The Sugar platform

Learning through collaboration, discovery and reflection


The Sugar learning platform invents a new way for computers to be used for education. It provides a simple yet powerful means of engaging children in learning that is opened up by computing and the Internet. Sugar, which promotes collaborative learning through rich-media expression is part of an effort to provide an opportunity for a quality education to every child (it is already used by more than 500000 children). Sugar Labs is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to produce, distribute, and sup- port the use of Sugar. Available under the GPL, Sugar is free to anyone who wants to use or extend it. Sugar promotes collaboration, reflection, and discovery:

  • The interface always shows the presence of other learners collaboration is a first-order experience. Students and teachers dialog, support and critique each other, and share ideas.
  • Sugar uses a “Journal” to record each learner‘s activity. It is a place for reflection and assessment of progress.
  • Sugar accommodates a users with different levels of skill in reading, language, and computing. It is easy to approach, yet it doesn‘t put an upper bound on personal expression.

They are free to reshape, reinvent, and reapply both software and content into powerful learning activities. Sugar has been ported to all of the major GNU/Linux distributions, hence it is now possible to run Sugar on almost any computer hardware. LiveCD and LiveUSB versions are also available, making it easy to “test drive” Sugar in a classroom or school computer lab.

In this talk, I will introduce the Sugar learning platform – how it transforms learning in and out of the classroom and how it is being used. I will also discuss the ways in which the culture of FLOSS has influenced the development and deployment of Sugar.