Knowt Builds Online Education App on AWS to Help Students and Teachers
Fast-growing educational technology startup Knowt developed an app to change the way students and teachers study and create assessments. Using a powerful algorithm and artificial intelligence, the app quickly and automatically converts notes from students and teachers into quizzes and flash cards. The original version of the app was born in 2016, just after Knowt CEO Abheek Pandoh graduated high school. In school, he and Knowt cofounder Daniel Like saw an opportunity to improve the way that students study by generating study materials from students’ written notes. The company started building an app for Android and soon expanded to iOS and the web.
However, by 2018, the startup had noticed an area in need of improvement. It found that many users didn’t just want to create their own notes and flash cards; they also wanted to study from materials that others had already created. To better serve these users, Knowt began a major shift toward crowdsourcing notes and sharing study materials. “We wanted to be a one-stop shop for notes, quizzes, and flash cards,” says Pandoh. “We had to start focusing on sharing content.” It was at this point that Knowt decided to go all in on Amazon Web Services (AWS), engaging AWS EdStart, an educational technology startup accelerator, for support and expertise. “The AWS EdStart team knew the best ways to build the product we wanted to build,” says Abhi Patel, chief operating officer at Knowt. “We were able to solve challenges quickly and meet our release timeline.”
By using AWS Amplify and GraphQL APIs on AWS AppSync, we streamlined the whole development process. Using these AWS services has made building in the cloud very simple.”
Chief Operating Officer, Knowt
Increasing Agility and Scale on Serverless Architecture
Meanwhile, AWS Amplify handles account creation, user authentication, and account management in the Knowt app. Using AWS Amplify, Knowt was able to accelerate the development of sign-up, sign-in, and other common workflows in the application and deliver a better experience to users. Using the simplicity of GraphQL APIs and the performance of AWS, Knowt was able to develop and deploy rapidly. “By using AWS Amplify and GraphQL APIs on AWS AppSync, we streamlined the whole development process,” says Patel. “Using these AWS services has made building in the cloud very simple.” In just 6 months, the startup launched the new version of its app.
Improving Quiz- and Flash Card–Generation Speed with Machine Learning on AWS
Continuing to Grow and Innovate in the Cloud
As Knowt expanded its cloud infrastructure, it made another major shift: the company launched a full online learning management system for educators. “Teachers can use Knowt to create assignments from their notes instantly,” says Pandoh. When students complete assignments on Knowt, their grades immediately appear in the teacher’s dashboard. “We’re focused on making the online classroom better,” says Pandoh. “We want to help teachers create online assignments with ease.” With over 4,000 active monthly users—a number that is quickly growing—Knowt is focused on adding more content to its database. It launched the KnowtTakers program, which lets students earn volunteer hours or money for contributing new notes to the service. The community has over 200 participants creating notes for over 60 textbooks.
In the spring of 2021, Knowt released its newest app update. “After we launched the latest version, the AWS team had lots of innovative ideas that we’d like to implement,” says Patel. In addition to building competitive new features, the company plans to focus on further expanding its content library. It has already begun adding content based on textbooks to help students find notes from the materials they use in class. “We’ve evolved the app several times and changed a lot of its core features,” says Pandoh. “Now we’ve established the right solution on AWS.”
Benefits of AWS
- Increased algorithm speed using artificial intelligence
- Accessed data quickly using scalable GraphQL APIs
- Improved performance of its mobile and web applications
- Helps users share notes, quizzes, and flash cards
- Grew user base by 35%—from 20,000 to 27,000 accounts
- Made user content fully searchable
- Deployed online learning management system
AWS Services Used
AWS EdStart, the AWS educational technology (EdTech) startup accelerator, is designed to help entrepreneurs build the next generation of online learning, analytics, and campus management solutions on the AWS Cloud.
AWS Amplify is a set of tools and services that can be used together or on their own, to help front-end web and mobile developers build scalable full stack applications, powered by AWS.
AWS AppSync is a fully managed service that makes it easy to develop GraphQL APIs by handling the heavy lifting of securely connecting to data sources like AWS DynamoDB, Lambda, and more.
Amazon SageMaker helps data scientists and developers to prepare, build, train, and deploy high-quality machine learning (ML) models quickly by bringing together a broad set of capabilities purpose-built for ML.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS Cloud journey today.