UW students lights up the path to computer science for children

UW alumni&nbsp; Danny Yaroslavski was listed in this year&rsquo;s edition of <em>Forbes </em>30 Under 30 in the education category. The business magazine acknowledged Yaroslavski&rsquo;s creation of <em>Lightbot</em>, a game that teaches kids ages four and up how to code.

&ldquo;<em>Lightbot</em> is meant to be a first step to computer science,&rdquo; said Yaroslavski. &ldquo;The whole idea behind this is to make sure that it&rsquo;s something that is easily approachable, really fun, and doesn&rsquo;t require a lot of reading comprehension and typing skills.&rdquo;

Yaroslavski also said <em>Lightbot</em>&nbsp; is educational and beneficial for all people in this day and age due to increased computer usage in the workplace, and believes that the usage of computers will only increase in the future.

Yaroslavski believes that <em>Lightbot</em> being available to everyone, from kids to parents and teachers, is just the beginning of breaking social barriers in the computer science world.

&ldquo;There is not one stereotype that you have to fit into to be a computer scientist.&rdquo;

The 23-year-old said that it was when he attended UW that he realized the possibility of starting up his gaming company.

&ldquo;I started making  while I was in high school. Around my third year at Waterloo, I realized that &lsquo;hey, I can actually make one of those game ideas that I made, and make it into a video game specifically for teaching programming,&rdquo; said Yaroslavski.

After his fourth co-op term, Yaroslavski took initiative into making <em>Lightbot </em>a reality.

The former computer science student claimed that UW significantly helped him achieve this reality, despite the difficulty of the process. Yaroslavski said that it was the Velocity sessions on campus that helped him put his entrepreneurial skills to use in creating this startup gaming company. He also acknowledged the help and guidance of enterprise co-op program co-ordinator and professor Wayne Chang, and economics professor Larry Smith.

&nbsp;Yaroslavski understands the difficult and lengthy process of creating a business and had some tips and recommendations for students who are taking a similar path.

&ldquo;Starting up a business isn&rsquo;t as hard as someone might think it is,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I really recommend going to those Velocity Alpha sessions ... I don&rsquo;t know how many times I can hype Velocity.&rdquo;&nbsp;

<em>Lightbot</em> is available for free on its website www.lightbot.com for all computers and tablets. Premium versions with more&nbsp; complete coding concepts and levels are also available for purchase.&nbsp;


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