Leading Computing Innovator to Visit RIT April 30

Walter Bender to discuss Sugar Learning Platform, a revolutionary computer desktop

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Walter Bender, who has revolutionized the computer desktop with his Sugar Learning Platform, will deliver a talk on Friday as part of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences Dean’s Lecture Series.

Computer operating systems like Windows are built for adults—not for children. Therefore, they fail to capitalize on a number of potential learning experiences that could be invaluable to kids.

Thanks to Walter Bender and the Sugar Learning Platform—a unique computer interface built specifically to maximize child learning—that no longer has to be the case. Bender, the executive director and founder of Sugar Labs and a senior research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will discuss the platform during a 1 p.m. talk on Friday in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences auditorium at Rochester Institute of Technology. His appearance is part of the college’s Dean’s Lecture Series.

“Walter Bender is a true innovator that has used his skills to better the world, in a way that addresses directly my analogy that we are all driving the same car, and it is an 18-wheeler” says Jorge Díaz-Herrera, dean of the Golisano College. “We’re excited to have him share his knowledge and his incredible passion with our students.”

The Sugar Learning Platform features a learning-centric design that uses technology to discover and apply knowledge. It is featured on the computers distributed through the One Laptop Per Child initiative, which Bender co-founded.

“Because Sugar and the educational programs, called activities, are free and open-source software, anyone can use them and even enhance them or create new ones,” says Stephen Jacobs, an RIT professor and director of the Lab for Technological Literacy, which is an active participant in the initiative. “Because Sugar can run on any computer, the projects RIT students create in my course can literally benefit over a million children worldwide.”