The Sugar Learning Platform is an alternative to the ubiquitous computer desktop metaphor that has dominated computing since its invention at Xerox Park in the 1970s. The design of Sugar is motivated in part by the observation that children are not office workers and nothing in their future will resemble office work from 30 years ago.
Three experiences characterize the Sugar Learning Platform:
- Sharing: Collaboration is a first-order experience: the interface always shows the presence of other learners who are available for collaboration all the time. Students and teachers dialog with each other, support each other, critique each other, and share ideas.
- Reflecting: A “Journal” records each learner's activity. It serves as a place for reflection and assessment of progress—the basis of a portfolio.
- Discovering: Sugar accommodates a wide variety of users with different levels of skill in terms of reading and language and different levels of experience with computing. Sugar is easy to approach, yet it does not put an upper bound on personal expression. The learner is able to peel away layers and go deeper and deeper, with no restrictions. This allows the direct appropriation of ideas in whatever realm the learner is exploring: music, browsing, reading, writing, programming, or graphics.
The Sugar Learning Platform is free software that is being bundled with all of the major GNU/Linux distributions.