Oates Associates is a consulting firm with experienced staffers who write, give webinars and workshops, keynote conferences, and provide staff development in the intersection of technology, education, and school reform. With special expertise in communications, we research and write articles, books, white papers, instructional manuals, content for websites and social media. We have become adept with social media, including Twitter and online communities of practice, to increase awareness and branding of products for clients and communication with their users and potential purchasers. We especially encourage listening to potential clients and current users to get ideas for improving and developing better educational products.
Let us help your company make the most of conference experiences with our powerful engagement strategies for before and after the conference and our help with speaker placement. We can coach your power users into becoming power presenters at conferences and leverage that for wider visibility for your ed tech products and services.
Successful projects have been conducted for the U.S. Postal Service (touched 2 million students), BBN, Scholastic, Microsoft, MDR, NEA, Agency for Instructional Technology, AOL, multiple textbook publishers and others. Technology policy and implementation issues are specialities, including development of school district ed tech plans and policies. Staff can create in-depth reports or books and design or conduct evaluation studies.
Companies who need a minority consultant or someone with bilingual expertise can tap one of our associates for a single day of feedback, for a conference gig in a booth, or for ongoing, part-time assistance.
Rita was ed tech director in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation's 4th largest district, where she won two multimillion-dollar grants for co-development of software (Steps to English Language Learning, Jostens, and Choosing Success, CCC). She met Nelson Heller and Anne Wujcik when she was Education Editor of VIEWTRON, an early online system of Knight Ridder Inc.
She was publications editor at Phi Delta Kappa, the education society, where she had the pleasure of working with Edgar Dale, a board member. Most recently, Rita was VP, education markets, at ePals, where she gave talks about ePals users on the conference circuit. Microsoft employed Rita for more than nine years as a platform speaker in K12 schools and for user groups and AARP groups. She was founding editor, Heller Report: Internet Strategies for Education Markets, and she has written 13 books and more than 100 articles on education, ed tech, ed reform, and parenting.
With her husband, Bill, she wrote a monthly column, "Kids and Computers," in South Florida Parenting magazine for seven years. Rita taught at Indiana University, the University of Alabama, and was chairman of the graduate program in ed tech at Barry University in Miami Shores. Most recently, she was a visiting professor in the graduate program of Endicott College in Leysin, Switzerland. Earlier, she taught high school language arts classes and was adviser to the student newspaper and yearbook in three Kansas high schools.
She graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in news-editorial journalism and in curriculum and instruction. She earned a masters degree in journalism and a PhD in mass communication from Indiana University, where she worked with orange-dot-era PLATO and created online lessons used by universities and the Army's DINFOS. In late 2006 she worked with staff at the Ministry of Education in the UAE to assess and develop an ed tech plan for the country's public schools. Earlier she had helped large districts, including Broward (FL) and DeKalb (GA) develop ed tech plans. Most recently, she has worked with Florida districts including Orange, Pasco and Broward on acquiring and implementing new SIS and with Buffalo Public Schools on updating their tech plan.
She evaluated large-scale PD efforts in three universities who received federal PT3 grants as well as many smaller efforts in districts. Having lived in Costa Rica as a child and since 1983 in Miami, she speaks Spanish and has worked with ministry officials in several Latin American countries. In 2012, she worked with the ESL staff from the MOE in Chile on ways to use more technology in teaching English.
Starting in 2015, she has been consulting with a Chinese private school company that is placing students into American high schools for study during their junior and senior year to prepare to enter an English-speaking university.