increase in demand along with building record-size software-as-a-service offerings on a tight schedule. “The AWS Professional Services team showed its commitment and technical excellence in helping us reach our goal,” Patchin says.


About Edmodo

Edmodo is a global education network that gives teachers the tools to share engaging lessons, keep parents updated, and build a vibrant classroom community. Founded in 2008, Edmodo now has more than 140 million users.

Benefits of AWS

  • Provides service to 140 million users
  • Maintains a global presence
  • Scaled by 1,500%
  • Built software-as-a-service product for 20 million users in 5 months

AWS Services Used

AWS Professional Services

The AWS Professional Services organization is a global team of experts that can help you realize your desired business outcomes when using the AWS Cloud.

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Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.

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Amazon EC2

Amazon EC2 is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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