Walter Bender, learning fundamentalist
|Born||1956 (age 59–60)|
|Occupation||Executive Director, Sugar Labs|
Walter Bender is technologist and researcher who works in the field of electronic publishing, media and technology for learning. Bender is an alumnus of MIT's Architecture Machine Group, precursor to the MIT Media Lab. He was executive director of The Media Lab between 2000 and 2006. He is a former holder of the Alexander W. Dreyfoos Chair at MIT Media Lab. Bender took leave of absence from the Media Lab to help launch One Laptop per Child (OLPC) where he served as President for Software and Content. In this role, from 2006 to 2008 Bender oversaw and helped with the development of the Sugar graphical interface for the XO-1 Children's Machine computer. After leaving OLPC in 2008, Bender was co-founder of Sugar Labs to continue development of Sugar. Bender described his experience at One Laptop per Child (OLPC) in the book, "Learning to Change the World, The Social Impact of One Laptop Per Child."
Bender is an advocate for the use of Free Software for learning projects and works with like-minded educators and engineers around the world.
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.|date=September 2015 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 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. Bender took a leave of absence from the Media Lab to work at One Laptop per Child as President for Software and Content. In this role, Bender oversaw and helped with the development of the Sugar graphical interface. After leaving OLPC in 2008, Bender was one of several co-founders of Sugar Labs to continue development of Sugar.
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