Due to COVID-19 the World is facing a teacher shortage like never before. Due to pandemic most teachers won’t stick around. In person classes have been replaced with online classes and some students are finding it hard to cope up with. Both of these factors are pushing towards a future of personalised learning for the children powered by AI & Machine Learning. This prompted us to solve a problem at scale, using the knowledge we have. Everybody knows that with the age of Instagram and Twitter our attention span and desire to retain information and knowledge has become more unforgiving. Let us suppose you want to learn about photosynthesis. If given an option between reading a book and watching an animated video on it what would you choose? It is fairly obvious that a large majority of us would choose to watch a video?

What if there was a way to convert any wikipedia page to an animated video? How does this video reach the students?

What it does

Izzy Learning Alexa Skill is an AI powered virtual teacher assistant that brings your classroom to your living room. To begin with the students and teacher register themselves on our website. The administrator of the educational institution then allots classrooms to all the students and assigns teachers to teach different courses & classrooms. The teachers can make animated videos, create assignments, prepare quizzes and view student performances using our web portal. After connecting their account to their Alexa Skill the students can ask Alexa about their homework and also keep track of how well they performed in the previous quizzes. To clarify let us take an example.

Mrs. Taylor is a teaches students history at a school. For the next lesson she wants her students to study U.S. Presidents. She logs in at to create a new video assignment on Abraham Lincoln

  1. She gives a name to the assignment, in this case Abraham Lincoln
  2. She picks a deadline date
  3. Allots it to a classroom(12-A) & a course(History)
  4. Gives a Wikipedia page name to fetch the text from
  5. Choose 4-5 images
  6. Clicks Generate Video

She is now redirected to the Questionnaire Builder, where she is presented with a set of questions that have been automatically generated using advanced Natural Language Processing techniques. Not only that, the wrong options for each of these multiple choice questions are also generated alongside. While Mrs. Taylor reviews all the questions, the video is processed in the background, as soon as the video is created, Mrs. Taylor is notified.Here is a link to the final video Mrs. Taylor has this highly functional tool at her disposal that creates quality animated video with animations at the click of button.MCQs generated using advanced Natural Language Processing techniques like Neural Question Generation help in faster creation of assignments, as the teachers don't have to think of wrong answers or form questions. After editing the questions, the teacher publishes the assignment. The published assignments can now be taken by the students either by logging in to the web portal or through the Alexa Skill. One of her students Max, opens the skill to check if he is has got anything due for the week. Max is informed that he has an assignment on Abraham Lincoln due in the forthcoming week. Alexa plays the A.I. generated video first, and then asks 8 questions on Abraham Lincoln's life. He gets 5 out of 8 correct.

Once the deadline for the assignment is reached Mrs. Taylor can assess the performance of all her students.

How I built it

Izzy Alexa Skill

Account linking is done using AWS Cognito User pools. The skill is built using nodejs following all the Voice Design principles. To make the skill more lively we have used APL for our screen.All the pages are responsive and built using Alexa layouts to get a uniform visual experience across all devices and shapes. The Video component uses AlexaTransportControls for the pause/play functionality. To add touch support for devices like the Echo Show, TouchWrapper component is used along with the sequencer to enable students to pick their answers. We also use APL Animations and responsive layouts to deliver quality experiences.

S3 video link:-

Other videos

Challenges I ran into

  • Implementing account linking using AWS Cognito.
  • Making responsive layouts to work on all kinds of Alexa devices ranging from round hub to large hub.
  • Voice Design for the skill.
  • Designing APL Docs.
  • Designing an architecture that enables communication between the nodejs backend for video generation, the python backend and lambda hosted Alexa backend.
  • Using version control on multiple repositories.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Izzy Learning is here to revolutionise Ed-tech. Our mission statement is simple give every student the access to 4A's - Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime & Anything

Anybody It doesn't matter who you are or where you belong.
Anywhere Quit literally classrooms in your living room.
Anytime Just say "Alexa open izzy learing" and Alexa is here to help.
Anything All the teachers are now video editors, no more boring text books.

Ed-tech startups spend a lot of time and effort to make quality video content for their platforms, with Izzy doing this is a piece of cake.

What I learned

  1. ASK SDK and using the Alexa Developer Console
  2. The Alexa Presentation Language and various components like the Pager, Sequencer, TouchWrapper and Containers
  3. Adding animations to improve User Experience for Alexa Skill
  4. The "when" clause while rendering APL & APLA documents to work well on all kinds of Alexa Devices
  5. Setting up a full stack MERN application
  6. Using advanced Natural Language Processing techniques to automatically generate questions from any wikipedia text
  7. Managing multiple codebases
  8. Setting up a REST API with Nodejs
  9. Setting up a REST API using Flask and Python
  10. Deployment to AWS using SAM CLIi.
  11. Using Premier Pro to edit videos like a pro ;)

What's next for Izzy Learning

We would be looking to partner with existing Ed-Tech companies or educational institutions to test run and improve our product.

  • Integrate Alexa Education API's to our learning management system.
  • We plan to add reward based custom learning tracks on different subjects like history, geography and biology for students to learn while playing
  • Improving our proprietary video creation algorithms to support multiple languages like Hindi(हिन्दी) Chinese (中文) or Spanish(español) to name a few to expand to other Alexa Locales
  • Adding other animations to animated videos to make them look better
  • We also plan to add text recognition to convert images containing long and boring texts to videos
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