Teachers do more than just teach. They’re also asked to be social workers, a medical triage team, psychologists, and more. It also falls on teachers to record the issues of kids with special
needs in their classrooms, often hours after such issues have occurred. This data may only then make it to parents and administrators weeks or months later, resulting in more pressure on teachers and inadequate data to appropriately address issues.
In 2018, Nikody Keating launched mytaptrack to help teachers quickly and easily track the issues of kids with special needs. Rather than manually filling out reports, the teacher only has to click a button, and the issue is recorded, tracked, and appropriate people are immediately notified of behavioral issues.
“The concept is simple: make it easier for teachers to track symptoms and behaviors, and give school psychologists, administrators, and parents precise information about what’s going on in the classroom,” says Nikody Keating. “With a simple IoT device backed by the power of AWS, we take the burden off of teachers and give everyone access to the right data.”
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Nikody Keating, the founder of mytaptrack, is an experienced AWS engineer and built mytaptrack as a purely serverless solution on AWS using AWS IoT Core, Lambda, S3, and DynamoDB. When a teacher clicks the button, information is sent over HTTPS to AWS IoT, which invokes Lamba, takes the info inputted from the device, adds time context and puts it in an SQS queue for processing. A Lambda function on the other side picks up the SQS message and directs it to DynamoDB. AWS SageMaker (Random Cut Forest Algorithm) is used to identify anomalies and distinguish between normal and non-normal behavioral patterns. If a user has requested to be notified of a change in behavior, then the system sends an SNS message to Lambda for more context, and then sends a notification to the user.
In order to protect users’ data, Keating ensured data that tracks the frequency of occurrences doesn’t have access to the students’ personal identifying information (PII), and only comes together in the front-end of the application when a user accesses their dashboard. Even SageMaker uses numerical data, and no system can pull together the full picture.
Although the system was secure, Keating wanted to ensure that the solution met HIPAA compliance requirements. So he engaged Logicworks, an AWS Premier Partner that is HIPAA and HITRUST CSF Certified, to help him meet compliance requirements.
“Our system contains kids’ health data, so we wanted to meet HIPAA standards,” Keating says. “AWS’s services got us part of the way to HIPAA compliance, but we needed a partner for monitoring. As a startup with a serverless solution, it didn’t make sense to hire a full-time person. We needed a partner with security and HIPAA compliance expertise who was also familiar with serverless architectures.”
Keating chose Logicworks because they were willing to be flexible and meet the unique challenges of a serverless solution.
“Logicworks combines expertise in security and compliance and flexibility to adapt to our unique requirements. That’s a rare combination in an AWS partner,” says Keating. “Logicworks’ first reaction to the project was, ‘That’s really interesting. Let’s investigate and see what we can do.’ Other partners weren’t willing to adapt their rigid practices to our requirements. They were also able to give us an estimate that was affordable for a startup that’s just getting started.”
The first step was for Logicworks engineers to assess the logging solution. An experienced serverless engineer at Logicworks set up Amazon Macie, a cloud security tool that tracks the typical pattern of user access. If user access patterns deviate dramatically, then both the security team and Logicworks are alerted. Logicworks also set up restrictions on encryption and decryption. If a user were to gain access, mytaptrack would reduce the amount of data that can be exposed and shut down access to the encryption keys if data needs to be protected.
After the onboarding phase, Logicworks assumed responsibility for 24×7 monitoring. The Logicworks Network Operation Center support team helps evaluate and escalate any alerts and guarantees issues are resolved rapidly.
As a result of working with Logicworks, Keating and his team can focus on adding additional features to mytaptrack, instead of 24×7 AWS maintenance.
“Logicworks’ 24×7 support makes us confident that we meet the highest security standards,” says Keating. “Combined with a serverless architecture and the machine learning-based monitoring and alerting solution, we significantly reduce the risk of ePHI data exposure.”
mytaptrack was named “2019 Classroom Tech Solution of the Year” by EdTech Breakthrough Awards. The award highlights the urgent need for more creative solutions to help the more than 7 million children with special needs in the U.S.