Friday, March 7, 2008

One Laptop Per Child on 60 Minutes

This week, my friend Tim Falconer, Founder and President of the Waveplace Foundation(, joined us in Naples, Bonita, and Immokalee to help me get the ball rolling on Waveplace South Florida.

Before you continue, I suggest you watch this segment from "60 Minutes" featuring the laptops that we're bringing to our part of the state:

Now, some more details:

  • I'm on the board of the Waveplace Foundation. Its founder, Tim, is owner of a software design firm in Pennsylvania. I'm the only board member in Florida.

  • Waveplace has created curriculum and software to go with the XO laptops they feature on "60 Minutes." We provide teachers with that software and curriculum for their students, and we train teachers in how to use that software and curriculum.

  • We have a 10-week pilot almost wrapped-up in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Another has been underway for two weeks in Haiti. #3 will be in St. Vincent, U.S. Virgin Islands. The fourth and final pilot class will be in Immokalee, from June 1st through August 10th.

  • Waveplace's area of focus is the Caribbean. Tim explains the whys of that very well on the Waveplace site. When he asked me to join the board, I said, "Well, I really appreciate what you're doing, but I want to brings those computers to the kids of South Florida, particularly Immokalee, and I can't afford to be distracted from that goal. If Waveplace could include our region in its scope of endeavor, then sure, I'm in!" I made my pitch - that our economy is blighted by tourism just as are Jamaica, St. John, etc., and that Immokalee is a land-locked island. I'll share more on that at a later time.

  • In any event, Tim agreed, and his visit here this week confirmed his decision. We are talking about making Southwest Florida the "Caribbean" base of operations for the Waveplace Foundation. A number of factors make that attractive.

  • John Lawson of the One-by-One Leadership Foundation ( has been instrumental in connecting us to the right people to discuss funding and implementation locally. He is an integral part of our leadership here in South Florida.

  • John is a good friend and a very good guy. (I don't share his religious agenda, however.) We featured him as a Neapolitan of Note in an early issue of our e-newsletter for Naples Social Action. You can read that issue here:

  • We're days away from officially establishing Waveplace South Florida (which we'll tie in some way to The Naples Institute) - an independent group closely-affiliated with Tim's Waveplace Foundation. We're going to hold our first organizational meeting next week. If you're interested in participating, please contact me: