Walter Bender

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Walter Bender
Walter Bender in 2011.jpg
Walter Bender, learning fundamentalist
Born 1956
Occupation Executive Director, Sugar Labs. Senior Research Scientist, MIT
MIT home page

Walter Bender is technologist and researcher who has made important contributions in the field of electronic publishing, media and technology for learning. Bender is a Senior Research Scientist at MIT. He was executive Director of the MIT Media Lab between 2000 and 2006. Bender served as president of One Laptop per Child for Software and Content where he coordinated the development of software and content including the Sugar interface for the XO-1 Children's Machine computer. In 2008, Bender founded Sugar Labs to further develop and support the Sugar interface.


Walter Bender earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1977 and a Master of Science degree from MIT in 1980. For more than 20 years, Bender was head of the MIT Media Lab's Electronic Publishing Group. The Electronic Publishing research group was initiated when Bender joined the Architecture Machine Group (the precursor to the Media Lab) in 1978. The research group is one of the Media Lab's oldest and one of a few that predates the creation of the lab.

Bender's research has attempted to build upon the interactive styles associated with existing media and extend them into domains where a computer is incorporated into the interaction. He has participated in much of the pioneering research in the field of electronic publishing, and personalized, interactive multimedia, particularly including news.

Between 2000 and 2006, Bender served as the executive director of the MIT Media Lab. He is a former holder of the Alexander W. Dreyfoos Chair at MIT Media Lab.

Bender took a leave of absence from the Media Lab to work at One Laptop per Child as president of that organization for Software and Content. In this role, Bender oversaw and helped many of the most innovative aspects of OLPC's XO-1 including the Sugar graphical interface. After leaving OLPC in 2008, Bender founded Sugar Labs to continue development of Sugar.[1]

Bender returned part time to MIT im 2012 where he is exploring the interplay between technology learning and entrepreunership.

Bender is an advocate for the use of Free software for learning projects and works with like-minded educatos and engineers around the world. [2]


  1. ^ "Bender Forms Group to Promote OLPC's Sugar UI". PC World. 
  2. ^ Bender, Walter; Kane, Charles; Cornish, Jody; Donahue, Neal (December 2012). Learning to Change the World: The Social Impact of One Laptop per Child. Palgrave Macmillan. 

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