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Spikey Workloads - AWS Symposium 2014 - Washington D.C. - Partner Presentation - Code.org

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One of the best use cases for the cloud involves websites with surges in computing needs. This session will feature two organizations that have leveraged the cloud to handle their unique burst …

One of the best use cases for the cloud involves websites with surges in computing needs. This session will feature two organizations that have leveraged the cloud to handle their unique burst workloads without breaking the bank: The National Novel Writing Month project (aka “Nanowrimo”) and Code.org’s Hour of Code.

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  • 1. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 NaNoWriMo: 20 Billion Words (and Counting) Dave Beck dave_beck@nanowrimo.org
  • 2. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Pop Quiz: What is This? A. Mount Everest B. NaNoWriMo’s November user sessions C. The iceberg that sank the Titanic
  • 3. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Pop Quiz: Answer A. Mount Everest Hah! Most of you guessed B, right?
  • 4. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 NaNoWriMo Traffic Fluctuations: Steeper than Everest
  • 5. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 What is NaNoWriMo? National Every November, hundreds of thousands of writers gather virtually and in-person to write 50,000 words each. Novel Writing Month
  • 6. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 It All Started in 1999… Our founder, Chris Baty, challenged 20 over-caffeinated friends to write 50,000 words each in a single month. Six of them finished.
  • 7. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Explosive Growth
  • 8. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 NaNoWriMo Now Four important web properties • NaNoWriMo Main • The Young Writers Program • Camp NaNoWriMo • NaNoWriMo Store
  • 9. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 November in Detail • Nov 1: ~500k sessions as people begin • All month: ~50k forum posts per day • Nov 30: Last chance to post word counts
  • 10. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Annual Site Crash • Every year from 2003 to 2011 the site would crash on November 1. • In 2012 we migrated the sites to Amazon Web Services. • The result: No more outages! • Naturally, this is how our participants reacted…
  • 11. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Outrage! They wanted the site to crash; it was considered a rite of passage. Oh well.
  • 12. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Keeping NaNoWriMo Online • Ruby on Rails on EC2 instances running Debian “Wheezy” • MySQL on RDS instances • Domains and subdomains on Route 53 • Image assets on S3 instances • Other technologies: Puppet, Vermeer, Resque, Sphinx
  • 13. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 The Year in Instances
  • 14. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Next Steps • Considering moving our email systems to SES • Move from an event-based model to a year-round model (so our usage isn’t so low in the off-season) • Unify databases and codebases • Simplify, simplify, simplify
  • 15. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 A Final Pitch: Go Novel! • Build your confidence: Writing a whole novel encourages self-discipline, self-belief, and mental toughness • Find your tribe: NaNoWriMo is 690 regional groups and thousands of sub-communities of passionate writers working together world-wide • Have ridiculous fun “As a child, I was extremely shy, and it wasn’t until I did NaNoWriMo that I found my tribe. Quite literally, I would not be able to speak in public if not for NaNoWriMo.” -- Kira Del Mar, teacher, author, and NaNoWriMo winner
  • 16. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Thank You Dave Beck dave_beck@nanowrimo.org
  • 17. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Hour of Code: Scaling Quickly to Teach Next Gen Computer Science Cameron Wilson cameron@code.org
  • 18. @code.org #hourofcode
  • 19. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Our Vision: every school everystudent
  • 20. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 The Challenge for the 21st Century
  • 21. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 What is Computer Science?
  • 22. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Source -- Code.org analysis of BLS 2010-2020 employment projections (we have not yet analyzed the BLS 2012-2022 projections released at the end of December). Projected New Jobs in STEM
  • 23. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 CS is Fundamental • This is fundamental knowledge for the 21st Century • Two trends: – Faster computing – Cheaper storage • Personalized everything “Knowledge of computer programming is as important as knowledge of anatomy when it comes to medical research or clinical care” Larry Corey, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • 24. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 AP Participation Of this tiny sliver, only 15% are women. Only 8% are Hispanic Americans or African Americans.
  • 25. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Educate Advocate Celebrate Bring CS education to all K-12 schools in the US. Remove legislative barriers to broader CS education in US. Combat stereotypes preventing more students from studying CS.
  • 26. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Celebrate • Change attitudes toward computer science • Address stereotypes: • “Only white males can learn computer science.” • “You have to be a math genius to learn to code.” • Leverage celebrity (videos, social media) • Host annual “Hour of Code” to introduce kids to CS
  • 27. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Celebrate - Hour of Code • Started with a simple idea: Can we get every school in the US to at least try one hour of code for their students? • External Call to Action: 10 million students to take an Hour of Code online • Internal Goal: 3 million will actually do it.
  • 28. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Celebrate - Hour of Code Results: • 38 million students have participated. Still growing one student per second! • +15,000 teachers polled; 97% said it was "good" or "great" and asked us to do it again next year. • Follow-on 20-hour on-line/unplugged course for K-8 already has 26,000 teachers, 1.2 million students. ~10% completion rate
  • 29. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014
  • 30. “Best educational product I’ve ever come across” – Marc Bodnick, parent “I have NEVER, EVER seen my students so excited about learning” – Michael Clark, teacher 65,000 tweets for #HourOfCode
  • 31. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 How Did We Do It -- Partners Particularly: • Microsoft • Google • NSF • ECS • CSTA • NCWIT • ACM And: our teachers
  • 32. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 How Did We Do It - Plan • Recruiting: • Every teacher in the country got multiple e-mails • Prizes: • Incentives for schools to sign up to participate (cheap for us, massively scalable) • Viral: • Direct to teachers and teacher-to-teacher spread
  • 33. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 How Did We Do It – Cloud/Platform • Blended learning • Making it easy for school is critical • Making it fun for students equally critical • Using AWS platform • Response time for blended platform critical • Scalability for discrete event (Computer Science Education Week launch) critical • Dealing with multiple partners and multiple tutorials • Engineering team partitioned servers for front end (read) and back end (write) to optimize delivery • Even at spike from 0 to 20 million during the week, we realized that that partitioning was optimized so well, we spun down AWS instances
  • 34. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Educate • Work directly with schools & school districts to introduce computer science curriculum • Elementary: – Blended courses – unplugged classroom projects + online • Middle: – Curriculum for middle-school math & science using CS • High school: – Exploring CS & AP CS Principles • Code.org provides professional development workshops at all level • More information, see: http://code.org/educate/districts
  • 35. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Thoughts on blended learning The holy grail: Learning CAN feel like a game • We can make teachers’ lives MUCH easier • Web-based models significantly reduce IT hassle BUT, we have a LOT to learn – Bridging traditional curriculum -> game-design – Evaluating results: traditional evaluation or web analytics – Amazing new opportunities (wealth of data, usage at scale)
  • 36. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Thoughts on blended learning The holy grail: Learning CAN feel like a game We can make teacher’s lives MUCH easier
  • 37. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Advocate – Make CS to Count! Nine states finalized similar policies 18 months year: • Alabama (Math) • Maryland (Math) • Tennessee (Math) • Kentucky (Math) • Arizona (Math) • Florida (Math) • Washington (Math/Science) • Wisconsin (Math) • Illinois (Math) Rep. Drew Hansen (WA): “In Spokane, we’ve seen AP CS enrollment double because we now count AP CS as math or science, rather than as an elective.”
  • 38. AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium Washington, DC | June 24, 2014 - June 26, 2014 Thank You Cameron Wilson cameron@code.org