Dr. Rita Oates
  • Female
  • Coral Gables, FL
  • United States
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President, Oates Associates (consulting firm)
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About Me
* president, Oates Associates, consulting firm in ed tech, school reform, and communications
* frequent speaker and workshop leader on edtech, school reform, leadership in ed tech, grantwriting, and technology in language acquisition (English, Spanish, etc.)
* author of 13 books and more than 100 articles on technology in education
* consultant to ePals, the largest online community of K12 teachers and students in 200 countries, with many terrific free offerings for K12 schools
* formerly ed tech director, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 350,000 students in 350 schools
* chair and associate professor, Educational Computing and Technology, Barry University
* education editor, VIEWTRON, first US online service with color and graphics
* assistant professor, University of Alabama
* high school teacher, language arts and journalism, and publications adviser, three KS high schools (KCK, Shawnee Mission, Alma)
* editor of special publications, Phi Delta Kappa, education society

Student collaboration and authentic voices have been part of my educational strategies since I started teaching, using whatever appropriate technology I could find.

Along the way I have have wonderful experiences at the cutting edge of development in the online world. Before there was an Internet, I was education editor at VIEWTRON, the first online service in the U.S. with color and graphics. Earlier, I helped develop online content for students through PLATO at Indiana University, where I also learned a great deal about instructional systems design. I was at the first NECC (now called ISTE) as a young grad student.

As an ed tech consultant since 1994, I work with schools and school districts in designing visionary ed tech plans, professional development programs, and parent outreach through technology. This includes many schools and districts in Florida and the southeast and even working with the Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates in fall 2006.

For about 8 years I led the ed tech office at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation's fourth largest district. There we pioneered use of interactive technologies with ELL students through a co-development project with Jostens Learning Corp., who matched the $5 million provided by the Florida Dept. of Education. We had computer take-home programs in Title I with fabulous results. After Hurricane Andrew, I co-authored a FIPSE grant for professional development that had tremendous impact on teachers, Project Infusion.

While a VP at ePals, the social learning network, I helped teachers and students discover powerful ways to collaborate on global project-based learning and simple pen pal exchanges. With users in 200 countries and territories, ePals provides many opportunities for teachers to join existing projects or create their own powerful connections. It's great to tell teachers and school districts about something free too...not everything from ePals, but many great things. 

Earlier in my career, I also was editor of the Heller Report, Internet Strategies for Education Markets, as the Internet first came into education in the 1990s.

I've written 13 books and more than 100 articles about technology in education, including one on professional development in technology published by NSBA and several that survey the state of ed tech in education for MDR. The most recent book, Digital Trends in Education Marketing, was published by MDR in 2013.

My first job was a high school language arts and journalism teacher a rural district in Kansas, where my students produced a page in the local newspaper each week, along with their own newspaper in the school. I also taught in an experimental high school in Kansas City, Kansas, and in Shawnee Mission. And for a year, I worked at Phi Delta Kappa, the education society, a terrific think tank of the leaders in educational thought.

I have two degrees from the University of Kansas, was editor of the award-winning college newspaper, and two graduate degrees from Indiana University. My doctoral majors were Educational applications of print, broadcast and computer-based media and Public policy.

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Dr. Rita Oates's Blog

Webinar: Tips on Using ePals in the Language Classroom

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 6:21am 0 Comments

Tips on Using ePals in the Language Classroom Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – 5PM Eastern Time

In This Session Open the doors, let the world in! As a teacher of French, Saray Gutiérrez found that having her students collaborate with students in schools in the French-speaking countries of France and French Polynesia brought increased language practice and promoted cultural awareness in powerful and engaging ways. Students learned the importance of diversity,…


Dell and ePals take the Connected Classroom to the cloud

Posted on February 9, 2011 at 7:53am 0 Comments

from Chris Dawson, ZDNet


ePals, creator of the world’s largest learning network, has partnered with Dell to add its newly announced SchoolMail365 and its LearningSpace communication and collaboration solutions to Dell’s Connected…


Parenting 2.0: How to Help Parents with Digital Issues and Fears

Posted on February 3, 2011 at 6:54am 7 Comments

Did your mama talk to you about sexting, cyberbullying, and watching what you post on Facebook? Parents today have a whole new set of challenges and issues, raised by technology at school and home. Learn how you can help parents understand the real issues, fears and challenges and support them in being great parents in a 2.0 world. Resources for schools and families will be shared, and the core presentation is based on presentations at school PTA meetings, Wired Safety, and Wired…


NYC schools to deploy free eMail, collaboration tools from ePals

Posted on July 15, 2010 at 1:33pm 1 Comment

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, eSchoolNews

In what could be a huge sign of change in how students learn, New York City Public Schools has begun implementation of communication and collaboration software from ePals and Microsoft—education technology tools that not only will connect students to other classrooms across the world but also will connect teachers to parents, regardless of the language they…


ePals Ambassador Contest Winners announced

Posted on June 8, 2010 at 3:58pm 0 Comments

We invited teachers to show us how ePals has opened the world for their students. Applicants each submitted projects that they had successfully implemented in their classrooms, examples of student work, and a video application, telling us what ePals brought to their teaching and to their students’ learning. Outstanding entries came from all corners of the world, inspiring us with amazing projects, successful collaborations, and enthusiastic students.…


Comment Wall (33 comments)

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At 4:23pm on June 9, 2013, Carole Devey Schachter said…

Hi Rita!! Are you going to ISTE? I am splurging and sending myself this year!!

At 11:47am on December 27, 2010, Nadia said…
thanks a lot, I'll be able to attend a webinar on 29, December at 22:15 Moscow time; thanks a lot, Rita!
At 3:10pm on November 2, 2010, Rosanna Luzarraga said…
No, not yet. I'm going to share this information with our Division Head and IB coordinator. Thank you. :)
At 7:23am on October 31, 2010, thornybee said…
Hello Rita,

Yes we've signed up for it and they are sending us the passwords on Monday. We were involved with the pilot testing too so, we're really looking forward to seeing the final thing!

Best Wishes,

At 1:32pm on October 8, 2010, Caroline Cerveny said…
Hi Rita, Would you like to highlight ePals at the 2011 INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS Conference in Orlando? We are just before the FETC Conference. This is the evolving "faith-based" educational technology group!
At 12:00pm on August 17, 2010, Pastor Dennis Borchers said…
Dear Dr. Oates,

Thank you for your note and I will take you up on your offer for help if and when I get stuck with some of this digital technologies.
At 1:52pm on July 10, 2010, Tomas Chaskel said…
Estimada Dr
La quiero invitar a que nos visite en Aula 2.0. Nuestra direccion es www.aula20.com. Usted podria ser una gran colaboradora.
En espera de su respuesta
Tomas Chaskel
Anfitruon Aula 2.0
At 10:25am on June 8, 2010, Jack Strelec said…
I would like to attend the June seminar in Denver. Could you send me more info?
At 7:51pm on March 17, 2010, Denise Stewart said…
Sorry. I have been inundated with projects of late. My friends and I are creating several online classes on a state test on ELL strategies. I am having many sleepless nights of late. I will have more time over the summer when I just do an adjunct position at a local college. Keep me posted:)


At 5:07am on March 16, 2010, Dorothy Taker said…
Hi Dr. Oates,

Thanks for the info on epals. I will definitely join this website.
Have a wonderful day!


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